100 books like A Calculus of Suffering

By Martin S. Pernick,

Here are 100 books that A Calculus of Suffering fans have personally recommended if you like A Calculus of Suffering. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Logic of Care: Health and the Problem of Patient Choice

David Healy Author Of Children of the Cure: Missing Data, Lost Lives and Antidepressants

From my list on how medicine should be.

Who am I?

I’ve been researching treatment harms for 3 decades and founded RxISK.org in 2012, now an important site for people to report these harms. They’ve been reporting in their thousands often in personal accounts that feature health service gaslighting. During these years, our treatments have become a leading cause of mortality and morbidity, the time it takes to recognize harms has been getting longer, and our medication burdens heavier. We have a health crisis that parallels the climate crisis. Both Green parties and Greta Thunberg’s generation are turning a blind eye to the health chemicals central to this. We need to understand what is going wrong and turn it around.   

David's book list on how medicine should be

David Healy Why did David love this book?

Every book by Annemarie Mol is good but The Logic of Care is simply the best book on what medicine should be. It is short, deceptively simple but leaves no hiding places. Everyone will be able to understand it in the same way from a teenager up through a Professor of Medicine to a Minister for Health but don’t expect any Ministers to admit to reading it any time soon. Mol outlines a relationship-based rather than technology-based medicine. How do we ensure medical techniques help us to live the lives we want to live rather than force us to live lives that suit the companies that make the technologies want us to live? How do we care for people rather than service them?

By Annemarie Mol,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Logic of Care as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

**Shortlisted for the BSA Sociology of Health and Illness Book Prize 2010**

What is good care? In this innovative and compelling book, Annemarie Mol argues that good care has little to do with 'patient choice' and, therefore, creating more opportunities for patient choice will not improve health care.

Although it is possible to treat people who seek professional help as customers or citizens, Mol argues that this undermines ways of thinking and acting crucial to health care. Illustrating the discussion with examples from diabetes clinics and diabetes self care, the book presents the 'logic of care' in a step by…


Book cover of Fighting for Life

David Healy Author Of Children of the Cure: Missing Data, Lost Lives and Antidepressants

From my list on how medicine should be.

Who am I?

I’ve been researching treatment harms for 3 decades and founded RxISK.org in 2012, now an important site for people to report these harms. They’ve been reporting in their thousands often in personal accounts that feature health service gaslighting. During these years, our treatments have become a leading cause of mortality and morbidity, the time it takes to recognize harms has been getting longer, and our medication burdens heavier. We have a health crisis that parallels the climate crisis. Both Green parties and Greta Thunberg’s generation are turning a blind eye to the health chemicals central to this. We need to understand what is going wrong and turn it around.   

David's book list on how medicine should be

David Healy Why did David love this book?

Medicine loves stories about heroic men who made breakthroughs that have saved lives and given us the life expectancies we have today. It has never celebrated women and yet it was a woman, Josephine Baker, who in two decades starting in 1908, by focusing on antenatal and postnatal care, laid a basis for saving lives that has given us the life expectancies we have today. She did so against fierce opposition from doctors who argued that creating conditions that make infants and children healthy would be bad for medical business. Now that life expectancies are falling, and were falling before Covid, we desperately need to recover Baker and her insights. Her book written in 1939 gives clear hints of how unimpressed she would likely be with today’s medical business.

By S. Josephine Baker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fighting for Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An “engaging and  . . . thought-provoking” memoir of battling public health crises in early 20th-century New York City—from the pioneering female physician and children’s health advocate who ‘caught’ Typhoid Mary (The New York Times)
 
New York’s Lower East Side was said to be the most densely populated square mile on earth in the 1890s. Health inspectors called the neighborhood “the suicide ward.” Diarrhea epidemics raged each summer, killing thousands of children. Sweatshop babies with smallpox and typhus dozed in garment heaps destined for fashionable shops. Desperate mothers paced the streets to soothe their feverish children and white mourning cloths…


Book cover of The Hour of Our Death: The Classic History of Western Attitudes Toward Death Over the Last One Thousand Years

David Healy Author Of Children of the Cure: Missing Data, Lost Lives and Antidepressants

From my list on how medicine should be.

Who am I?

I’ve been researching treatment harms for 3 decades and founded RxISK.org in 2012, now an important site for people to report these harms. They’ve been reporting in their thousands often in personal accounts that feature health service gaslighting. During these years, our treatments have become a leading cause of mortality and morbidity, the time it takes to recognize harms has been getting longer, and our medication burdens heavier. We have a health crisis that parallels the climate crisis. Both Green parties and Greta Thunberg’s generation are turning a blind eye to the health chemicals central to this. We need to understand what is going wrong and turn it around.   

David's book list on how medicine should be

David Healy Why did David love this book?

Modern medicine has dramatically extended life expectancies. But as our life spans extend, our fear of death grows. As our hope of living a long life and seeing our children survive grew, we became more rather than less anxious about losing out. We might have expected the opposite. Aries vividly illustrates how people viewed death as a part of life before the nineteenth century and how they reconciled themselves to it. He picks out 1886 as the point where Tolstoy in The Death of Ivan Illych recognized that medical advances were creating anxiety rather than hope. This book may make you less fearful of death. It will ask you whether you can now achieve serenity half as well as those before us did and whether medicine is bad for our sanity? 

By Philippe Aries,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Hour of Our Death as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An “absolutely magnificent” book (The New Republic)—the fruit of almost two decades of study—that traces the changes in Western attitudes toward death and dying from the earliest Christian times to the present day.

A truly landmark study, The Hour of Our Death reveals a pattern of gradually developing evolutionary stages in our perceptions of life in relation to death, each stage representing a virtual redefinition of human nature.

Starting at the very foundations of Western culture, the eminent historian Phillipe Ariès shows how, from Graeco-Roman times through the first ten centuries of the Common Era, death was too common to…


Book cover of Impure Science: Aids, Activism, and the Politics of Knowledge

David Healy Author Of Children of the Cure: Missing Data, Lost Lives and Antidepressants

From my list on how medicine should be.

Who am I?

I’ve been researching treatment harms for 3 decades and founded RxISK.org in 2012, now an important site for people to report these harms. They’ve been reporting in their thousands often in personal accounts that feature health service gaslighting. During these years, our treatments have become a leading cause of mortality and morbidity, the time it takes to recognize harms has been getting longer, and our medication burdens heavier. We have a health crisis that parallels the climate crisis. Both Green parties and Greta Thunberg’s generation are turning a blind eye to the health chemicals central to this. We need to understand what is going wrong and turn it around.   

David's book list on how medicine should be

David Healy Why did David love this book?

AIDS was the pandemic before Covid. Unlike Covid, it mobilized people to take the science and efforts to find a cure into their own hands – especially people on the fringes of society. Nothing like this had ever happened before. It appeared to mark a watershed where medicine would become a servant of the people rather than people being enslaved to its commercial priorities. Sadly this is not how things worked out. The discovery of Triple Therapy was a high point of modern medicine but we have gone downhill since then with few if any drugs saving lives the way Triple Therapy did. Impure Science shows you vividly what we are up against.

By Steven Epstein,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Impure Science as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the short, turbulent history of AIDS research and treatment, the boundaries between scientist insiders and lay outsiders have been crisscrossed to a degree never before seen in medical history. Steven Epstein's astute and readable investigation focuses on the critical question of "how certainty is constructed or deconstructed," leading us through the views of medical researchers, activists, policy makers, and others to discover how knowledge about AIDS emerges out of what he calls "credibility struggles." Epstein shows the extent to which AIDS research has been a social and political phenomenon and how the AIDS movement has transformed biomedical research practices…


Book cover of Operations Without Pain: The Practice and Science of Anaesthesia in Victorian Britain

Lisa M. Lane Author Of Murder at Old St. Thomas's

From my list on the wonders of Victorian medicine.

Who am I?

I have always been interested in the history of medicine, particularly the ways in which historical methods are portrayed to be inferior to modern medicine. As a historian, I am alternately amused and horrified at the way we go overboard in discarding historical methods of healthcare, ridding ourselves of perfectly useful techniques, drugs, and therapies. The more I learn about older curative methods, the more I’ve become sensitive to the knowledge and technologies that have been lost. At the same time, I am fascinated by new technologies, and find anesthesia particularly captivating as a technique that improved survival and recovery from what had previously been deadly conditions.

Lisa's book list on the wonders of Victorian medicine

Lisa M. Lane Why did Lisa love this book?

The development of anesthesia was met with confusion, dismissal, and even derision. While today we are accustomed to the idea of the patient being asleep, at the time it was seen as similar to operating on a dead body. Without the indications of pain or relief, how was the surgeon to feel what he was doing? And in its earliest days, some forms of anesthesia could be dangerous, the patient dying if the dosage wasn’t correct or they had an adverse reaction. But for the patient, and for surgeons who needed more time for an operation, anesthesia was an unequivocal blessing that took away pain and made life-saving procedures possible.

By Stephanie J. Snow,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Operations Without Pain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The introduction of anaesthesia to Victorian Britain marked a defining moment between modern medicine and earlier practices. This book uses new information from John Snow's casebooks and London hospital archives to revise many of the existing historical assumptions about the early history of surgical anaesthesia. By examining complex patterns of innovation, reversals, debate and geographical difference, Stephanie Snow shows how anaesthesia became established as a routine part of British medicine.


Book cover of Infinite Powers: How Calculus Reveals the Secrets of the Universe

Amir Alexander Author Of Infinitesimal: How a Dangerous Mathematical Theory Shaped the Modern World

From my list on the power and wonder of mathematics.

Who am I?

I have written four books (so far) about the surprising ways mathematics pervades human culture, religion, and even politics. The five books I recommend here, each in its own way, shows how mathematics is very much a part of our lives, even if we don’t always notice it. Thanks to books like these, you do not have to be a mathematician to appreciate how this seemingly abstract field shapes our very human world.

Amir's book list on the power and wonder of mathematics

Amir Alexander Why did Amir love this book?

That Steven Strogatz, Cornell Professor and longtime New York Times columnist, is unsurpassed as an expositor of mathematics, goes without saying. No one can make the abstract and technical appear simple and intuitive like Strogatz. In Infinite Powers he takes on the Calculus -- the central pillar of modern mathematics that is also the bane of many a high-school student. It is an immensely powerful field, and at its core is a concept that is both counter-intuitive and paradoxical: the infinite.

The roots of the calculus, we learn, go back to the ancient Greeks, whose notions of the infinite were put to powerful mathematical use by Archimedes. Strogatz continues with Galielo’s dynamics and Kepler’s laws of planetary motion, before reaching the turning point: The discovery of the Calculus by Newton and Leibniz. This leads straight to a discussion of differential equations, which are responsible for so much of what makes…

By Steven Strogatz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Infinite Powers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From preeminent math personality and author of The Joy of x, a brilliant and endlessly appealing explanation of calculus—how it works and why it makes our lives immeasurably better. 
 
Without calculus, we wouldn’t have cell phones, TV, GPS, or ultrasound. We wouldn’t have unraveled DNA or discovered Neptune or figured out how to put 5,000 songs in your pocket.

Though many of us were scared away from this essential, engrossing subject in high school and college, Steven Strogatz’s brilliantly creative, down-to-earth history shows that calculus is not about complexity; it’s about simplicity. It harnesses an unreal number—infinity—to tackle real-world problems,…


Book cover of Alex Through the Looking-Glass

David Acheson Author Of The Wonder Book of Geometry: A Mathematical Story

From my list on mathematics for the general reader.

Who am I?

I am an applied mathematician at Oxford University, and author of the bestseller 1089 and All That, which has now been translated into 13 languages. In 1992 I discovered a strange mathematical theorem – loosely related to the Indian Rope Trick - which eventually featured on BBC television. My books and public lectures are now aimed at bringing mainstream mathematics to the general public in new and exciting ways.

David's book list on mathematics for the general reader

David Acheson Why did David love this book?

This is a sequel to Alex Bellos's bestseller Alex's Adventures in Numberland, but more focused on applications of mathematics to the real world, especially through physics. Many of these were known to me, particularly when they involved calculus, but I greatly enjoyed Alex's distinctive and novel way of putting across sophisticated ideas, in part by interspersing them with personal interviews with mathematicians of all kinds.  

By Alex Bellos,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Alex Through the Looking-Glass as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From triangles, rotations and power laws, to fractals, cones and curves, bestselling author Alex Bellos takes you on a journey of mathematical discovery with his signature wit, engaging stories and limitless enthusiasm. As he narrates a series of eye-opening encounters with lively personalities all over the world, Alex demonstrates how numbers have come to be our friends, are fascinating and extremely accessible, and how they have changed our world.

He turns even the dreaded calculus into an easy-to-grasp mathematical exposition, and sifts through over 30,000 survey submissions to reveal the world's favourite number. In Germany, he meets the engineer who…


Book cover of Mathematics for the Million: How to Master the Magic of Numbers

David Acheson Author Of The Wonder Book of Geometry: A Mathematical Story

From my list on mathematics for the general reader.

Who am I?

I am an applied mathematician at Oxford University, and author of the bestseller 1089 and All That, which has now been translated into 13 languages. In 1992 I discovered a strange mathematical theorem – loosely related to the Indian Rope Trick - which eventually featured on BBC television. My books and public lectures are now aimed at bringing mainstream mathematics to the general public in new and exciting ways.

David's book list on mathematics for the general reader

David Acheson Why did David love this book?

This book has haunted me for years. For what is it, exactly, that gives it such enduring popularity? After all, it was first published in 1936, yet is still in print today. In his autobiography, Hogben remarks on the importance of eye-catching illustrations but speculates that its success may instead be because the book contains – most unusually for a 'popular' work – exercises and answers, making it more suitable for self-teaching. Whatever the real answer, his book must surely have something to teach anyone – like myself – who aspires to bring mainstream mathematics to life for the general public.

By Lancelot Hogben,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mathematics for the Million as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Explains mathematics from counting to calculus in the light of man's changing social achievements.


Book cover of Strategy: An Introduction to Game Theory

Felix Munoz-Garcia Author Of Game Theory: An Introduction with Step-by-Step Examples

From my list on learning Game Theory.

Who am I?

I am a Professor of Economics at Washington State University. My research focuses on applying Game Theory and Industrial Organization models to polluting industries and other regulated markets. I analyze how firms strategically respond to environmental regulation, including their output and pricing decisions, their investments in clean technologies, and merger decisions, both under complete and incomplete information contexts.

Felix's book list on learning Game Theory

Felix Munoz-Garcia Why did Felix love this book?

This book is a short introduction to undergraduate-level Game Theory, with a special focus on basic games of complete information and contracts.

It avoids jargon, notation, or formal definitions but emphasizes economic intuition and offers many examples in each chapter. Some chapters require a good math background, making the book a good fit for students who already took at least one course in algebra and calculus.

By Joel Watson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Strategy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Joel Watson has refined his successful text to make it even more student-friendly. A number of sections have been added, and numerous chapters have been substantially revised. Dozens of new exercises have been added, along with solutions to selected exercises. Chapters are short and focused, with just the right amount of mathematical content and end-of-chapter exercises. New passages walk students through tricky topics.


Book cover of Microeconomics

Ana Espinola-Arredondo Author Of Intermediate Microeconomic Theory: Tools and Step-by-Step Examples

From my list on getting into microeconomics.

Who am I?

When understanding the interactions in our economy, it is critical to recognize all participants in this complex system. I’m passionate about microeconomics because it provides me with a different perspective to examine the world around me. I use my microeconomic glasses and I enjoy rationalizing the daily interactions and predicting the potential outcomes.

Ana's book list on getting into microeconomics

Ana Espinola-Arredondo Why did Ana love this book?

This is a widely used book in introduction to microeconomics courses in colleges around the world, from the Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman.

The book assumes no algebra or calculus, other than elementary arithmetic, thus being appropriate for students from different backgrounds.

Each chapter is well motivated with real-life problems and data, followed by a basic, intuitive, explanation of how microeconomics helps us model and understand the tradeoff that individuals or firms face in that setting.

Highly recommended for students with little math background.

By Paul Krugman, Robin Wells,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Microeconomics as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When it comes to explaining current economic conditions, there is no economist readers trust more than New York Times columnist and Nobel laureate Paul Krugman.  Term after term, Krugman is earning that same level of trust in the classroom, with more and more instructors introducing students to the fundamental principles of economics via Krugman’s signature storytelling style. The new Third Edition of Paul Krugman and Robin Wells’s Economics is their most accomplished yet—extensively updated to offer new examples and stories, new case studies from the business world, and expert coverage of the ongoing financial crisis. Watch a video interview of…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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