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Your Medical Mind: How to Decide What Is Right for You
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Your Medical Mind: How to Decide What Is Right for You

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  423 Ratings  ·  84 Reviews
An entirely new way to make the best medical decisions.

Making the right medical decisions is harder than ever. We are overwhelmed by information from all sides—whether our doctors’ recommendations, dissenting experts, confusing statistics, or testimonials on the Internet. Now Doctors Groopman and Hartzband reveal that each of us has a “medical mind,” a highly individual
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published September 20th 2011 by Penguin Press
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Bossypants by Tina FeyThe Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David MitchellOpen by Andre AgassiThe Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha MukherjeeToo Big to Fail by Andrew Ross Sorkin
From Fresh Air
39th out of 103 books — 69 voters
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225th out of 275 books — 119 voters

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Community Reviews

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Oct 04, 2012 Najwa rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I have ever read so far. As great as " How Doctors Think ". Groopman's writings have always amazed me in many ways. I liked how this book navigates through the mind-set of patients analyzing the decision process and how preferences have a major influence on the way decisions are made. I honestly feel changed after reading this book. It opened my eyes to a whole new way of thinking that I believe it will help me as a " doctor " & as a " patient " to better formulate my ...more
Susan Daly
Aug 01, 2012 Susan Daly rated it it was amazing
Dear Readers,

I really liked this book because it explained to me, in a way I didn't know, but thought I did, exactly how a person's living will works out in the end.

It also explained a ton of things to me about how my personal opinions about my own medical treatment have been formed all through my life, and, unbeknownst to me, through the way my own Mother, Grandparents, and even Great-Grandparents felt, and/or thought about doctors, medicines, well, everything to do with how I would end up choo
Nov 03, 2014 Tom rated it liked it
This book is important. Not especially exciting, but definitely important. At some point in our lives we will all get sick or hurt and eventually we will all die. It is very likely that when those things occur, we will receive treatment from the medical community. And we or our loved ones will have to make difficult yet crucial decisions about that treatment.

Through a series of case studies, Your Medical Mind examines how real patients receiving medical care made decisions about whether to get t
Nov 14, 2011 Ann rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
Jerome Groopman, medical writer par excellence, has written another fascinating book, this time with his wife, also a doctor. This book is a must-read, since it's about something we all face: how do we think about medical decisions? Do we favor aggressive treatment or do we prefer to do as little as possible? Do we put our faith in what our doctors say, or are we skeptics? Do we love medicine and technology, or do we prefer natural remedies and letting the body heal itself? Even more ...more
I feel like I'm asking this question a lot lately, but who comes up with book titles these days, and is it a requirement that said person read the book first? Based on the disconnect between titles and materials, I'm inclined to think the answer to the second part is a firm "no."

There is some good information in this book, but the title implies it might offer some specific suggestions for things to think about when deciding on medical treatment. It really doesn't What it offer are a lot of case
Sep 21, 2011 Jonathan marked it as to-read
Shelves: heard-on-mpr-npr

September 21, 2011
Whether making life-or-death decisions — or simply choosing a drug — we're flooded with information and conflicting advice. Doctors, the media, statistics, guidelines, family members and Internet strangers can all weigh in on the best medications to take or the most effective treatment options.

So how do you pick the best one?

"There is no one right answer for everyone," says Harvard Medical School oncologist Jerome Groopman. "But it's very
Dec 01, 2016 Devorah rated it really liked it
Groopman is a thoughtful, respectful, empowering doctor -- too much out of my real experience with the medical profession, unfortunately. This book gave practical credence to the pleas that patients should not only be engaged in their own care but should always hold the deciding "vote" on the best care choices. I wish there were a way to flag this kind of respectful care premise when reviewing health professionals in real life.
Jun 21, 2016 Ilib4kids rated it liked it
610 GRO
Player 610 GRO
My summary: Everyone wants the longest life with highest quality. The only way to do this to become "health literary", so we could make best and hardest decisions to fit our personal need and preference among all available options, with less regret.

For cancer
1) the treatment lies in surgery, radiation or chemotherapy , watchful waiting (palliative care)
2) End of life issue: Health proxy (surrogate); advance care directive (or living will); intensive care treatment ( like v
May 01, 2012 Lisa rated it liked it
Shelves: medicine-science
Although I really liked Groopman's How Doctors Think, I liked this book less well. While no book could really tell you how to make medical decisions, this reminded me of the information you get when trying to make financial decisions--consider your acceptable level of risk, etc. Groopman goes further to give a few continuums (continua?) along which you may fall in considering a medical decision: Are you a doubter or a believer in the power of medicine and in your doctor's advice? Are you comfort ...more
Nancy Kennedy
Feb 03, 2012 Nancy Kennedy rated it really liked it
This book addresses the issue of how we make decisions about our medical care. Most of the book is comprised of case studies, actual patients who had to make decisions like whether to take cholesterol-lowering drugs, have knee surgery or sign do-not-resuscitate orders.

Drs. Groopman and Hartzband let the patients talk at length. Their stories are not simple tales with black-and-white answers or outcomes. The patients dither, they procrastinate, they clam up when they should talk frankly, they cha
Oct 27, 2011 Emily rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
In Your Medical Mind, Drs. Groopman and Hartzband have created something of a sequel to Dr. Groopman's earlier How Doctors Think. This book, however, focuses on the patient's part in the medical decision-making process.

The authors provide some very practical suggestions for patients (which at some point will include just about everyone) in dealing with the sometimes overwhelming volume of information presented regarding diagnoses and various treatments, and what to do when the experts don't agr
Sep 03, 2013 Tomoaki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

If you were suddenly diagnosed with a life threatening disease, hospitalized with sudden collapse, or your loved one were in those situation, how you would manage the choices for the medical treatment in front of you.

The reason I picked up this book was my recent experience in the experience I was in. I was not prepared with the situation and I was not sure how we can decide the choices provided in front of us and our choices were right or not and other choices would had been the better one. I
Nov 12, 2016 India rated it really liked it
Do you have family member in the hospital? Perhaps you have a loved one with a “Do Not Resuscitate” order? Are you afraid to pull the plug on Mom or Dad? If yes, then you need to buy this book!

Divine read! Dr. Jerome Groopman's and Pamela Hartzband's "Your Medical Mind: How to Decide What is Right for You" takes you on a dangerous tour with life experiences and stories of difficult medical decisions. Groopman and Hartzband took me down a treacherous flowing river armed with a boatload of knowled
Oct 12, 2011 Readnponder rated it really liked it
This book explains how different personality bents factor into make medical decisions. Maximalists want everything possible done for them. Every test; every treatment. Minimalists hestitate taking an aspirin for a headache. Maybe a brisk walk or a nap will accomplish the same thing. Then there are folks who place high value on autonomy. They want to make all the decisions themselves, while others are quite happy to delegate it to the experts (i.e. doctors).

The authors do not say one style is rig
Logan Kendall
Jun 17, 2012 Logan Kendall rated it really liked it
Not quite as good as How Doctors Think and it still comes across as physician-centered. I honestly came away thinking it was written for doctors to better understand patients. But the authors' framework of analysis for understanding patient issues is pretty good (e.g. decision analysis, social influences, technology inclination, etc.). While I think it needs more formal assessment, the minimalist/maximalist, naturalism/technology, and doubter/believer spectrums are an interesting way to frame ...more
Rhonda Sue
Jul 14, 2015 Rhonda Sue rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and finished it rather quickly. The authors present facts and alternate ideas and opinions that I found refreshing, particularly in the medical field. Each chapter talks about real patients and the choices they were faced with during a serious illness. The psychology of how we make decisions was highly interesting to me and the authors were not your typical paternalist doctors that forced patients into a corner and always knew what was right. They challenged ...more
Oct 14, 2014 Sarah rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2014
A very good reference for those facing medical issues. I appreciated the tone of the book as well as the discussion on psychology of why we think the way we do about these issues. How should we best approach a decision that may have an impact on our lives? Do we wait, and if we don't how do we choose what is best for us and not best for our doctor or for others?

The book lays out some of how our minds work and change over time - something we may take heavily into consideration now, our future se
Oct 06, 2011 Harley rated it it was amazing
Excellent book, giving so much perspective on how we, the patients, approach our health decisions. I actually still have to finish reading the notes at the end, and they add some information, but Groopman and his wife, Pamela Hartzband, help with the confusion of possibilities. Just an example, they point out that we have several different ways we approach making up our minds on what treatments we will accept. Believers and doubters, you know who you are. Same with naturalism vs technology. And, ...more
Dec 06, 2011 Kara rated it really liked it
As always, I thoroughly enjoy a Groopman read, even if this one made me a bit of a hypochondriac for a few days. In Your Medical Mind, he talks about how your own personal experiences influence health decisions, and how there's not a "one size fits all" solution, whether you're considering a DNR directive, or treating cancer, or any other major medical decision. These are concepts I'm glad I don't need to worry about right now, but appreciate taking the time to think about them. Easy read, warm ...more
Nov 07, 2011 Al rated it it was amazing
The astute Dr. Groopman and his wife Dr. Hartzband expound upon the complexities facing patients who have to make decisions about whether and how to treat illnesses. In the course of the book, they don't provide pat answers, but they do give numerous useful tips about how to understand one's own priorities when considering treatment, how to think about doctors, treatments, etc., and what pitfalls to watch for. This highly readable book is so practical and useful I went back and made three pages ...more
Feb 08, 2012 Karin rated it it was amazing
I am only half way through this book but it is an excellent read. If you or anyone close to you is dealing with making medical decisions whether small or large this book will help you understand why you respond the way you do and provides a really helpful systemic thinking process. Understanding this will help you make the choices that work best for you, understand when and why a second opinion will help and perhaps a key point-understand why a physician may provide the advice they do and how to ...more
Nov 26, 2013 Mary rated it liked it
This is a book worth reading but it's much longer than it needs to be. The stories are the main part of the book and they do give you a very emotional sense of how difficult health care decisions can be, but the most useful part of the book is in between all the stories. The discussion of how we make our own health care decisions, how the medical establishment is structured to support or discard those decisions, and how complex the decisions become when a patient is faced with a life threatening ...more
3.5 stars. This book is a well-done popular introduction to medical decision making (the field I'm working in for my dissertation). The writing isn't quite as fluid or lively as Groopman's usual, perhaps because of the addition of a coauthor. The patient stories are also not quite as compelling. But the scientific explanations (of both medicine and psychology), and written in a way that I think would be very accessible to lay readers—though, admittedly, it's a bit hard to tell as I have fairly ...more
Oct 23, 2011 Pam rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Very interesting book about why people make the medical decisions they do. The medical establishment is trying to set standards for treatment - such as you should take a statin if your cholesterol is over a certain point - without taking into consideration the individual needs/desires of the patient. The key, like in just about everything else in this world, is communication. Unfortunately, this is very hard given the fact that our medical care is being driven by money. If people - doctors and ...more
May 10, 2016 Sue rated it liked it
Shelves: medicine
I purchased this book in the hope that it would help me make a decision about an elective surgery I was considering. (And no, it wasn't cosmetic surgery. I still look just the same afterwards as I did before!) It wasn't as helpful in that regard as I had imagined, but it did have some interesting things to say about personal bias when sorting through medical choices. It also brought home the fact that, however scientifically advanced modern medicine has become, it is still an inexact science ...more
Megan Ross
Oct 07, 2012 Megan Ross rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Your medical mind" was a really good book, There were all these medical facts that i've never heard of before. I think the authors' purpose of writing this book was to give us facts about medical advice that you probably won't hear from your next checkup. the theme of this book was "Self Help" Since the reader is getting medical advice. As for the style, "Narration" was used since the book had events that actually happened. I liked the fact that I learned that a more expensive procedure is only ...more
Feb 24, 2013 Janice rated it really liked it
These two physicians discuss the ways patients, and doctors, too, make medical decisions. Some want the most aggressive, latest technology, hit it with everything you've got, approach. Others take a more "minimalist" approach--let the body heal itself, as much as possible, take the least amount of medication possible, do only those tests that are absolutely necessary. The authors discuss scenarios of various patients, how and why they made decisions, and the outcomes. This made for a very ...more
Jul 02, 2016 Ron rated it really liked it
This book promises to help decide which medical path to take when dealing with illness. I don't believe I got that. Even though the main premise was missing, I feel this is a very worthwhile book to read. I gained a well rounded knowledge into the decision making process. I was given insight into what to analyse when making medical treatment decisions. Instead of giving me a clear path towards my healthcare, it probably made decisions more confusing. But, this is good. The book delved into the ...more
Nov 29, 2011 Sheri rated it really liked it
A pretty quick read by two doctors who examine how people made medical decisions and the factors that affect patients' choices. Groopman is already well known for his prior book "How Doctors Think." Well this is essentially "How Patients Think." Fascinating reading. It will definitely cause me to be more mindful of how I approach these issues in the future. He uses particular diseases/conditions as the jumping off point for each chapter. Among them are cholesterol (and the decision whether to ...more
Sep 22, 2011 Amanda rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I think this book did a great job of interviewing people in various stages of medical decision-making and using their choices to show the psychology behind it. The book shows you how doctors or drug companies can sometimes push their own agenda regardless of your feelings as well as the hard decisions people make to sometimes go against what their ailing loved one wants. If you ever need to receive treatment for anything in the future, this book will help you realize the psychological aspect of ...more
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