What I'm Reading (Sept. 20)

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Rules for Readers

The most important part of the art of medicine is the relationship between the physician and patient. More and more, for clear and unknown reasons, we are abandoning these long-term relationships for the currently available provider. So this piece from JAMA is singing my song, especially in that it begins by referencing Cal Newport, who often writes on similar concerns.

Deep work,” a term coined by Cal Newport, speaks to a state of flow and purposeful concentration and, importantly for physicians, meaningful relationships. But for physicians living the daily reality of fractured concentration, intrusive messages, nonstop multitasking, and transactional relationships, deep work, flow, and connection can feel elusive. Rather than bemoan our current state of disruptive technology and reminisce about a bygone era of flow, we explore herein how healthcare might meld the best of both."

From JAMA Internal Medicine, The Deep Work of Doctoring—Prioritizing Relationships in Medicine


OK, it is time to fess up. I liked all of Indiana Jones because I loved that 30’s look and the almost perennial use of Nazis as the villain. If you enjoy the series, then I think you might well love this interactive piece from the NY Times about John Williams and his music


One of the best books I have read is by Anil Seth on understanding our consciousness. It is a deep dive into science, philosophy, and religion, all contributing to our understanding.

“It’s easy to mistake our conscious experience for an ongoing, accurate account of reality. After all, the information we recover from our senses is, of course, the only window we’ll ever have into the outside world. And for most people most of the time, our perception certainly feels real. But the notion that our senses capture an objective external reality can be dispelled by considering something as fundamental as colour, which can be culturally influenced and, even within a single culture, leave the population split between seeing the same picture of a dress as black-and-blue or white-and-gold.”

Aeon provides a short introduction to Dr. Seth and his explanations in this video, Anil Seth on why our senses are fine-tuned for utility, not for ‘reality’. It is worth the 10 minutes.


Finally, this one was yelling my name and wanted to be included. 


“–If you see a book you want, just buy it. Don’t worry about the price. Reading is not a luxury. It’s not something you splurge on. It’s a necessity. Even if all you get is one life-changing idea from a book, that’s still a pretty good ROI.

–If a book sucks, stop reading it. The best readers actually quit a lot of books. Life is too short to read books you don’t enjoy reading.

–The rule I like is ‘one hundred pages minus your age.’ Say you’re 30 years old—if a book hasn’t captivated you by page 70, stop reading it. So as you age, you have less time to endure crap.”


Rules for readers seems a natural fit to this column as it indeed is. From the blog, Meditations on Strategy and Life, These 38 Reading Rules Changed My Life