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The Anatomy of Hope: How People Prevail in the Face of Illness
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The Anatomy of Hope: How People Prevail in the Face of Illness

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  1,691 ratings  ·  153 reviews
An inspiring and profoundly enlightening exploration of one doctors discovery of how hope can change
the course of illness

Since the time of the ancient Greeks, human beings have believed that hope is essential to life. Now, in this groundbreaking book, Harvard Medical School professor and New Yorker staff writer Jerome Groopman shows us why.

The search for hope is most
Hardcover, 248 pages
Published December 23rd 2003 by Random House (NY) (first published January 1st 2003)
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really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
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Feb 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
From a patient perspective... as someone who interfaces with multiple doctors on a very regular basis, I was pleased to hear, in this book, that Western medicine is heading in a different, better, direction. A direction that incorporates the mind-body connection and the psychology of illness. A more Eastern approach.

I'm a total fan of hope as a tool to "prevail in the face of illness." I'm entirely sold on the concept. What I felt was lacking in this book, however, was how, exactly, to obtain
Mar 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
First grad school assignment. Check.

Overall, Dr. Groopman hits a point that I want to one day encompass as a provider. While my job of prescribing treatments is what I am going to school for, the idea of sitting at a bedside with nothing left to administer but a friendship morphs into the ultimate medication. At the end of the day, the right to surrender and welcome death belongs to the patient and my opinion as a provider is no longer of value. People more often than not, need acceptance more
Bonnie Brody
Mar 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I've read all of Groopman's previous word and ordered this book from Amazon as soon as I heard it was being released. Groopman writes regularly for 'The New Yorker' about medical issues with the focus on his role as a physician and healer. What is remarkable about Dr. Groopman is that he respects every one of his patients and values their uniqueness.

This book explores the role of hope in fighting disease and healing. It discusses the biochemical changes related to hope and the physician's role
Feb 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone with severe, chronic, or terminal illness (or a loved one with the same)
Definitely *not* one of those rah rah, mind over matter self help pseudoscience books, The Anatomy of Hope is a serious scientific survey of research into how expectations affect our ability to overcome injury and illness. Peppered throughout with intimate tales of patients' personal journeys including the author's own struggle with debilitating back pain it's an eminently readable and quite touching book. ...more
Nov 16, 2018 rated it liked it
It was okay but I don't think lived up to the subtitle.
Apr 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Hope may be my favorite word. There is so much more power in it then we give it credit.
Jan 16, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction, january
I suppose I started reading this because I've become interested in the connection between our emotional and mental well-being and our physical well-being. I was hoping for some heavy-hitting insights here. But I felt it was mostly profiles of cancer patients and then some very technical scientific research. There was really no elegant tie-together of the two parts of the book.

As someone who recently underwent her own (comparatively minor) health crisis, I can clearly see how crucial hope is to
Apr 10, 2011 rated it liked it
I liked this book pretty well - the things I wanted to hear/learn more about (HOW people prevail in the face of illness) were somewhat limited in scope.

Dr. Groopman is a hematologist/oncologist. So he deals mostly with cancer and HIV, that kind of thing. He discusses the differences he saw in outcomes and experiences according to the different degrees of hope each patient had. He also shared how some patients went from having little hope, to having more hope for a positive outcome. I enjoyed
Mar 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: medical
"While attending physicians... instructed us about manifestations of diseases and showed us the operative techniques to remedy them, the subjects of hope and despair were not part of our curriculum. Conversations like the one between Dr. Foster and Esther occurred behind closed doors. Students and interns and residents were not privy to the words a doctor used to change a patient's mind and heart...I wish I had learned what Dr. Foster told her and how he was able to break through. He could have ...more
Jul 17, 2007 rated it it was amazing
This is the first Jerome Groopman book I read, and it made me realize that everyone approaches illness differently, and those differences can affect our relationship with doctors and with disease itself. The consideration Jerome Groopman has put into thinking about these relationships is what I think makes him such a compelling advocate for good health care on the individual level. His insight is healpful for anyone, no matter what side of the doctor-patient relationship you are on, but ...more
Kat Ts
Oct 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The first half of the first chapter is slow, but after that I couldnt put it down. Every story was touching, gripping, and meaningful. The overall thesis on the nature and capacity of hope in the face of debilitating disease is an incredibly important one for both doctors and patients. Doctors carry enormous responsibility, even before they have attained the wisdom to fulfill it completely, if such a goal is possible. They must learn through experience treating patients late at night, through ...more
Mary Karam
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
I remember I ended up with this book while I was looking for a chemical breakdown of "hope", to understand how the human body generate hope or maybe the other way around; how it responds to it, But what I found was far more appreciable.
This book is mainly composed of Dr. Groopman's experiences as a physician, and partly of his quest for the biology of hope from a scientific presepctive. His field, being an oncologist-hematologist, had invited him to tackle perhaps the most essential emotion to
James Bell
Emotion is not Reductionism

Retired Family Physician: I throughly enjoyed the book in the beginning. This is when the author was describing the patients during his early career. The book changed for me and became reductionist and over bearing when he describes his back pain and how he worked to overcome. He seems to not realize that terminal illnesses are different from his chronic pain. His success then triggered a search for what is hope.

This is where the book becomes hopelessly entangled in
Apr 04, 2020 rated it it was ok
The title sounded so promising. This book was 80% the healthcare/biomedicine of patient cases, 15% hope-adjacent things (e.g., placebo effect, stress responses), and 5% pondering on hope, none of which really helped me figure out how to help patients or myself be hopeful.

I don't know -- I guess it's not an unfamiliar progression in books like this: 1) i overemphasized hope at the expense of a more realistic prognosis and there was a fatal outcome and the family was mad 2) i overemphasized the
Mar 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
A little slow, and a bit depressing at first. But then, I think I started to understand how the story was going to go. Dr. Groopman describes several cases that he was involved with, and he describes the patient that those cases were about, and then he sort of just moves onto the next case. There are not a lot of conclusions that are drawn, mostly because I dont think you CAN draw any conclusions. Every case is different, every patient is different, everyones reactions are different, and will be ...more
Joanne Mcleod
Dec 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I found Dr. Groopman's search to define hope and it's power in healing very inspiring and filled with stories of hope. As a physician, I agree with his concluding sentences: "I see hope as the very heart of healing. For those who have hope, it may help some to live longer, and it will help all to live better."
Jan 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
A thought-provoking collection of anecdotes and research summaries on the concept of hope in oncology and other patients. Tips for medical professionals were to find a middle ground between conveying blind optimism and harsh statistics when speaking with patients, be a friend, alleviate fatigue, provide opportunities for patients peer-to-peer interaction, and believe in hope yourself. ...more
Bekah Warren
Jul 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Thoughtful and thought-provoking. Much of the book is composed of stories about the author and patients, with a few chapters toward the end exploring scientific theories about hope and healing. An interesting and helpful read for someone who is healing or is friends with a healing person.
Sophie Rayton
Feb 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
"Does exactly what it says on the tin" :-)

I felt so hopeful after reading this. I also considered the power of the mind and what limiting beliefs I'm holding to that are not serving me. Very powerful and I'm glad this book came to me when it did.
Lenschen Greyling
Jun 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Such a brilliant scientific account of the power of the mind-body connection so many philosophies emphasize. For me the part that stood out the most was the emphasis placed on the fact that we are not prisoners of our DNA. You have the right to hope and by extension, change your outcome. ...more
Leanne Schneider
Sep 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I recommend this book to everyone facing terminal or chronic illness. And I recommend it to their families and caregivers as well. Also, to anyone entering into the health care field, this would be an important and relevant book.
May 26, 2020 added it
Shelves: non-fiction
Hope has been an essential part of human life. Harvard medical professor Jerome Groopman explains how hope can change the course of an illness. This book offers a new way of thinking about hope and how it is critical to life.
Jan 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great read, especially the parts about the individual patients. The last part talks about the effect of the mind on the body and/or the body on the mind and is fascinating as well.
Aug 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
So "hopeful". Love the science and that positivity is being studied.
Rose Winters
Jan 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Specific chapters super interesting
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this so much I read it over again. Probably not for someone uninterested in medicine though.
Andy Plonka
Aug 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: src
Should be required reading for someone with severe health problems.
Ashley Rennie
Dec 05, 2019 rated it liked it
I thought his ideas on what it means to have hope were very interesting. He made great points and gave a different perspective than what even I saw, as having hope.
May 14, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
For a well educated scientific man he sure attributes many things to God. Disappointing.
Nov 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
This novel had some really interesting stories about patients with various forms of cancer and some other illnesses. It was enlightening to see the various reactions from people when initially diagnosed and throughout their illness. I was also engaged with the author's own story in regards to delivering diagnoses to patients and how his approach evolved. I remember the stories much more than any cited research. However, this could be a side effect from listening to the audio book. Overall, I ...more
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What's the Name o...: SOLVED. Autobiography of cancer doctor. [s] 4 19 Apr 16, 2019 08:32AM  

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26 likes · 8 comments
“The cerebral processing of that visceral input as a signal of death was accurate. Without the kinds of therapy that had been developed over the decades, this cancer would have been fatal. Hope, then, is constructed not just from rational deliberation, from the conscious weighing of information; it arises as an amalgam of thought and feeling, the feelings created in part by neural input from the organs and tissues.” 4 likes
“Hope is one of our central emotions, but we are often at a loss when asked to define it. Many of us confuse hope with optimism, a prevailing attitude that "things turn out for the best." But hope differs from optimism. Hope does not arise from being told to "Think Positively," or from hearing an overly rosy forecast. Hope, unlike optimism, is rooted in unalloyed reality. Although there is no uniform definition of hope, I found on that seemed to capture what my patients had taught me. Hope is the elevating feeling we experience when we see - in the mind's eye- a path to a better future. Hope acknowledges the significant obstacles and deep pitfalls along that path. True hope has no room for delusion.” 3 likes
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