Books II

I love those rare books about how professionals actually go about thinking about pertinent stuff. Hence, I’m mesmerized by How Doctors Think, by Jerome Groopman, M.D. The book does not beat up on docs per se, but it surely explores in detail the nonrational-human side of diagnosis and decision making and case management. Consider: “On average a physician will interrupt a patient describing her symptoms within eighteen seconds.” 291 pages of this? My answer is a wholehearted “yes,” at least for me. It’s fun, useful in my extensive work in healthcare, and indicative of individual-organizational decision making in general.

(Speaking of non-rational evaluations and decision-making, I just reread Judgment under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases, by Daniel Kahneman, Paul Slovic, and Amos Tversky. Though 25 years old, it remains the timely bible on nonrational thought processes. Kahneman won an economics Nobel for his work here. I read the book when it appeared in ’82, and reread it every few years—it keeps me in touch with my roots. Hence, the odd success strategy below.) (FYI, Judgment under Uncertainty sits with Gould’s Full House and Taleb’s Fooled by Randomness in my “iconic pile”—the books that more or less “spiritually” guide my work—LOVE THE MESS!!)