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The Must-Read Medicine Books: Essential Literature for Every Medical Student

  • By Kandra Digital Team
  • •  Jul 16, 2023


In order to become a qualified medical professional, one must not only complete strenuous academic coursework and undergo extensive clinical training, but one must also make a permanent commitment to learning new things and remaining current in the medical field. Reading is an excellent approach to broaden one's knowledge and acquire insightful new perspectives. In this article, we will discuss a compiled list of required reading for all medical students, including recommended literature in the field of medicine. These books cover a wide range of subjects, from medical ethics and patient care to anatomy and physiology. As a result, they offer a well-rounded education and have the potential to mold the mentality of future medical professionals.

The author Henry Gray's "Gray's Anatomy":

The comprehensive coverage of human anatomy that "Gray's Anatomy" offers makes it one of the most important works in the history of medical writing. This thorough reference book is a wonderful resource that is utilized all throughout the many stages of medical school as well as clinical practice. It contains precise drawings and explanations of anatomical components.

Berne and Levy's "Principles of Physiology" outlines the following:

The study of human physiology is essential to gaining an understanding of both the typical processes carried out by the body as well as the factors that contribute to the development of disease. The book "Principles of Physiology" provides medical students with a strong foundation by offering straightforward explanations of physiological processes and how they are integrated together.

"Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine": "Harrison's Principles"

"Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine" is a comprehensive text that covers a wide range of medical topics and is considered a standard text for both medical students and working professionals. This comprehensive textbook covers a wide variety of medical subspecialties, discussing the pathophysiology, diagnosis, and therapy choices for a number of different disorders.

Written by Samuel Shem and titled "The House of God":

Although the acquisition of knowledge is the primary focus of medical education, it is absolutely necessary to also investigate the more interpersonal aspects of medicine. The fictional novel "The House of God" provides a sarcastic yet informative account of the obstacles faced by medical interns. It sheds light on the ethical dilemmas and emotional experiences that are met in a hospital setting. "The House of God" was written by William Gibson.

Rebecca Skloot's book "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks": "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks"

Henrietta Lacks, whose cells were utilized for scientific research without her knowledge or consent, is the subject of this enthralling narrative, which examines what happened to her and why. The book "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" addresses ethical problems about patient rights, medical consent, and the impact of medical advancements on individual people and their families.

The following is an excerpt from "Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End" by Atul Gawande:

Atul Gawande, a well-known surgeon, looks into the touchy subject of end-of-life care in his enlightening and thought-provoking book, "Being Mortal." The documentary "Being Mortal" delves into the difficulties that both patients and doctors encounter when coming to terms with their own mortality. The film stresses the significance of patient autonomy, quality of life, and candid dialogues regarding end-of-life options.

Author Siddhartha Mukherjee's "The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer":

Understanding cancer's origins, its biology, and the various treatment options available is essential for aspiring medical professionals, given the prevalence of the disease around the globe. The book "The Emperor of All Maladies" provides a detailed overview of the development and progression of cancer over time, as well as insights into the difficulties associated with cancer diagnosis and treatment.

The following is an excerpt from Atul Gawande's book "Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science":

Atul Gawande muses on the ambiguities and difficulties of medical practice in this collection of essays that he has compiled. The film "Complications" sheds light on the harsh realities of the medical field, such as the possibility of making errors, the difficulties associated with making decisions, and the significance of being committed to lifelong education and self-improvement.

The following is an excerpt from Atul Gawande's book "The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right":

The impact that checklists have on the health of patients and the results of medical procedures, while seemingly inconsequential, can be substantial. Atul Gawande analyzes the efficacy of checklists in decreasing errors, improving communication, and enhancing teamwork in his book "The Checklist Manifesto," which provides significant insights for medical students and professionals.

The following excerpt is from "When Breath Becomes Air" by Paul Kalanithi:

After being given a terminal cancer diagnosis, neurosurgeon Paul Kalanithi embarks on an emotional journey to come to terms with his own death, which is chronicled in this touching memoir. The book "When Breath Becomes Air" presents significant musings on the purpose of life, the quest of health, and the delicate balance that must be maintained between scientific inquiry and compassionate action.


As a result of the expansive nature of the medical field, lifelong education is an essential component of a successful career in the healthcare industry. The works that were just described present a wide variety of viewpoints, encompassing not only fundamental medical information but also ethical considerations, patient experiences, and personal views. Medical students can broaden their understanding of medicine beyond what is taught in the classroom by digging into these essential medical books, which will also help them develop empathy for patients and discover insights that will affect their future clinical practice. It is important to keep in mind that becoming an expert physician is a process that takes a lifetime, and the books that are included here might serve as helpful guides along the route.

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