5 must-reads for physicians this fall

By Charlie Williams
Published September 30, 2021

Key Takeaways

Fall is here, and along with the new season arrive the shorter, cooler, grayer days that are ideal for cozying up with a good book. 

If summer reading is all about setting off on far-flung, luxurious, laid-back literary adventures, then fall is a great time to hunker down and figure out which books can help you get back to business.

If you’re looking for a few reads that can hone your approach to medicine while offering some reprieve from the high cognitive loads you take on as a physician, you’re in luck. Here are five fall reads to help you do just that.

(Disclosure: The following post includes purchase recommendations and uses affiliate links to Amazon products, allowing MDLinx to receive a commission for purchases. All suggestions are our own.)

The 4-hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich, by Tim Ferriss

The 4-hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich, by Tim Ferriss

This book’s title may sound like it deserves a spot in the Fantasy section of your local bookshop. But even for doctors—whose long hours lie somewhere between a rite of passage, a badge of honor, and a recipe for burnout—a 4-hour workweek is possible. 

Leave it to Tim Ferriss to explain how. An early investor in and advisor to companies including Uber, Facebook, Shopify, and Alibaba, Ferriss has been listed as one of Fast Company’s “Most Innovative Business People” and one of Fortune’s “40 under 40.” His podcast, The Tim Ferriss Show, was the first business/interview podcast to exceed 100 million downloads (and now it’s beyond 600 million). 

All these superlatives point to a brilliant, creative mind that, in this book, outlines why you should forget the conventional “deferred-life plan” where you give your best years to employers only to collapse into retirement when life may already have passed you by.

Read The 4-hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich, by Tim Ferriss

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, by Cal Newport

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success In a Distracted World, by Cal Newport

Have you ever spent an entire day at work hustling from one tiny task to another, feeling like you accomplished a slew of amazing feats, only to get home and realize you spent the entire day kicking around ideas in meetings, shooting off emails, or buried in the EHR?

Increasingly, modern work demands that we divide our attention into tiny bits. But for many modern workers, it’s unclear whether that’s fulfilling or provides any real value to the world. In Deep Work, Cal Newport makes the case that in almost any profession, going against the grain and cultivating a deep work ethic will produce the outcomes and fulfillment we truly desire.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Deep Work accomplishes two considerable tasks: “One is putting out a wealth of concrete practices for the ambitious, without relying on gauzy clichés. The second is that Mr. Newport resists the corporate groupthink of constant connectivity without seeming like a curmudgeon.”

Read Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, by Cal Newport

Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone, by Brené Brown

Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone, by Brené Brown

If you’ve ever spent time wondering whether you truly belong—at your job, in your relationships, or in your community—Brené Brown has a powerful message for you: “True belonging doesn’t require us to change who we are. It requires us to be who we are.”

In Braving the Wilderness, Brown argues that humanity is in the throes of a spiritual crisis of disconnection—an especially resonant argument as technology, administrative burden, misinformation, and so many other challenges increase barriers between physicians and their patients. She introduces four practices to help readers understand what it means to truly belong and how they can move closer to that ideal.

“In a culture that’s rife with perfectionism and pleasing, and with the erosion of civility, it’s easy to stay quiet, hide in our ideological bunkers, or fit in rather than show up as our true selves and brave the wilderness of uncertainty and criticism,” Brown writes. “But true belonging is not something we negotiate or accomplish with others; it’s a daily practice that demands integrity and authenticity.”

Read Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone, by Brené Brown

How to Be an Antiracist, by Ibram X. Kendi

How to Be an Antiracist, by Ibram X Kendi

The racial reckoning that followed the murder of George Floyd and massive health inequities exposed by the coronavirus pandemic put health equity front and center in American social and political discourse. But we’re more than a year removed from both of these incidents, and meaningful change remains elusive.

How to Be an Antiracist is an essential guide for anyone looking to learn how racism is embedded in the American ethos and the individual steps they can take to push toward a more equitable world. Whether you’ve known racism personally or you’ve been sheltered from its hardships, you’ll close the final pages of this book with an improved understanding of the role you can play in dismantling racism in your community and in the clinic.

“What emerges from these insights is the most courageous book to date on the problem of race in the Western mind, a confessional of self-examination that may, in fact, be our best chance to free ourselves from our national nightmare,” wrote Jeffrey C. Stewart in a New York Times review.

Read How to Be an Antiracist, by Ibram X. Kendi

You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life, by Jen Sincero

You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life, by Jen Sincero

All the insights of a well-thought-out self-help book and all the narrative hilarity of a rip-roaring comedy—you can expect both upon diving into Jen Sincero’s #1 New York Times bestseller You Are a Badass. By the time you finish, you’ll be ready to: identify and change the self-sabotaging beliefs and behaviors that stop you from getting what you want; create a life you totally love right now; and make the kind of money you never have before.

“Sincero...brings a fun, feminine verve to now well-tread self-help tropes… The tone is far more feisty than academic, and there’s humor on every page, all of which is exactly what her intended audience most needs,” the New York Times wrote.

Read You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life, by Jen Sincero

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