100 books like Tracking Medicine

By John E. Wennberg,

Here are 100 books that Tracking Medicine fans have personally recommended if you like Tracking Medicine. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism

Troy Tassier Author Of The Rich Flee and the Poor Take the Bus: How Our Unequal Society Fails Us During Outbreaks

From my list on connecting poor health and poverty.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in rural northern Michigan. My family lived in comfort, never lacking essentials. Yet, many of those living around me had difficulty making ends meet. Many lacked health insurance and year-round jobs. As a child, I viewed my community as normal and typical of the American experience. In many ways, it was–in part, that is the point of this list. At the time, I didn’t know that we could do better for those around me who worked so hard daily. Now I do. I selected these books to highlight the vast disparities between those with and without the comfort and luxury of good health.    

Troy's book list on connecting poor health and poverty

Troy Tassier Why did Troy love this book?

Life expectancy among the working-class population in the United States was decreasing at an astounding rate well before the Covid-19 pandemic. While I was aware of growing inequality and decreasing access to health care for many, I didn’t realize how desperate the conditions of life seemed for many working-class Americans.

This book forced me to confront the uncomfortable reality of the health crisis among the many blue-collar workers living in the heartland of America.  

By Anne Case, Angus Deaton,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A New York Times Bestseller
A Wall Street Journal Bestseller
A New York Times Notable Book of 2020
A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice
Shortlisted for the Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year
A New Statesman Book to Read

From economist Anne Case and Nobel Prize winner Angus Deaton, a groundbreaking account of how the flaws in capitalism are fatal for America's working class

Life expectancy in the United States has recently fallen for three years in a row-a reversal not seen since 1918 or in any other wealthy nation in modern times. In the…


Book cover of That Good Night: Life and Medicine in the Eleventh Hour

Sylvester J. Schieber Author Of Healthcare USA: American Exceptionalism Run Amok

From my list on why healthcare is a cancer on the American Dream.

Why am I passionate about this?

I spent nearly 30 years consulting with employers about the design and operation of the health insurance and retirement benefits they provided their workers. In my work, I was familiar with economic studies showing that workers’ wages and salaries have been increasingly skewed toward higher earners and was convinced the results were less pronounced for workers' total rewards.. In developing my analysis I came to understand that the cost of employees’ health insurance was consuming a large share of workers’ growing rewards. This led me to explore how the US health system was imposing much higher costs on workers than any other segment of society and how we might address the problem.

Sylvester's book list on why healthcare is a cancer on the American Dream

Sylvester J. Schieber Why did Sylvester love this book?

Dr. Puri is a specialist in palliative care for patients with terminal conditions.

She describes the challenges she has encountered during her medical training and practice in dealing with a medical establishment committed to intensive care even in the face of insurmountable odds that such care will improve patients’ health or quality of life.

She also describes encounters with patients’ families who demand intensive medical treatment and are unwilling to allow patients to transition peacefully through the end of life. Often the demand for intensive care is made without the desires of the patient being considered.

This is a poignant set of stories showing that intensive care in what is often the most expensive medical cases exact a price far higher than the dollars involved in the transaction.

By Sunita Puri,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked That Good Night as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"A profound exploration of what it means for all of us to live-and to die-with dignity and purpose." -People

"Visceral and lyrical." -The Atlantic

As the American born daughter of immigrants, Dr. Sunita Puri knew from a young age that the gulf between her parents' experiences and her own was impossible to bridge, save for two elements: medicine and spirituality. Between days spent waiting for her mother, an anesthesiologist, to exit the OR, and evenings spent in conversation with her parents about their faith, Puri witnessed the tension between medicine's impulse to preserve life at all costs and a spiritual…


Book cover of Priced Out: The Economic and Ethical Costs of American Health Care

Sylvester J. Schieber Author Of Healthcare USA: American Exceptionalism Run Amok

From my list on why healthcare is a cancer on the American Dream.

Why am I passionate about this?

I spent nearly 30 years consulting with employers about the design and operation of the health insurance and retirement benefits they provided their workers. In my work, I was familiar with economic studies showing that workers’ wages and salaries have been increasingly skewed toward higher earners and was convinced the results were less pronounced for workers' total rewards.. In developing my analysis I came to understand that the cost of employees’ health insurance was consuming a large share of workers’ growing rewards. This led me to explore how the US health system was imposing much higher costs on workers than any other segment of society and how we might address the problem.

Sylvester's book list on why healthcare is a cancer on the American Dream

Sylvester J. Schieber Why did Sylvester love this book?

One prevailing theory about the high cost of U.S. health care compared to other highly developed nations is that the prices charged for goods and services are simply higher in the United States and elsewhere.

Reinhardt is one of the leading proponents of this school of thought and this book summarizes his reasoning on the subject and how to deal with it.

By Uwe E. Reinhardt,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From a giant of health care policy, an engaging and enlightening account of why American health care is so expensive-and why it doesn't have to be

Uwe Reinhardt was a towering figure and moral conscience of health care policy in the United States and beyond. Famously bipartisan, he advised presidents and Congress on health reform and originated central features of the Affordable Care Act. In Priced Out, Reinhardt offers an engaging and enlightening account of the U.S. health care system, explaining why it costs so much more and delivers so much less than the systems of every other advanced country,…


Book cover of Ending Medical Reversal: Improving Outcomes, Saving Lives

Sylvester J. Schieber Author Of Healthcare USA: American Exceptionalism Run Amok

From my list on why healthcare is a cancer on the American Dream.

Why am I passionate about this?

I spent nearly 30 years consulting with employers about the design and operation of the health insurance and retirement benefits they provided their workers. In my work, I was familiar with economic studies showing that workers’ wages and salaries have been increasingly skewed toward higher earners and was convinced the results were less pronounced for workers' total rewards.. In developing my analysis I came to understand that the cost of employees’ health insurance was consuming a large share of workers’ growing rewards. This led me to explore how the US health system was imposing much higher costs on workers than any other segment of society and how we might address the problem.

Sylvester's book list on why healthcare is a cancer on the American Dream

Sylvester J. Schieber Why did Sylvester love this book?

These medical doctors explore the introduction of new medical practices that are subsequently shown to be of no value to patients or even harmful.

Prasad and Cifu report on a variety of procedures and practices often used widely that have been proven ineffective. They review 10 years of a prominent medical journal's articles reporting the results of efficacy studies of existing and new practices.

Of 363 articles reporting on the results of studies on existing practices, 40.2 percent indicated the practice of no value or harmful to the patients and another 21.8 percent were inconclusive on whether the practice was beneficial or not.

In looking at 981 articles on studies of new practices, 16.8 percent found the practice of no benefit or harmful and another 6.1 percent were inconclusive.

In the latter sections of their discussion, they describe ways to address the prevalence of what they call “medical reversals.”

By Vinayak K. Prasad, Adam S. Cifu,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Why medicine adopts ineffective or harmful medical practices only to abandon them-sometimes too late.

Medications such as Vioxx and procedures such as vertebroplasty for back pain are among the medical "advances" that turned out to be dangerous or useless. What Dr. Vinayak K. Prasad and Dr. Adam S. Cifu call medical reversal happens when doctors start using a medication, procedure, or diagnostic tool without a robust evidence base-and then stop using it when it is found not to help, or even to harm, patients.

In Ending Medical Reversal, Drs. Prasad and Cifu narrate fascinating stories from every corner of medicine…


Book cover of Sickening: How Big Pharma Broke American Health Care and How We Can Repair It

Peter A. Swenson Author Of Disorder: A History of Reform, Reaction, and Money in American Medicine

From my list on the entanglement of medicine, politics, and pharmaceuticals.

Why am I passionate about this?

In my younger days, as the son of a medical professor and a public health nurse, I was more interested in healing society than patients. But my political interests and research agenda as a professor of political science ultimately led back to medicine. I found that profit-maximizing market competition in health care failed miserably to promote value in therapeutics and economize on society’s scarce resources. I became aware of the neglect of public health to prevent disease for vulnerable groups in society and save money as well as lives. Pervasive and enduring economic conflicts of interest in the medical-industrial complex bear primary responsibility for severe deficits in quality, equality, and economy in American health care.

Peter's book list on the entanglement of medicine, politics, and pharmaceuticals

Peter A. Swenson Why did Peter love this book?

If you think that medical journals published by respected medical societies are full of good science, think again.

For me, Abramson’s Sickening nailed the case for a conclusion that the net effect of the many hundreds of medical journals published here and around the world is to subtract from the sum of human medical knowledge.

Abramson, as an expert witness in criminal and civil cases against drug companies, draws in part on subpoenaed documents to expose how medical science, as part of the entire medical-industrial complex, is corrupted from start to finish by the drug industry’s funding of most clinical trials, their control over the data analysis, and even their ghost-writing of articles submitted to journals.

New and disturbing was the withholding of clinical trials’ raw data from journals’ peer reviewers. Instead, they get biased summaries bearing drug manufacturers’ fingerprints.

By John Abramson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The inside story of how Big Pharma’s relentless pursuit of ever-higher profits corrupts medical knowledge—misleading doctors, misdirecting American health care, and harming our health.

The United States spends an excess $1.5 trillion annually on health care compared to other wealthy countries—yet the amount of time that Americans live in good health ranks a lowly 68th in the world. At the heart of the problem is Big Pharma, which funds most clinical trials and therefore controls the research agenda, withholds the real data from those trials as corporate secrets, and shapes most of the information relied upon by health care professionals.…


Book cover of A Breast Cancer Alphabet

Devesh Dahale Author Of The 5000th Baby: A Parent's Perspective and Journey through the First Year of Life

From my list on patient/family experience in healthcare.

Why am I passionate about this?

Life caught me by surprise when our youngest son was born with a birth defect that launched our family into the world of surgeries, and treatments. After experiencing the management of chronic care for our child firsthand, I realized how important it is to share personal stories and experiences. It enables empathy and a deeper understanding and appreciation of what patients and families go through. Autobiographical accounts of patients and families are still very limited. We need more people to come forward and share their own patient/family experiences in order to promote the betterment of healthcare and healing through relating with others and learning from others’ experiences.


Devesh's book list on patient/family experience in healthcare

Devesh Dahale Why did Devesh love this book?

Breast cancer has become ubiquitously one of the most common and dreaded cancers among women. Through this book, the author authentically and innovatively advocates for patients like her, who are diagnosed with breast cancer. She describes her journey in detail in an attempt to guide and advise others on how to deal with and manage life in the face of such a deadly diagnosis. While patients may be overwhelmed by the medical management aspects of the disease, the author reminds us to keep the human and psychological aspects in mind as a patient is after all a human being with emotions at the core.

By Madhulika Sikka,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Breast Cancer Alphabet as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A definitive and approachable guide to life during, and after, breast cancer
 
The biggest risk factor for breast cancer is simply being a woman.  Madhulika Sikka's A Breast Cancer Alphabet offers a new way to live with and plan past the hardest diagnosis that most women will ever receive: a personal, practical, and deeply informative look at the road from diagnosis to treatment and beyond.

What Madhulika Sikka didn't foresee when initially diagnosed, and what this book brings to life so vividly, are the unexpected and minute challenges that make navigating the world of breast cancer all the trickier.  A…


Book cover of Behold, America: The Entangled History of America First and the American Dream

Alex Krieger Author Of City on a Hill: Urban Idealism in America from the Puritans to the Present

From my list on aspirations and unfulfilled promises in America.

Why am I passionate about this?

My interest in the topic of these books has grown across four decades of teaching about cities and urban planning at Harvard, and in active practice as an architect and urban designer. At any moment a city’s very physicality reflects both a culture’s aspirations and the limitations of that culture to achieve those aspirations. Cities are, in a way, compromises in time: among efforts to preserve a past, overcome the challenges of the present, and pursuit of plans for the future. My book focuses on the role of American ideals especially in city and community building, while the five I recommend offer crucial counterpoints about the difficulties and setbacks encountered in reaching for national ideals.  

Alex's book list on aspirations and unfulfilled promises in America

Alex Krieger Why did Alex love this book?

The book explores the complicated historic interaction among what for many are understood to be opposing tendencies of American life. On the one hand, the promise of the ‘American Dream,’ long held as an ethos of America and associated with expectations of liberty, equality, and access to opportunity. While the phrase ‘America First’ is more often associated with isolationist and nativist campaigns, intolerance of others, and even supremacist ideology. 

Yet, as Churchwell reveals, during times of economic, social, or international crisis the appeal of demagoguery would enable the twisting of the meaning of these two phrases for particular and sometimes less noble purposes.   

By Sarah Churchwell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A GUARDIAN AND A SMITHSONIAN BOOK OF THE YEAR
A SUNDAY TIMES, OBSERVER AND I-PAPER SUMMER READ

'Enormously entertaining' Sunday Times
'Fascinating' New Statesman
'An enthralling book' Guardian

'The American dream is dead,' Donald Trump said when announcing his candidacy for president in 2015. How would he revive it? By putting 'America First'.

The 'American Dream' and 'America First' are two of the most loaded phrases in America today, and also two of the most misunderstood. The American Dream began as a pledge for equality rather than as a dream of supremacy and 'making it big'. America First has not…


Book cover of Don't Worry, Make Money: Spiritual & Practical Ways to Create Abundance and More Fun in Your Life

Ronnie F. Lee Author Of Know Money No Problem: A Guide to Positive Personal Economics

From my list on creating a better you.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm an ordinary person who was able to achieve an extraordinary life for myself. My parents, who currently do not own a home, have always struggled to make ends meet. When I left the US Army at 23 with only $3,000 in savings, I quickly spent it while trying to adjust to civilian life in a foreign country. With a limited college education, I turned to books for inspiration. These books provided me with insights into the details behind success stories and changed my mindset. I was motivated to write my own book, Know Money No Problem, to pay it forward and help others achieve their own version of success. 

Ronnie's book list on creating a better you

Ronnie F. Lee Why did Ronnie love this book?

While Don't Worry Make Money may not have been a driving force, it served as a confirmation of my approach to success. This quick read should be the foundation for anyone looking to achieve a better life.

The book is not only enjoyable but also provides a logical path to success. It motivates readers by offering great insights into what truly matters and what doesn't.

To be honest, if you're short on time, just review the table of contents. It reads like a recipe for achieving the American dream. Richard lays out 100 entries that serve as a step-by-step guide to success.

By Richard Carlson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Don't Worry, Make Money as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now in paperback--the #1 "New York Times" bestseller that offers revolutionary strategies for making more while worrying less. Filled with unique, refreshing ideas to spark the interest of even the most overworked business person, this handy guide presents life-changing wisdom to use at home and at the office.


Book cover of Charlie P

Stacey Levine Author Of Frances Johnson

From my list on fiction that writes against narrative convention.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a novelist and admire writing that pushes against the conventions of mainstream fiction, that goes around and beyond the formulaic, commercial concept of plot. In the Western world, we’re especially stuck on what film director Raul Ruiz calls “conflict theory”—the masculinist idea that only conflict can create narrative. Of course conflict is part of life, but hello—there’s more. Conventional plot’s well-worn heroes, helpers, villians, saviours, and conflict-based climax, so closely tied to Hollywood USA, are predictable and unfulfilling. Many people seek something more innovative, like the literary versions of Philip Glass or Fernando Botero.

Stacey's book list on fiction that writes against narrative convention

Stacey Levine Why did Stacey love this book?

Constructed nonlinearly, this funny, playful, and complex novel concerns our culture’s pressure on men to “be” something; it’s also about the human sense of self in general. It has no conventional plot, though Kalich has created a perfectly workable structure: a kind of index that builds in intensity. Without giving particulars as to geography, age, family, or employment, the paragraph-length descriptions of Charlie P reveal him as hyperbolically great or defeated. Charlie P has accomplished both everything and nothing.

The character is an iconographic blank, perhaps an engineer or former bitcoin-seeker who, for all his striving, suffers an inability to engage with the world; perversely, he views that as “giving in.” It’s no understatement to say that readers of Charlie P, sometime in their lives, will have met a Charlie P.

By Richard Kalich,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“Charlie P is energetic, delightfully sardonic, dark without being oppressive, playful and very readable.”—Sven Birkerts

In Charlie P, New York author Richard Kalich offers us a singularly unique, comic, and outlandish everyman. Akin to other great American icons such as Sinclair Lewis’ Babbitt and Ring Lardner’s Al, Charlie P plumbs the relation between fantasy and reality to offer us a character both asocial and alienated and, at the same time, at the heart of the American dream.


Book cover of Lawn Boy

Lori Henriksen Author Of The Winter Loon

From my list on LGBTQ+ themes about the healing power of love.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a retired family therapist, I find that writing and reading stories about emotional journeys no matter our sexual identity, ethnicity, or class has the potential to transform us. A protagonist under threat of persecution who finds healing in the power of love, of family, of community can help us fix ourselves where we are broken. I believe stories can help us sever unhealthy ties to the patterns of past generations. My mother was a closeted lesbian with no family who died when I was nine. Writing how I wished her life could have been helped me heal from childhood trauma. Our ancestors passed the talking stick. We have books.

Lori's book list on LGBTQ+ themes about the healing power of love

Lori Henriksen Why did Lori love this book?

This book increased my empathy.

There’s a lot to absorb here, especially for a white, straight ally of the LGBTQ+ community who doesn’t cut her own grass. It's a novel about the effects of discrimination against race, class, and sexual identity. It’s the authentic experience of a 22-year-old Hispanic man who, against all odds, tries to make an honest living and figure out his place in 21st-century America.

On the banned books list, this novel seems to assault the sensibility of censors who want to protect the young and vulnerable against truth. It must be the language, graphic and raw at times, but in the end, it’s not possible to ban reality. The love of his broken family and cobbled-together community has his back as he embraces his sexuality.

By Jonathan Evison,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

For Mike Munoz, a young Chicano living in Washington State, life has been a whole lot of waiting for something to happen. Not too many years out of high school and still doing menial work - and just fired from his latest gig as a lawn boy on a landscaping crew - he knows that he's got to be the one to shake things up if he's ever going to change his life. But how?

In this funny, angry, touching, and ultimately deeply inspiring novel, bestselling author Jonathan Evison takes the reader into the heart and mind of a young…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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