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10 Best Medicine Books to Read in 2023


Medicine possesses an extraordinary ability to heal, enhance life, and push the boundaries of human health. For those dedicated to the art and science of healing, consider Oxford Summer Courses. Embark on a transformative journey through our Medicine summer school, where you will have the opportunity to explore medical knowledge, engage with cutting-edge advancements in healthcare, and participate in discussions that delve into the captivating world of medicine.


Please note that the following list of books is recommended reading to broaden your knowledge and deepen your appreciation of medicine. While some of these books may be included in the Oxford Summer Courses curriculum, the specific content of the summer school can vary. If you wish to study medicine with us, you can apply to our Medicine summer school.


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1. "The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer" by Siddhartha Mukherjee

  • "We have entered a new era of understanding cancer biology, opening up exciting possibilities for targeted therapies and personalized medicine."
  • Dive into the history of cancer, its treatment, and the relentless pursuit of a cure. Mukherjee's narrative style makes complex medical concepts accessible.
  • Discussion: How has our understanding of cancer and its treatment evolved over time?

2. "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" by Rebecca Skloot

  • "HeLa cells have not just contributed to scientific advancements; they have revolutionized biomedical research."
  • Explore the ethical implications of medical research and the incredible story of Henrietta Lacks, whose cells have contributed immensely to scientific advancements.
  • Discussion: What ethical considerations should guide medical research, especially concerning human tissues and cells?

3. "Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End" by Atul Gawande

  • "Quality of life should be at the forefront of end-of-life care discussions, prioritizing patients' values and preferences."
  • Reflect on the intersection of medicine and the end of life. Gawande delves into the challenges of providing care and preserving dignity.
  • Discussion: How can the medical community improve end-of-life care and discussions with patients?

4. "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales" by Oliver Sacks

  • "Case studies in neurology offer unique insights into the brain's incredible adaptability and the mysteries of human cognition."
  • Delight in a collection of captivating case studies that reveal the intricacies of the human brain and neurological disorders.
  • Discussion: What insights can be gained from case studies in neurology, and how do they contribute to medical knowledge?

5. "The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down" by Anne Fadiman

  • "Cultural humility is essential in providing patient-centered care to diverse communities, fostering trust and understanding."
  • Explore the cultural complexities of healthcare through the lens of a Hmong family's experiences in the American medical system.
  • Discussion: How can healthcare professionals navigate cultural differences to provide effective and respectful care?

6. "The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right" by Atul Gawande

  • "Checklists serve as powerful tools to mitigate human error and standardize best practices in healthcare."
  • Discover the power of checklists in healthcare and their role in preventing medical errors.
  • Discussion: How can simple tools like checklists improve patient safety and the quality of healthcare?

7. "Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science" by Atul Gawande

  • "Surgery is both art and science, marked by uncertainty and the need for constant improvement in the pursuit of excellence."
  • Join Gawande as he shares stories from his surgical career, shedding light on the complexities and uncertainties of modern medicine.
  • Discussion: What challenges do surgeons face, and how can medicine continually strive for improvement?

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

  • "Dr. Paul Farmer's work demonstrates the transformative impact of a passionate individual's commitment to global health equity."
  • Follow the inspiring journey of Dr. Paul Farmer, who dedicated his life to providing healthcare to underserved communities around the world.
  • Discussion: How can individuals make a meaningful impact on global healthcare disparities, as Dr. Farmer has done?

9. "When Breath Becomes Air" by Paul Kalanithi

  • "In the face of mortality, healthcare professionals must find meaning and purpose in providing compassionate care."
  • Contemplate life, mortality, and the pursuit of purpose through the memoir of a neurosurgeon facing a terminal illness.
  • Discussion: How can healthcare professionals find meaning and purpose in their work, especially when confronted with mortality?

10. "The Emperor's New Mind: Concerning Computers, Minds, and the Laws of Physics" by Roger Penrose

  • "The study of consciousness challenges conventional boundaries and offers potential insights into the mysteries of human cognition and health."
  • Explore the intriguing intersection of mathematics, physics, and consciousness. Penrose, a renowned mathematician and physicist, delves into the complex nature of the human mind and its relationship with the laws of the universe.
  • Discussion: How does the study of consciousness relate to the fields of medicine and neuroscience, and what implications might it have for future medical advancements?


Oxford Summer Courses invites you to embark on a transformative journey into the world of medicine. In this blog post, we present a meticulously curated list of 10 essential books that will deepen your understanding of the medical field. From Siddhartha Mukherjee's exploration of cancer to Atul Gawande's insights into surgery and ethics, these readings will broaden your perspective and enrich your medical education. Join us in our Medicine summer school to analyse and discuss these influential texts, gaining valuable insights into the art and science of healthcare. Discover your passion for medicine and create memories that will last a lifetime.


Apply now to study Medicine at Oxford Summer Courses and elevate your medical education to new heights. Join a community of motivated learners from around the world and embark on a transformative medical journey. Apply here.

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Ignite your passion for medicine at Oxford Summer Courses. Immerse yourself in a carefully selected list of books that delve into medical science, healthcare practices, and the latest advancements in the field of medicine. Gain valuable insights from experts in the field and embark on a transformative journey to enhance your knowledge of medicine.

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