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

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  538 ratings  ·  96 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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3.83  · 
Rating details
 ·  538 ratings  ·  96 reviews

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Barbara (The Bibliophage)
I found Jerome Groopman’s book How Doctors Think helpful and enlightening. So when I happened across Your Medical Mind: How to Decide What is Right for You, written by Groopman and his wife Pamela Hartzband (both are MDs) I grabbed it right up. In truth, I also chose it because I have an important medical decision to make regarding surgery. I was hoping Groopman and Hartzband would again enlighten me.

The structure of the book follows from the least of the difficult medical decisions we may need
Susan Daly
Aug 01, 2012 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
India Clamp
Sep 21, 2016 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
Aug 24, 2012 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 j ...more
Apr 29, 2012 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
Ann G.
Nov 14, 2011 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 importantly ...more
Oct 25, 2014 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
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
Nov 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating and very thought provoking.

As a retired physician (oncologist) , who is now on the receiving end of medical care, I found this book to be very thought provoking and valuable. Being on the physician side of making decisions is very different from now being on the patient's side of the struggle. There really are many times no easy or certain answers. Drs and patients must recognize and understand the "uncertainties" that are ever present in modern medicine.
Gary Meade
Apr 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
A riveting read of case studies on how different people choose treatments. Especially relevant when you have a health condition (or conditions) and feel unsure as to the right way to go.
Jan 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: healthcare
Your Medical Mind isn't the kind of book I would have picked up 4 to 5 years ago, and most definitely not when it was first published 8 years ago in 2011. But having entered that season of life when one becomes acutely aware of one's mortality and that the days of one's peak physical condition are long past, this is an important read. If you're not medically trained and should you fall sick, how might you decide what treatment option is the best for you? How to navigate the masses of (often conf ...more
Lone Wong
Aug 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading this book makes me realized we really need to take care of our health since young. There are a lot of cases about cancer treatment and medicine topics arise on the internet for many years. People and experts have been debating the pro and the cons of health supplement and medicine consumption for people. And there are many controversial topics about the health care industry manufacturer's products whether or not, are they genuinely been contributing for the benefit of the people's health ...more
Jan 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow. This well written book introduced the various medical decision making faces by patients every day. There is:

1. Whether to take a statin, or a blood thinner, with potential benefits and side effects.
2: What treatment to choose for prostate cancer: traditional surgery, robotic surgery, radiotherapy or nothing. Given a BRCA1 mutation, should the patient go and have the operation to remove the breadth and ovaries.
3. End of life problems: how to decide whether ‘heroic measures’ should be under
Sep 21, 2011 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
Ann Heuer
Apr 26, 2018 rated it liked it
I agree with other reviews of this book- content is good but doesn’t exactly match the title. The title should be “The Medical Mind: How Patients Make Medical Decisions and How Doctors Can Respond”. I enjoyed learning how people might have a naturalistic or technology orientation, might be doubters or believers, minimalists or maximizers. However, I do think the book paints a poor picture of medical research- “the numbers”- and professional guidelines that are enforced by the government. The med ...more
Matt Young
Apr 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Quick read with some worthwhile points.

One thing I want to remember from this book is the authors' discussion about the different mindsets of patients with regards to their medical decision-making. Minimalist vs maximalist, believer vs doubter, and naturalist vs technologist. Helping patients assign these labels to themselves might be useful in helping them decide what treatments are right for them.

As for me, I am a minimalist, doubter, naturalist. We'll see if that changes at all over the cou
Kitty Davis
Nov 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Helpful and Informative

A more wide ranging and quick to read book than I expected. Loved the premise that we ought to have health care that respects our individuality rather than completely out come based, system based, economic based, system based care. Also glad it devoted time to routine choices, statins, BP management not only the dramatic cancer, end of life choices. Will not hesitate to recommend.
Dec 01, 2016 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.
Jan 16, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, nonfiction
Quick review: more anecdotal stories than I was expecting; felt at times the stories were repetitive; some good information
Jim Gleason
Oct 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: medical, self-help
husband and wife doctors share essential tools for making medical decisions, cutting through the health care system, the media and gaps in our own reasoning
Jun 18, 2016 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
Nancy Kennedy
Feb 03, 2012 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 09, 2011 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
Aug 17, 2013 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
Oct 06, 2011 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 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 pa ...more
Rhonda Sue
Jul 11, 2015 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 mislea ...more
Oct 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I listened to the audiobook version of this book while commuting to and from work. That makes it difficult to pay attention to all the details.

Having said that, this book helped me to think about my own approach to solving medical problems, and about why I sometimes follow doctor's orders and sometimes get another opinion, or search for more natural alternatives.

I can see how my "medical mind" has changed a bit over the years, and this book has helped me to see why.

It also has helped me to think
Peter Herrmann
Aug 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Although I rated this 5-stars, it's usefulness to me (or to anybody?) is probably less than 1-star. Well researched, thorough, replete with case studies and statistics; nevertheless: when my medical crisis comes (it almost inevitably will, unless I get run over by the proverbial bus) this book will be useless - because I'll have forgotten most of it. I'll no doubt - when the time comes - do what my instincts tell me to ... and until I live that eventuality, I can't predict what they are. This is ...more
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“also risks of taking statins. To be sure, seeing a person in front of you has a greater impact than hearing about side effects secondhand. But even secondhand stories affect the way people think. We have also observed in” 1 likes
“suffered muscle pain, the most common side effect of statins, or someone else who developed liver toxicity and gastrointestinal upset, which are less common” 0 likes
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