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Brain Surgeon: A Doctor's Inspiring Encounters with Mortality and Miracles

4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  255 ratings  ·  42 reviews
Welcome to tiger country: the treacherous territory where a single wrong move by a brain surgeon can devastate-or end-a patient's life. This is the terrain world-renowned neurosurgeon Keith Black, MD, enters every day to produce virtual medical miracles. Now, in BRAIN SURGEON, Dr. Black invites readers to shadow his breathtaking journeys into the brain as he battles some o ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published March 25th 2009 by Grand Central Life & Style (first published 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 518)
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Ruth
Jul 25, 2010 Ruth rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: yes
I could not put this book down. Dr. Keith Black, who is truly the hero in this story blew me away allowing me to look through his eyes at the ugly world of cancer, specifically of the brain. My admiration for the people whose life stories he related is boundless. Their courage and trust in the surgical teams and their will to survive, even for just a little more time with loved ones left me in awe (and sometimes in tears).
Dr Black has become a legend in cancer research, serving for ten years at
...more
Di
This is an interesting book written by an accomplished neurosurgeon. Black was able to put a complex topic into simple language in order for the lay public to enjoy. His writing style was clear and concise, which in itself is a difficult thing to do, especially for someone who is usually concerned with writing for the peer-reviewed academic world.

Black not only provides useful scientific information such as that pertaining to various types of brain tumor, biological cells and the brain-blood ba
...more
OOSA
Tiger Country

In this inspiring book, Dr. Keith Black wastes no time distilling the complex, frustrating but often fulfilling role as a doctor. "My patients fight their disease with the greatest dignity and spirit one can ever imagine. Their courage inspires me to focus every drop of energy I have in myself to provide them with the best odds possible to beat this disease, or at least give them as much quality life as our surgeries and medicines will allow. They are my heroes, and I hope one day a
...more
AnnaMay
I am intrigued by modern medicine and found this a fun read. I like his relaxed writing style but how he didn't neglect using correct medical terminology. His explanations were very understandable.

Each chapter kind of introduced a new aspect of brain surgery and used a client/patient as an example. It was fun to see the different walks of life and people he encountered and read their challenges and successes.

I appreciated hearing his history of becoming a brain surgeon. He knows he's one of the
...more
Kelle
Dr. Black is apparently one of the leading brain surgeons in the United States. He writes about the surgery he performs, the lives of the patients, and problems with healthcare (including why so many without health insurance aren't able to have brain surgery). I loved his views on life and the profession as well as his religious bias.
Sarah Milne
Couldn't put it down. Fascinating. Attention friends: if I ever get a brain tumor, take me to Dr. Black. Please.
Ken Roebuck
This is a fascinating read for anyone interested in medicine or desiring inspiration from the remarkable life and career of Dr. Keith Black, a talented African-American physician who struggled against overt discrimination in the segregated south to obtain the necessary education to become a preeminent brain surgeon at a prestigious neurosurgical institution. Dr. Black provides us an intimate glimpse into his erudite world of pioneering brain research and state-of-the-art neurosurgery describing ...more
Betty
Brain Surgeon: a Doctor's Inspiring Encounters with Mortality and Miracles by Keith Black, MD with Arnold Mann

A very impressive book, almost autobiographical in nature, with real life cases and the inspiration arising from them. Dr. Black has let the reader in on how the patients respond to their struggles with optimism and faith, and how much this can affect the outcome of surgery and treatment. His examples and descriptions of the types of tumors, surgeries, and treatments are fascinating. He
...more
Garland
I wanted to like this, and I did like some parts of it. The descriptions of actual surgery were very interesting. But this is not a well-written book. So much of the writing just feels stiff, stilted, unnatural. I wonder if that is a result of the collaboration between the two listed authors. The name-dropping is strange and grating. ("My friend, Johnny Cochran...") Dr. Black is obviously very smart and successful. But his credulity of naturopathy and the evidence for mobile phone radiation cont ...more
Harlan
Like many autobiographies, that of Keith Black, MD is of someone who has done many fascinating things, but writing is not one of those things. Even with an experienced medical journalist by his side, Black has written an occasionally tedious history of his life and his illustrious career in medical research and surgery. This is not to say the book is without value. Some of the walkthroughs of the surgeries were fascinating, and I learned a lot about how that process works. Some (but not all) of ...more
Nancy Rossman
Given how much emphasis is on popular opinion, I do look at these ratings ... not to decide if I'll read it or not, but more out of idle curiosity, and usually after the fact. So I must say it is rare to find a book with a 95% like/approval rating. I find that too often the reviewers give the essence of the book away, or it is critiqued to a gnat's ass. This has resulted in my usually taking recommendations from fellow goodreads buddies or through the book club I belong to.

This book showed up o
...more
Temar
Sep 19, 2009 Temar marked it as to-read
I saw Dr. Black speak at the Ebony Repertory Theatre last night. He was inspiring, informative, enlightening, and humble. I look forward to his future book on his 7 points of success as I don't recall them all. He also reminded us of the importance of parents nurturing their children's interest. You never know where it may lead them as his interest in science was sparked by his request to his mother for the heart from the chicken that she was cutting up for dinner. Both his parents aware of his ...more
Tonya
Quick, easy read. Comical because he writes continually about not being egotistical- while writing a book about how amazing of a surgeon he is. Granted, he IS one of the best surgeons in the world though, so is it really bragging?
Sharon Jenni
One man chooses to use his intellect and God given talents to preseve and prolong the lives of his fellowman struck with brain tumors. Keith Black exemplifies a belief in God in one of the most demanding of careers. His ability to see things spiritual is the factor that allows him to remain humble and to be the best at his chosen profession--neurosurgery. In Dr. Black's own words: "If you want to understand an artist you study his art. I believe that if you want to understand God, you must study ...more
justablondemoment
As I am a survivor of a brain tumor, I was particular interested in reading this book and waited in anticipation for it to come to me through my local library. It wasn't what I hoped it would be. Dry reading for sure. I was after more 'client case' theme reading and this was all about the doctor himself. I didn't find the reading to be arrogant as some found it but bored by statements of fact. Just, a very clinical overview of this doctors profession, how he got there, his studies, etc. It wasn' ...more
Emily
The examples bring to life the complexities that a master surgeon overcomes each time he operates on the brain.
Elizabeth
I REALLY wanted to love this book. It held a special place for me because Dr. Black performed brain surgery on my dad back in 2001. It was an easy read, but I just couldn't bring myself to love it. It's like watching ER when the Doctors "explain" some medical concept to each other, just so that the audience knows what they are talking about...that's pretty much the only thing that this book is, over and over and over.
It was a fine use of my time on a transatlantic flight, but I wouldn't go pushi
...more
Ashley
As an aspiring brain surgeon, this book was a valuable and insightful glimpse into the world of neurosurgery. Dr. Black tells an incredible story of triumph and determination, and it is very clear that he has a strong connection to each and every one of his patients. However, he is not the strongest writer, and his style is an at-times-confusing blend of personal and scientific. Overall, the patient stories were interesting and inspiring, but I could easily walk away from the book and the storie ...more
Loraine
Very deep, well written book on the author's escapades in "tiger country". As a registered nurse I was fascinated with the medical details provided. As a person who has not yet reached her 1 year, post brain surgery milestone, I was awed as they talked about my surgical approach and risks. As a patient who suffers from the same health condition as the person written about in his second to last chapter, I was inspired by both the patient and the surgeon. EXCELLENT BOOK. I have already recommended ...more
Kath
A very interesting and well written book by a supremely intelligent and empathetic neurosurgeon who overcame racism and prejudice. He still retains a humble approach towards his work and obviously cares deeply about his patients. If I had a brain tumour I would want to be seen by him.
Marjanne
It was interesting to read about the author's experiences as a neurosurgeon. It is amazing what science can do. I wish there were more doctors with this doctor's attitude. He seems to feel that it is important to actually try to cure things, rather than just fix them. He also talked a little about the downfall of considering medicine only through the view of cost/benefit perspective (how your insurance company looks at medicine). Overall an interesting read.
Steve Boulanger
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I am a brain tumor survivor & I could relate to a lot of the stories. I also found the descriptions of the medical procedures to be very fascinating. I didn't agree with all of the author's viewpoints, but overall I enjoyed hearing his story. I would recommend this book to anyone who has gone through brain surgery, knows someone who has gone though brain surgery, or who wants to hear some inspiring stories.
Pixismiler
Very good book. I work on the neurology unit at a hospital and can really relate to this book. I learned a lot about glios. It's amazing what the brain can do and the delicate surgeries that must be performed to keep it functioning when a tumor strikes. It's very interesting to hear the analogies that Dr. Black uses to get the reader to understand exactly what he's talking about. Highly recommend this book.
Maria Hernandez
As I read this book, I could not help to have flashback's of the 80's show "Rescue 911"...always a happy ending, no one ever died. Until the last chapter, the experiences in this book do not give the reality of life and death, of success and failure, and the lessons learned. The last chapter still carried on to protect the reader from death and surgical failures...blah blah blah to this book.
Rizzmom
brain tumor rates are on the rise - the real frontier is not surgery but developing better ways to cross the blood/brain barrier - work being done with vaacines. Bottom line from this expert is LIMIT CELL PHONE USE +/or use an ear piece to reduce the radiation exposure - and never let young children use a cell phone.
Mary Lou
It's rare I award 5 stars to non-fiction, but this one deserves it. Aside from a very few technical descriptions of complex operations, the narrative flows beautifully. The author & subject of the book is an amazing person--his approach to treatment and patient care has to be unsurpassed in the medical world.
Meg Marie
A well-written, quick read about the career of neurosurgeon and all around Jedi master Keith Black. I must admit, I got squeamish during the parts where he wrote about actually performing surgeries, but it's an interesting memoir by a very accomplished, driven and yet humble man.
Bernadette
My teenage son asked me to order this book while my mother in law was in the hospital with her 5th brain tumor surgery. When he was done I picked it up and discovered the remarkable story of Keith Black, a brillant brain surgeon. If you enjoy medicine this one is a definite.
Tracy
This doctor's story was inspiring and his quick climb to his career was amazing. He was pretty much born to be a doctor. I didn't love the writing but I loved the great things this doctor is doing in brain surgeries.
Barbara
Most of what I found interesting in this book was discussed at a lecture Dr. Black gave that I attended. I would recommend this book for any aspiring physician at the high school or early college level.
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