Best Books Methodology

I sporadically post “best books” recommendations for medical topics, which if you’re reading this you’ve likely also noticed sometimes cover topics that I’m not in expert in and discuss books I haven’t actually read. This is my general methodology, for those curious:

  • For specialties and niches, I typically get a first-round of book recommendations from people I trust in the specialty in question.
  • I simultaneously scour the Internet for all relevant recs including reading through every thread I can find on various forums as well as the remainder the Internet.
  • I then search through Amazon to find additional potential books and read all of the reviews for literally everything.
  • I then read through at least a sample of each book on Amazon to get a feel for the organization, quality, depth, style, and other such factors. This also helps me corroborate other people’s opinions that I’ve been exposed to. You might be surprised how good that quick gestalt can be (I highly recommend it before you buy anything).

The potential downside to this method is that I am not necessarily a subject matter expert on every topic or every book that I recommend. I also definitely have not read each (or sometimes any) book cover to cover.

The positive side is that I’m not just one guy telling you my personal opinion about what I personally like; I’m instead building a cohesive viewpoint based on a foundation of broader public opinion, somewhat similar to the old-school Wirecutter or US News cars reviews. I’d like to think it’s refreshing to see a reasonable grouping of book recommendations that can be attributed to a single person. I am not an expert in or even a trainee in every field, but I know from the continued popularity of my medical school posts and initial forays that people find these types of recommendations helpful and a one-stop shop anxiolytic.

I could call the series “good books that will likely serve you well,” but that doesn’t have much of a ring to it. These “best books” of course aren’t necessarily really the best books. Or sometimes they are, but they still might not be the best books for you. Nonetheless, the goal of these posts is to provide you with a simple straightforward reasonable selection of books that you can read or “read” without remorse.

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