A timeless collection of advice, operating-room wisdom, and reflections on the practice of medicine, from the “best of the writing surgeons” (Chicago Tribune).
“Richard Selzer does for medicine what Jacques Cousteau does for the sea,” raved The New York Times of this extraordinary collection. “He transports the reader to a world that most of us never see, a world that is vivid and powerful, often overwhelming, occasionally fantastic.”
In this collection of highly candid, insightful, and unexpectedly humorous essays, the erstwhile surgeon turned Yale School of Medicine professor addresses both the brutality and the beauty of a profession in which saving and losing lives is all in a day’s work. A number of these pieces take the form of letters offering counsel to aspiring physicians. Featuring wry and witty observations on matters of life and death, medical ethics, and the awesome responsibilities of being a surgeon, Letters to a Young Doctor should be required reading for all medical students—and anyone interested in the endless miracle that is the human body.
"No one writes about the practice of medicine with Selzer's unique combination of mystery and wonder,” observed the Los Angeles Times, while The New York Times praised Selzer’s “marvelous insight and potent imagery” for making “his tales of surgery and medicine both works of art and splendid tools of instruction.”
Richard Selzer is a former surgeon and Yale School of Medicine professor. He has received many awards for his writing, including a National Magazine Award, a Pushcart Prize, and a Guggenheim fellowship. He is the author of several collections of stories and essays as well as a memoir. He lives in New Haven, Connecticut.