Friday, May 5, 2017

Book Review - When the Air Hits Your Brain: Tales from Neurosurgery by Frank T Vertosick Jr., MD

I really enjoy reading about other people's lives and getting a peek at what they go thru and how they arrived at where they are at. I also enjoy science and learning more.

When the Air Hits Your Brain: Tales from Neurosurgery is collection of autobiographical stories with a few personal essays in between written by Frank T Vertosick Jr., MD. It's available in all formats: eBooks, Audiobooks, and those paper things your grandparentused to read.

The Good

Author's Attitude. The author isn't the typical conceited doctor who thinks he's god and can do no wrong. He is, instead, a bit of a psychopath. He even devotes an entire chapter to how it may be necessary to be a successful surgeon. He is also irreverent and sees the medical practice as some giant cult with the old doctors the high priests that demand all entrants be initiated in the same manner they were. His whole attitude really added to the reading experience and gave a whole different perspective that was refreshing and amusing and brings the necessary but otherwise boring exposition to life.

Visceral Nature of the Stories. The author selected only the most extreme experiences to share and tells each one so masterfully to elicit the maximum emotional response. He does include a disclaimer that names and details have been changed to protect patient privacy, so some of the drama may be imagined.

Personal Philosophy. The author stops every so often to deliver his personal philosophy about some aspect of life. I find his views very insightful and well thought out. He definitely has his views, but I never felt he was trying to force them onto the reader or tell the reader his views were wrong. He merely presented what he believed and why with great conviction.

Afterword. This was written in the 90s about experiences mostly in the 70s and 80s, so some of the information is a little dated. Many advances have been made, and the author takes time at the end to address those, show how parts of the practice have progressed and how others haven't changed since the 50s.

The Bad



Mostly Focuses on Negative. Most of the stories the author tells are quite horrific and upsetting. I really enjoyed them, and they help the reader understand just how dangerous and amazing and unpredictable surgery is. I'm glad he included them; I just want those with weaker constitutions to beware.

What I Would Like to Have Seen

Honestly, I think it's just right.


When the Air Hits Your Brain: Tales from Neurosurgery is a fascinating collections of stories from one neurosurgeon at different points in his career. The stories go from the grotesque and gut wrenching to absolutely stunning and heart warming. Each is well told and elicits the maximum visceral response. The author's irreverent attitude brings even the most mundane parts to life. I give it a solid 5 out of 5 eReaders.



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