The most recommended neurosurgery books

Who picked these books? Meet our 16 experts.

16 authors created a book list connected to neurosurgery, and here are their favorite neurosurgery books.
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It Ends with Us

By Colleen Hoover,

Book cover of It Ends with Us

C.J. Zahner Author Of Don't Mind Me, I Came with the House

From C.J.'s 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author E-book hoarder Dreamer Read-run-write addict Chocolate junkie Wine sipper

C.J.'s 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did C.J. love this book?

If you’ve ever wondered how a girl could find herself in an abusive relationship, read this book. I’ll admit this begins like a love story, but doesn’t most domestic violence?

Don’t let the first few chapters fool you; this is so much more than sheer romance. Hoover delves into abuse and relationships in her eloquent writing style and makes you fall in love with her characters—even the not-so-nice ones at first. But isn’t that the way life is? And how domestic violence begins? Loving a person you know little about?

Although this is fiction, there is something so realistic about this story that I am still thinking about it months later. The writing is just plain excellent.

By Colleen Hoover,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked It Ends with Us as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Lily hasn't always had it easy, but that's never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She's come a long way from the small town where she grew up-she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. And when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily's life seems too good to be true.

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, maybe even a little arrogant. He's also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily. And the way he looks in scrubs certainly doesn't hurt. Lily can't get…

What We Find

By Robyn Carr,

Book cover of What We Find

Marie Jones Author Of Those We Trust

From Marie's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Adventurer Romantic Passionate Reader Writer

Marie's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Marie love this book?

We’ve all been in situations where life has become increasingly hard and we run out of choices. It's what we do then that counts – give up or start again? 

This is what Maggie, the main protagonist must decide and she goes to Colorado. Having spent some time there myself last year, I felt an instant connection with her decision, and then how she rises to the next challenge that comes her way.

By Robyn Carr,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Look for Robyn’s new book, The Best of Us, a story about family, second chances and choosing to live your best life—order your copy today!

Join Robyn Carr, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Virgin River and Thunder Point series, as she explores the healing powers of rural Colorado in a brand-new story of fresh starts, budding relationships and one woman's journey to finding the happiness she's long been missing 

Between the urban bustle of Denver and the high-stress environment of a career in neurosurgery, Maggie Sullivan has hit a wall. When an emergency high-risk procedure results in…

Book cover of Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors

Kimberly Packard Author Of Dire's Club

From the list on that I never wanted to end.

Who am I?

Why do I have a passion for getting lost in books? I guess it’s something that I’ve loved since I was a kid. Finding a world, a life, a life so incredibly different from mine. And, good writing that draws me in and makes me completely forget who I am. These are books that you don’t just read, but they envelop you. And, as a writer, it’s something that I strive to do for my readers. 

Kimberly's book list on that I never wanted to end

Why did Kimberly love this book?

This clever trio of books – Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors, Recipe for Persuasion, and Incense and Sensibility – are probably the best re-telling of the classic Jane Austen books. Sonali’s world is built around the Raje family, Indian royalty now living in San Francisco. The only thing better than her rich characters and beautiful writing is the beautifully diverse tapestry of characters. 

By Sonali Dev,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Award-winning author Sonali Dev launches a new series about the Rajes, an immigrant Indian family descended from royalty, who have built their lives in San Francisco...

It is a truth universally acknowledged that only in an overachieving Indian American family can a genius daughter be considered a black sheep.

Dr. Trisha Raje is San Francisco's most acclaimed neurosurgeon. But that's not enough for the Rajes, her influential immigrant family who's achieved power by making its own non-negotiable rules:

* Never trust an outsider

* Never do anything to jeopardize your brother's political aspirations

* And never, ever, defy your family…

Who'd Have Thought

By G. Benson,

Book cover of Who'd Have Thought

Cheyenne Blue Author Of The Number 94 Project

From the list on sapphic romances that have a deeper side.

Who am I?

I’ve been writing lesbian and sapphic stories for a couple of decades now, and over time, I’ve gravitated to stories that have something else going on as well as pure romance. Romance doesn’t evolve in a vacuum, and the setting, scenario, and supporting characters can all help shape the main characters’ romance. I love these fun-filled books that also carry a deeper side, whether it’s a subplot or the main story. That’s what I love to write and read, and I hope you enjoy these recommendations as much as I do.

Cheyenne's book list on sapphic romances that have a deeper side

Why did Cheyenne love this book?

I love the fake romance trope! Characters pretending to be in a relationship for convoluted reasons get me picking the book up every time. This one is a cracker! Top neurosurgeon Samantha Thomson needs a wife like now and advertises to find one. The ad is answered by Hayden Pérez, an ER nurse in the same hospital. Trouble is, Hayden dislikes the rude and aloof Sam and is only doing this for the generous payment for a year of her time.

Watching Sam and Hayden banter and snark around each other is delicious fun. As their relationship develops, the women start to understand and support each other through their individual problems in a very positive way. Readers who love a longer read will adore this one: the word count clocks in at 122,000.

This book is a delight from start to finish.

By G. Benson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Who'd Have Thought as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Top neurosurgeon Samantha Thomson needs to get married fast and is tightlipped as to why. And with over $200,000 on offer to tie the knot, no questions asked, cash-strapped ER nurse Hayden Pérez isn’t about to demand answers.
The deal is only for a year of marriage, but Hayden’s going into it knowing it will be a nightmare. Sam is complicated, rude, kind of cold, and someone Hayden barely tolerates at work, let alone wants to marry. The hardest part is that Hayden has to convince everyone around them that they’re madly in love and that racing down the aisle…

Gifted Hands

By Ben Carson, Cecil Murphey,

Book cover of Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story

Tracy Crump Author Of Health, Healing, and Wholeness: Devotions of Hope in the Midst of Illness

From the list on faith and hope during illness.

Who am I?

Having practically grown up at the hospital where my dad worked as a medical photographer, I wanted to be a nurse from the age of ten. I worked in ICU for five years and then retired to become a stay-at-home mom and later a homeschool mother. But once a nurse, always a nurse. I continued to care for friends and family, including my one-hundred-year-old mother-in-law, through health crises and long-term illnesses. My book and the others listed here tell stories of God’s healing—physically, mentally, and spiritually—a theme I’m passionate about and hope you are, too!

Tracy's book list on faith and hope during illness

Why did Tracy love this book?

Another favorite! Raised by a single mom who spurred him to do his best, Ben Carson rose from a low-income, inner-city upbringing to become director of pediatric neurosurgery at John Hopkins by age thirty-three. He gained worldwide recognition for developing a technique to separate Siamese twins conjoined at the back of the head—the first successful operation of its kind. His strong faith, instilled in him by his mom, influenced every decision he made, making him a more compassionate and sensitive doctor. This book combines fascinating scenes from the surgical suite with a picture of a remarkable yet humble man who is an extraordinary role model for future generations.

By Ben Carson, Cecil Murphey,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This bestselling book reveals the extraordinary life of Dr. Ben Carson--from inner-city kid to renowned neurosurgeon.

Dr. Ben Carson is known around the world for breakthroughs in neurosurgery that have brought hope where no hope existed. In Gifted Hands, he tells of his inspiring odyssey from his childhood in inner-city Detroit to his position as director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions at age thirty-three.

Filled with fascinating case histories, Gifted Hands will transplant you into the operating room to witness surgeries that made headlines around the world, and into the private mind of a compassionate, God-fearing physician…

Proof of Heaven

By Eben Alexander,

Book cover of Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey Into the Afterlife

Star Bradbury Author Of Successfully Navigating Your Parents' Senior Years: Critical Information to Maximize Their Independence and Make Sure They Get the Care They Need

From the list on helping you or your loved ones age successfully.

Who am I?

I have worked in senior living for over 25 years. I was the administrative director of both an assisted living facility as well as a memory care facility and then I worked for over 18 years in one of the top national Life Care Communities in the country. During this time, I helped thousands of families navigate the complex and confusing world of senior living. I wrote my book to help families make educated and informed decisions and know what they could do before a crisis! It is not if your parents will need help, it is when! I am passionate about passing on the knowledge of my years in this field. 

Star's book list on helping you or your loved ones age successfully

Why did Star love this book?

Written by a neurosurgeon who had absolutely no faith or belief in an afterlife, he made an about face after a life-threatening coma and a near-death experience.

This book is his own personal story and truly, it is both inspiring and life changing for the reader. His views on the purpose of life after this experience is so uplifting! 

By Eben Alexander,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Proof of Heaven as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Internationally acclaimed neurosurgeon Dr Eben Alexander always considered himself a man of science. His unwavering belief in evidence-based medicine fuelled a career in the top medical institutions of the world. But all this was set to change. One morning in 2008 he fell into a coma after suffering a rare form of bacterial meningitis. Scans of his brain revealed massive damage. Death was deemed the most likely outcome. As his family prepared themselves for the worst, something miraculous happened. Dr Alexander's brain went from near total inactivity to awakening. He made a full recovery but he was never the same.…

Do No Harm

By Henry Marsh,

Book cover of Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death, and Brain Surgery

Katrina Firlik Author Of Another Day in the Frontal Lobe: A Brain Surgeon Exposes Life on the Inside

From the list on medicine in the trenches.

Who am I?

As the daughter of a surgeon and as a surgeon myself, medicine is in my blood. I understand that a job in medicine is never just a job. It’s a world filled with human beings in need of help, often in dire need. And the human connections that fulfill that need fuel the richest stories imaginable. That’s why there will always be a popular television series with a medical theme. It’s the same with books: the reservoir of compelling medical narratives is wide and deep. But tapping into this reservoir requires a certain skill. The writers I highlight here have this skill in spades. Enjoy!

Katrina's book list on medicine in the trenches

Why did Katrina love this book?

Henry Marsh, similar to Richard Selzer, is another rare example of a senior surgeon with an amazing ability to recount both the outer and inner life of a surgeon. Marsh is a British neurosurgeon with a long career full of remarkable stories, and Do No Harm focuses a lens in particular on what can go wrong, along with the physical and emotional repercussions. It’s a very honest and fascinating narrative that should be required reading for all medical students, not only for those contemplating neurosurgery.

By Henry Marsh,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Do No Harm as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


* * * * *

What is it like to be a brain surgeon?

How does it feel to hold someone's life in your hands, to cut through the stuff that creates thought, feeling and reason?

How do you live with the consequences when it all goes wrong?

DO NO HARM offers an unforgettable insight into the highs and lows of a life dedicated to operating on the human brain, in all its exquisite complexity. With astonishing candour and compassion, Henry Marsh reveals the exhilarating drama of surgery, the chaos and confusion of a busy…

When Breath Becomes Air

By Paul Kalanithi,

Book cover of When Breath Becomes Air

Jennifer Cramer-Miller Author Of Incurable Optimist: Living with Illness and Chronic Hope

From the list on inspiring you to hug your life and savor every second.

Who am I?

Hello, I am Jennifer Cramer-Miller—an author, speaker, and joy seeker. Thirty-some years ago, at 22, I had a cozy apartment with my best friend and a promising PR position. Then I was diagnosed with an incurable autoimmune kidney disease, and suddenly, doctors discussed my “quality of life.” At a very young age, life’s uncertainty fueled my will to survive. And I’ve learned that life is a mix of beauty and bummers. So as long as we’re alive, we should appreciate all of it. That’s why I’m drawn to books that illuminate what it means to be a human managing uncertainty, holding onto hope, and finding joy. 

Jennifer's book list on inspiring you to hug your life and savor every second

Why did Jennifer love this book?

Oh, this book! It’s so moving. It’s so sad. It’s so beautiful. And it lingers in my mind years after I first read it.

Paul Kalanithi wrestles with a question you’d never wish upon a 36-year-old neurosurgeon with stage IV lung cancer, married with a child. What makes life worth living in the face of death? He writes, “I began to realize that coming face to face with my own mortality, in a sense, had changed nothing and everything… I can’t go on. I’ll go on.” While he stared bravely ahead as he faced death, he penned a beautiful book about life.

By Paul Kalanithi,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked When Breath Becomes Air as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


'Rattling. Heartbreaking. Beautiful.' Atul Gawande, bestselling author of Being Mortal

What makes life worth living in the face of death?

At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade's training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, the next he was a patient struggling to live.

When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi's transformation from a medical student asking what makes a virtuous and meaningful life into a neurosurgeon working in the core of human identity - the brain - and…

Into the Magic Shop

By James R. Doty,

Book cover of Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon's Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart

Diane Dreher Author Of The Tao of Inner Peace

From Diane's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Professor Explorer Nature lover Spiritual seeker Positive psychology researcher

Diane's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Diane love this book?

Coming from a dysfunctional family, I connected with twelve-year-old Jim, who had an alcoholic father and a depressed, suicidal mother.

One day, he walked into a magic shop in a local strip mall, where Ruth, the owner’s mother, taught him the “magic” of meditation that changed his life. In this remarkable book that combines neuroscience insights with engaging narrative, I felt I knew Jim as I, too, learned Ruth’s lessons of mindfulness, meditation, and compassion that would change my life as well.

I loved the book so much that I sent a copy to my friend Pat, who also began meditating. We are both grateful for this book and our meditative practice that brings greater hope to our lives.

By James R. Doty,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Into the Magic Shop as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The award-winning New York Times bestseller that inspired BTS's K-pop song 'Magic Shop'.

The day that 12-year-old James Doty walked in to his local magic shop is the day that changed his life.

Once the neglected son of an alcoholic father and a mother with chronic depression, he has gone on to become a leading neurosurgeon, based at Stanford University. He credits Ruth for this incredible turnaround: the remarkable woman he met at the Cactus Rabbit Magic Shop, who devoted the summer to transforming his mind and opening his heart.

In this uplifting memoir, Jim explains the visualisation techniques Ruth…