Reading List

I was an avid reader as a child. I maxed out the book limit at my local library every week, and I loved reading so much that I would finish my schoolwork as fast as possible so that I could get to our corner reading nook and dive into whatever was my latest series obsession (Boxcar Children, Saddle Club, Chronicles of Narnia…). I was a lit major in college almost by default since I was going to be reading anyway. After that though, premed pressures, med school, and residency severely hampered my reading habit. I managed to get several books in along the way with the audio versions, and some of these were profoundly beneficial.

Not long ago, I was reading the Montana Money Adventures blog and ran across Jillian’s mentoring questionnaire asking, “What makes you feel rich?” The first thing that came to mind was having the time to read books. Luxurious time to read luxurious books. I am blessed with many smart and interesting friends, but these friends have tortured me through the years by posting photos of beautiful, enticing covers of books they are reading, and meeting together to discuss in book clubs. Yes, actual book clubs. So unfair. It’s no surprise that THIS is the one thing that I covet most of all in life post-residency: To leap back into the wonderful world of reading.

Without further ado, here is a list of exceptional books for us to deliciously devour, all of which will pertain to an Indie Doc theme of humanitarian medicine, living a life of adventure, financial freedom, purpose, and other relevant topics.

Epic Measures by Jeremy N. Smith

A biography and chronicle of one of the most influential and ambitious “studies” (to be as reductive as possible) of modern times. I was using language and thought processes derived from the work that this book details without having any idea from where those ideas came. After reading the book, I saw it’s influence everywhere, and I’ve recommended it to many people in conversation since. In a nutshell, it’s so relevant, if you don’t read it you just don’t know what you’re missing!

In Shock by Rana Awdish, MD

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This book is a must-read for every healthcare provider and student, and I would even say every hospital employee from janitors, administrators, nurses, physicians…everybody. Many of us may have experience as vulnerable patients, injured or sick, but I dare say that this account of a harrowing 8 year ordeal must be the pinnacle of eloquence and thoughtfulness to help the rest of us process our experiences. I am confident that my methods of patient care will never get over reading this book.

Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder

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I’m aware that this one is almost a cliche at this point, but that’s only because it’s changed so many people and their career plans. We are some of those people, well at least Josh is. This is the book that I mailed him home from my stent at a summer camp in North Carolina before we got married, which he read while working at a home for mentally challenged adults with tentative plans to become a special ed teacher, that caused the earthquake in his mind that led him to med school. This was a revolution in his life, and now here we are, still pursuing the dream. If you haven’t read it, don’t scoff, just embrace unfettered enthusiasm and crack it open.

Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leaf Babin

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Recommended for every surgical resident, this one offers an illustrative lesson from the battlefield and pairs it with a principle of “ownership.” This book helped me begin to process my failures and complication through a constructive lens, and it gave me the practical tools I needed to adopt more of a growth mindset rather than get bogged down with shame or feelings of inadequacy when things didn’t go well.

Love Does by Bob Goff

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This one came up in the comments section of a Montana Money Adventures post, and I was intrigued by the title and the short discussion there. Mr. Goff gives a message that I’ve been wanting to hear for years, particularly related to my personal background of being raised as a Southern Baptist. I don’t want to spoil it with any preconceived notions; regardless of religious background, this book is inspires me to drill down to what truly matters and to get busy doing stuff. I hope that is what Indie Docs is all about.