Pre-Med Reading List

Recommended books for pre-medical students, medical students, and physicians.

Suggestions are welcomed! Email them to fayres _ @ _

You can also view this list on GoodReads.

Required Reading


Better, Atul Gawande

Being Mortal, Atul Gawande

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, Anne Fadiman

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot

When Breath Becomes Air, Paul Kalanithi

The Emperor of All Maladies, Siddhartha Mukherjee

The Gene, Siddhartha Mukherjee

To Repair the World, Paul Farmer (edited by Jonathan Weigel)

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales, Oliver Sacks

Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World, Tracy Kidder

Pathologies of Power: Health, Human Rights and the New War on the Poor, Paul Farmer

Hippocrates’ Shadow: What Doctors Don’t Know, Don’t Tell You, and How Truth Can Repair the Patient-Doctor Breach, David H. Newman

The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma, Bessel van der Kolk

A Fortunate Man: The Story of a Country Doctor, John Berger

“Whenever I am reminded of death – and it happens every day – I think of my own, and this makes me try to work harder.”

The Doctor Stories, William Carlos Williams

What Patients Say, What Doctors Hear, Danielle Ofri

Ask Me About My Uterus: A Quest to Make Doctors Believe in Women’s Pain, Abby Norman

How Doctors Think, Jerome Groopman

My Own Country: A Doctor’s Story, Abraham Verghese

An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take It Back, Elisabeth Rosenthal

On Death and Dying, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic, Sam Quinones


Cutting for Stone, Abraham Verghese

The Plague, Albert Camus

A Young Doctor’s Notebook, Mikhail Bulgakov

Other Suggested Reading

The Checklist Manifesto, Atul Gawande

What the Eyes Don’t See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City, Mona Hanna-Attisha

This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor, Adam Kay

A Heart for the Work: Journeys through an African Medical School, Claire L. Wendland

Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America, Beth Macy

Hope in Hell: Inside the World of Doctors Without Borders, Dan Bortolotti

Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present, Harriet A. Washington

The Social Transformation of American Medicine: The Rise of a Sovereign Profession and the Making of a Vast Industry, Paul Starr

Med School Confidential: A Complete Guide to the Medical School Experience: By Students, for Students, Robert H. Miller

White Coat: Becoming a Doctor at Harvard Medical School, Ellen Lerner Rothman

Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions, Johann Hari

Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams, Matthew Walker

The Scalpel and the Silver Bear: The First Navajo Woman Surgeon Combines Western Medicine and Traditional Healing, Lori Arviso Alvord

AIDS and Accusation: Haiti and the Geography of Blame, Paul Farmer

Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain, Oliver Sacks

How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us about Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence, Michael Pollan

The Knife Man: Blood, Body Snatching, and the Birth of Modern Surgery, Wendy Moore

What Doctors Feel: How Emotions Affect the Practice of Medicine, Danielle Ofri

Complications, Atul Gawande

Genome: the Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters, Matt Ridley

Nine Pints: A Journey Through the Money, Medicine, and Mysteries of Blood, Rose George

She Has Her Mother’s Laugh: The Powers, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity, Carl Zimmer

Crazy Like Us: The Globalization of the American Psyche, Ethan Watters

The Other Brain: From Dementia to Schizophrenia, How New Discoveries about the Brain Are Revolutionizing Medicine and Science, R. Douglas Fields

Fire in the Brain: Clinical Tales of Hallucination, Ronald K. Siegel

Plagues and the Paradox of Progress: Why the World Is Getting Healthier in Worrisome Ways, Thomas J. Bollyky

Final Exam: A Surgeon’s Reflections on Mortality, Pauline W. Chen

How We Die: Reflections of Life’s Final Chapter, Sherwin B. Nuland

When the Air Hits Your Brain: Tales of Neurosurgery, Frank Vertosick Jr.

10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works, Dan Harris

The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness, Andy Puddicombe

Overdiagnosed: Making People Sick in the Pursuit of Health, H. Gilbert Welch

The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons: The History of the Human Brain as Revealed by True Stories of Trauma, Madness, and Recovery, Sam Kean

Blitzed: Drugs in the Third Reich, Norman Ohler

The Case Against Sugar, Gary Taubes

Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think, Hans Rosling

Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality, Christopher Ryan

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Carol S. Dweck

Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst, Robert Sapolsky

Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness, Peter Godfrey-Smith

The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite, David A. Kessler

The Invisible Gorilla: And Other Ways Our Intuitions Deceive Us, Christopher Chabris

Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything, Joshua Foer

A Thousand Naked Strangers: A Paramedic’s Wild Ride to the Edge and Back, Kevin Hazzard

A Disability History of the United States, Kim M. Nielsen

The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care, T.R. Reid

Patient H.M.: A Story of Memory, Madness, and Family Secrets, Luke Dittrich

The Hot Zone: The Terrifying True Story of the Origins of the Ebola Virus, Richard Preston

Adventures in Human Being: A Grand Tour from the Cranium to the Calcaneus, Gavin Francis

Stumbling on Happiness, Daniel Gilbert

The Happiness Hypothesis, Jonathan Haidt