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

4.03  ·  Rating Details ·  452 Ratings  ·  52 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
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Published March 25th 2009 by Grand Central Life & Style (first published 2009)
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Apr 15, 2015 Tara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was both fortunate (he is one of the very best neurosurgeons in the world) and unfortunate (I had a tumor) to have met Dr Black while researching/consulting my second treatment for removal of the aforementioned tumor. Although I did not have my surgery with Dr Black(mostly insurance issues), he has the best track record in the world for treatment of malignant tumors (acoustic tumors are mostly not malignant so, it was not imperative that he become my surgeon (which is good because if I had a m ...more
Nancy Rossman
Jun 13, 2012 Nancy Rossman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 22, 2009 OOSA rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 29, 2009 Kelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Rita Ciresi
Oct 25, 2015 Rita Ciresi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is probably one of the most aw-shucks, folksy medical narratives I've read and certainly the most readable one about neurosurgery. If you are interested in learning about the human brain and all the weird stuff that can go wrong with it, start here instead of with something heavy by Dr. Antonio Damasio (although his work also is highly recommended!). I really appreciated Dr. Black's down-to-earth approach to his subject matter and his willingness to speak about medical error and how big ego ...more
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
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
Feb 28, 2012 Harlan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 08, 2010 AnnaMay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sarah Milne
Sep 29, 2011 Sarah Milne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Couldn't put it down. Fascinating. Attention friends: if I ever get a brain tumor, take me to Dr. Black. Please.
Susan Riggs
Nov 20, 2016 Susan Riggs rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

As the grandmother of a gbm who's a Sr in college, I absorbed every word. I also think people should use earphones on their cell phones. I recommend this book to everybody. Stem sells. Surgery. Chemo. Maybe vaccine in near future!!! Exciting stuff
kris saba
Feb 24, 2017 kris saba rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Interesting and inspiring stories

Enjoyed learning about his up bringing and his patient's surgeries. He suggested that dental x-rays and cell phones may cause brain tumors.
If you enjoyed this book you will enjoy Dr. Ben Carson's memoir. You may want to read your books on airplane mode-less radiation.
Nov 04, 2011 Kristin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
Black takes readers into 'Tiger Country', exploring his delicate work of removing brain tumors from many patients who other surgeons would not even consider for the operation. There is no lack of confidence from Black, but it doesn't come over as arrogance, as he explains that he needs to feel extremely confident in his work to keep his patients in an optimistic mindset. He is a realist though, and presents all of the options and hard truths about their condition. Yes, he can do this risky surge ...more
Apr 01, 2009 Betty rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
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
Ken Roebuck
Jul 26, 2011 Ken Roebuck rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 19, 2009 Temar marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Sharon Jenni
Aug 14, 2011 Sharon Jenni rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
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
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
May 02, 2011 Loraine rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 15, 2012 Ashley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
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
Steve Boulanger
Dec 07, 2009 Steve Boulanger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: medical
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.
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.
Jun 14, 2013 Pixismiler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Eddie Lamatao
Feb 07, 2015 Eddie Lamatao rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dr Black expresses his passion for operating on the most incredible piece of matter in the universe. The human brain. Dr Black is innovative in attacking glioblastoma multiformes by developing ingenious stratagems that coalesce the efforts of the research lab and operating room. A true pioneer in neuroscience. Seldom you find person with this much compassion and devotion to his work. Excellent read.
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.
Peter Murray
Aug 14, 2015 Peter Murray rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating look as we accompany the world's best neurosurgeon into his "Tiger Country." It's a treacherous place where disaster lurks in dark corners. The most fascinating thing for me was his very detailed descriptions of the surgeries. Blow-by-blow we navigate the brain and extract tumors that are extraordinarily difficult to extract. Quite an individual, this Dr. Black.
This is an incredible story. Dr. Black's life and work are truly inspiring and I'm very glad I read this book. The actual writing style is a bit 'meh' (probably due to ghostwriting) but one can't be expected to be a brilliant neurosurgeon, researcher *and* writer. I hope Dr. Black continues to contribute so much to cancer research and treatment.
Apr 20, 2009 Rizzmom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jul 29, 2011 Tracy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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