Book Review: The Hidden Curriculum & The Doctor’s Basic Business Handbook

David Kashmer’s The Hidden Curriculum: What They Don’t Teach You At Medical School

is up next on the Kindle Unlimited tour of physician books. I really feel like the title should read “in Medical School.”

Kashmer’s hardest sells in the book are on how valuable he thinks his MBA training was and how great locum tenens positions can be for a young physician’s lifestyle (he owns a locums placement company). It starts with the usual “I’ve made a lot of mistakes doing all the amazing things I’ve done” humblebrag and follows it up with a ton of common sense. I do applaud him for the copy editing and book styling, definitely a notch above the usual.

He also really promotes a company called Provider Lifestyle Experts, a service which helps with dealing with credentialing paperwork for $600/month. Yikes! Only in my wildest dreams could I one day make enough money to think spending over $7000 annually for some light paperwork help was a good use of cash.

There are some generally useful things about contract negotiation, but I think these are better and more succinctly covered by the second book in this review. The practical advice on how to deal with the vagaries of clinical practice sort of sound like marathon advice: At first you’ll be nervous. At some point, you’ll get tired. You may even want to quit. If you trip and fall, well that will probably hurt. How much is hard to say. Is that helpful? Not really. It’s obvious. It’s generally pleasant non-advice. Be nice, work hard, don’t do shady things, and if your job really is a terrible fit, get the hell out of dodge.

Overall: Skip unless it’s free and have 1-2 hours to burn and you got terrible clinical evaluations in medical school and residency (i.e. have no common sense).

Brandon Bushnell’s A Doctor’s Basic Business Handbook: Things I Wish I Had Known When I Got Started

is overall stronger, in that out of the 1 hour it takes to read it, 10-15 minutes are pretty interesting. The book is apparently an extended version of a talk he gave to some orthopedics colleagues.

Chapter 1 is “Ten Points You Need to Know About Contracts.” This is interesting and well written. It’s basically an excellent blog post.

Chapter 2 is an almost joke personal finance chapter: don’t act rich, and get a financial planner (ugh).

This is followed by short chapters covering industry and hospital relationships, basics of coding/billing, marketing. All of this is fine and good basics.

Overall: Good if you know nothing, particularly the first chapter. Worth it on Kindle Unlimited/free. Otherwise pass.

3 Comments

  1. Thanks for the review, Ben. Sounds like you weren’t too high on the book unfortunately…but I appreciate your candor and hope the next one (about a different topic!) works better for you & the people who use it. Anyhow appreciate the review and the fact you took the time to read.

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