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Summer Reading

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August 30, 2016

Posted by: Jill Shah

Inspired by our friends over at Partners In Health, here's a list of books recommended by the Medic team. If you're looking for one last summer read, pick up one of these and let us know what you think!

The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee

"The book is a gripping chronicle of cancer from a scientific, historical and social perspective. For anyone who is interested in learning more about the disease that has been a part of our collective history for thousands of years, this book is a must read." 

- Shreya Bhatt

The Reflective Practitioner by Donald A. Schon

"This is a groundbreaking classic about how expert practitioners think on their feet, pivot quickly and generate novel ways forward in situations of complexity, ambiguity, rapid change or conflicting priorities. The book is a pleasure to read, and it has become a classic in fields as diverse as engineering, education, organizational theory and design studies. If you have ever wondered whether human-centered design really differs from a more technocratic approach to evidence-based practice in global health (or why such differences matter), Schon's vision of reflective practice is a good place to start."

- Isaac Holeman

Improvising Medicine by Julie Livingston

"Livingston's ethnography of Botswana’s only public cancer ward offers a lucid and at times wrenching perspective on why global health practitioners should care about cancer. In so doing, she portrays how health workers in settings of poverty face the breakdown of machines, erratically performing infrastructure and intermittent staffing troubles that regularly threaten to throw coordination into chaos. Anyone who uses technology to support, coordinate, integrate or automate global health programs would do well to consider her insights about the improvisational character of such care work." 

- Isaac Holeman

 Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

"A story about twin brothers born to an Indian nun and a British surgeon in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It follows one brother as he navigates medical school in America, contemplates lost love opportunities, and sibling betrayal. It's based loosely on Abraham Verghese's real life experience and is full of fantastic descriptions of Ethiopian culture and history. You'll love the characters. The story is well-structured, moves along in two different geographical settings, portraying both Diaspora-in-America living and the after-effects of going 'home' to face what you left behind. A great book!"

- Mercy Simiyu

Geek Heresy: Rescuing Social Change from the Cult of Technology by Kentaro Toyama

"An ICTD pioneer and researcher at Microsoft Research reflects on how technology is not always a silver bullet, depending on how it’s done, and tries to pin down what it is (since it’s the not tech!) that makes projects work." 

- Estelle Comment

Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

"I’ve long been inspired by Atul Gawande’s writing. I read Being Mortal during the time that we were encouraging my Grandma to move and were exploring her options of maintaining independence and comfort. My mom and I both read this book and it gave us language and context for our discussions as a family. I appreciated its research, personal perspective, and views on how health systems and communities need to grow to better support those at the end of life and the friends and families that care for them."

- Jacqueline Edwards

Leaving Microsoft to Change the World by John Wood

"I read this book years ago, and it was very inspirational. John Wood is the founder of a nonprofit called Room to Read which helps build schools and libraries in third world countries. He used to work for Microsoft and was on a trek in Nepal, saw the condition of the local school and library, got inspired, left everything and started the organization."

- Bishwas Bhatta

The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

"The book is actually a collection of poems that touch on a number of life issues and themes. I haven't read all of them but I do often go back and read the same poems. My favorite ones are about love and parenting. Reading these poems have been a form of inspiration and grounding. Kahlil has a way with words that creates a sense of centering, peace, and clarity. I would suggest this book to anyone, more as a reference point for life when things get tough and you need a push or a droplet of inspiration." 

- Aika Janet Matemu

Brave New World and 1984

"This summer, I found myself re-rereading Brave New World and 1984 – along with at least four other people on my daily bus route! Revisiting both of the dystopian worlds reminded me not to shy away from 'should we?' conversations. Although I haven’t read it just yet, I’d also recommend picking up Everyday Ambassador by the brilliant Kate Otto." 

- Josh Nesbit

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