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If your browser did not deliver you directly to the book you sought, books lower on this page include:

The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail — but Some Don't by Nate Silver

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers By Mary Roach

Areopagitica by John Milton (1644)

15 Documents and Speeches That Built America

Middlemarch, by George Eliot

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The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail — but Some Don't  by Nate Silver

Links to Amazon

Chapter titles like: "A climate of healthy skepticism" and "What you don't know can hurt you" contain important perspectives for patients.

"Most of our strengths and weaknesses as a nation - our ingenuity and our industriousness, or arrogance and our impatience - stem from our unshakable belief in the idea that we choose our own course." But lacking a proper theory for how terrorists behave we were blind to the data and did not see September 11 or Pearl Harbor coming. Or the recent global financial crisis. "Our naive trust in models, and our failure to realize how fragile they were to our choice of assumptions, yielded disastrous results."

It yields disastrous results for patients too. Both patients and providers should have less faith and more wariness about medicine.

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Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers  By Mary Roach, available in paperback, audio, and Kindle

Links to Amazon

It is not as though cadavers are not used at all anymore in medicine. For instance, there is this from Roach's entertaining book: "The surgeons are already at work, leaning kiss-close over their specimens and glancing up at video monitors mounted above each work station. . . 'Elevate the skin in a subcutaneous plane from lateral to medial,' intones the narrator. Obligingly, the surgeons sink scalpels into faces. 'Isolate the brow as a skin island.' . . . Though the surgeons clearly do not relish dissecting dead people's heads, they just as clearly value the opportunity to practice and explore on someone who isn't going to wake up. . . "

Autopsies still are used for training, but what autopsies are not used for is determining which patients died unnecessarily and who and what caused that, information that could cure many of the dangers in medicine, save lives, and help patients find safety.

More amusing aspects of the book are covered on Amazon at the links above.

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Areopagitica  by John Milton in 1644

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(free Kindle version available


This is one of the most influential tracts in history. It is a defense of the freedom of speech and expression. It was written as a speech to be presented to the Parliament of England, but it was distributed as a pamphlet, which was illegal at the time. Authors had to be licensed and censors had to approve of the text according to the Licensing Order of 1643.

Another 50 years passed before Parliament loosened up and stopped this censorship. However, the influence of this tract remained. It even influenced the United States Constitution. The prohibition of prior restraint, or prepublication censorship, was from Milton's tract.

Perhaps someday in the distant future injured patients will be able to speak about what was done to them in medicine without the threat of lawsuits being a prior restraint.

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15 Documents and Speeches That Built America  listed below, all for $.99 for your Kindle. Shouldn't everyone have this?

Links are to Amazon


1. 1215 - The Magna Carta
2. 1606 - The First Virginia Charter
3. 1620 - The Mayflower Compact
4. 1676 - The First Thanksgiving Proclamation
5. 1765 - Resolutions of the Stamp Act
6. 1775 - Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death
7. 1776 - Declaration of Independence
8. 1777 - Articles of Confederation
9. 1783 - The Paris Peace Treaty of 1783
10. 1787 - The Constitution of the United States of America and the Amendments
11. 1796 - George Washington's Farewell Address
12. 1823 - The Monroe Doctrine
13. 1862 - The Emancipation Proclamation
14. 1863 - The Gettysburg Address
15. 1941 - The Four Freedoms

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Middlemarch  by George Eliot

Links to Amazon

This is a masterpiece of English fiction from the late 1800s. Through intertwining story lines it covers issues like the status of women, religion, hypocrisy, political reform, education, marriage issues, and such well enough that it still is quoted today, as it is on this site on the Home Page Addendum.






"It is the good fortune of many to live distant from the scene of sorrow; the evil is not sufficiently brought to their doors to make them feel. . ."






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Stendahl was the 19th century French writer who famously said that he was a traveler walking down the road with a pack on his back. Hanging on his pack was a small mirror. You walk up behind him, happen to see the road in his mirror, and blame him for the condition of the road.
He was, of course, explaining the problem with criticizing someone for what they've written when all they've done is describe reality.



Index of Patient Safety Books