By Paul Marone, Senior HP Marketing and Social Media Manager
My colleague Andy McPhee previously wrote a list of his favorite non-fiction books related to health care and health care professionals. His experiences as a BSN lends some credibility to his list, so I thought it might be interesting to compare my list, as someone who has spent his entire career in Marketing (albeit in medical publishing). Here are my top 5.
Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers
By Mary Roach
Author Mary Roach details everything that happens to the human body after death: not just physiologically, but also the many ways corpses are used in medical research and as crash test dummies (plus much more). Roach makes a macabre topic extremely interesting and humorous. You learn a lot from this book, but it’s also an excellent “fun” read.
The Hot Zone: The Terrifying True Story of the Origins of the Ebola Virus
By Richard Preston
I’m the type of reader that is easily more freaked out by viruses and germs than I am werewolves and vampires. I first read “The Hot Zone” as a teenager, and remember lying awake in my bed all night afterwards. With recent tragic events bringing the Ebola virus back into the headlines, I re-read this book again and was just as captivated as I was the first time. I remember one review saying “truth is scarier than fiction”. This book is definitely proof of that.
This is the fascinating story of surgeon John Hunter and the beginnings of modern surgery. Not satisfied with resorting to leeching and blood letting for every malady, Hunter went to extraordinary lengths to help pave the way for many procedures that are still performed today, from grave robbing to injecting himself with diseases.
The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales
By Oliver Sacks
It was tough picking a favorite from author Oliver Sacks, who recently revealed he is suffering from terminal cancer. Sacks has authored Awakenings, now a classic movie as well, and Musicophilia, one of the most fascinating works on the brain and music (pretty obvious Sacks is a favorite of mine). In The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Sacks presents the stories of patients with neurological disorders, and it almost reads like a book of short fiction.
And the Band Played On: Politics, People and the AIDS Epidemic
by Randy Shilts
I first heard about this book after seeing the HBO movie based on it under the same title. The book explores the early history of HIV and AIDS, during a time when being diagnosed with the disease was a death sentence. A new virus, public fear, misinformation, and lack of funding for research lead to competition among scientists to isolate the virus and try to discover treatment. This is another non-fiction book that reads like a novel.
As usual, let us know of any glaring omissions or thoughts on the books above in the comments section.