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15 Books for Medical School Applicants

I am frequently asked how to prepare for medical school interviews. As many schools are moving to the multiple mini interview (MMI) format, a lot of interviewing well involves thinking on your feet and efficiently articulating your perspective. One of the best ways to prepare for medical school interviews, (and in fact a career in medicine), is to read. The more you have read and thought about major issues in medicine (healthcare reform, end-of-life, medical mistakes, cultural sensitivity, gender identity, etc.) the better you will be able to intelligently discuss them in interviews. To help current and future applicants prepare, I thought I would share some of my favorite books about medicine with ProspectiveDoctor readers. Here is a list of my 15 books for medical school applicants:

  1. Better by Atul Gawande
  2. Complications by Atul Gawande
  3. Being Mortal by Atul Gawande
  4. Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder
  5. The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee
  6. How We Do Harm by Otis Brawley
  7. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
  8. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
  9. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman
  10. The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy
  11. Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks
  12. The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks
  13. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly: A Memoir of Life in Death by Jean-Dominique Bauby
  14. Mortality by Christopher Hitchens
  15. Hippocrates’ Shadow by David Newman

If you have other books about medicine that you would like to recommend to ProspectiveDoctor, please e-mail me at [email protected]

Happy reading, everyone!

|| Read more about  The Multiple Mini Interview: What to Know | MMI Pitfalls | Weekly Weigh-In: Med School Interview Tips ||

Emily Singer

Emily is a writer for She graduated from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and is currently a general surgery resident at Ohio State University. She is a graduate of Stanford University, holding Bachelor’s degrees in Economics and Russian Languages and Literature. After graduating in 2009, Emily worked as a research analyst at a health policy consulting firm and a research scientist studying green products chemistry at a San Francisco-based startup. Emily’s interests include health policy, medical education, and global health.

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