by Atul Gawande
For years when looking for a book to read (or now to listen to) it has always been the epic fantasy and sci-fi novels that I have reached for. This book had been recommended to me so many times however, including by leaders and colleagues in our Next Gen GP programme, that I thought I would give it a try.
In this book Atul Gawande, a world-renowned American author and surgeon, explores what it means to be mortal in the 21st century. We are taken on his journey of facing our mortality, from the difficulties of aging to what it means to care, and finally to facing our ends. Challenging the beliefs we have as professionals and patients about the aims of healthcare.
This book is a sensitive and enlightening exploration of the trials that we face in healthcare in looking after an aging population, challenging many of the thoughts and practices that are commonplace. The reminder that in our attempt to do good and extend life, we can in fact cause harm and distress is a humbling one. Even when we feel that we are aware of these difficulties it is still a fascinatingly complex situation to navigate. Atul Gawande’s touching stories of his own experiences with his father’s illness and end of life expose and explore many of the anxieties and struggles that clinicians go through. The theme of personal experience and narrative runs through every part of this book. There is humour and inspiration from his encounters with the pioneers of elderly community care, and their paradigm breaking approaches to what people want vs what we think that they need - including the surprising success of filling a care home with hundreds of live animals! This humour is contrasted with the sensitive and heartfelt exploration of what the true consequences are of when we get it wrong, and the peace and life (and for that matter death) changing impact that can be had when we get it right.
Reading this book has already changed my practice, encouraging me to have the difficult conversations with families and relatives earlier, so that in their life they can be brought into the discussion of their wishes and their mortality. Moreover, it has changed the way that I have these conversations, considering what really is important to people is a very personal thing. As Gawande puts it “Our ultimate goal, after all, is not a good death but a good life to the very end.”
Finally, it has also changed my outlook on relationships with my family and loved ones. It has helped me realise that whilst care for others is at the heart of what we do we need to attend to ourselves and families as well, as – at some point – we all have to confront what it means to be mortal.
James Waldron, GP and Nottingham Next Gen GP Leader
by Jake Knapp
A friend and colleague recently asked a group for ideas and advice on how she could support her practice in their ambitions to improve patient access as they were planning to hire in an external organisation to help. Lots of ideas were suggested and, in the middle of the discussion, this book popped back into my mind. Written by 3 designers from Google Ventures, the venture capital branch of the company, it documents an intensive 5 day 'sprint' process to develop and test new ideas in an organisation.
Now, I know most general practices and healthcare organisations don't have that a whole week to spend on developing and testing ideas for improvement... but what stuck with me was the realisation that - unlike most of my prior experiences trying to change things in my workplace - quality improvement doesn't have to take a long time. Although the time frames suggested in this book are a thing of fantasy for most teams there are still loads of ideas that can be taken and used individually as part of a (slower) QI process. Suggestions for rapidly understanding processes and problems, for developing creative ideas and consensus in decision making, and for quickly prototyping changes to get rapid evidence of impact (or lack thereof). This book won't be for everyone, but for those interested in refining Quality Improvement processes it might be worth a look.
Will Owen, Next Gen GP
The Power of Habit
by By Charles Duhigg
I've read this book twice in recent years, and both times have found ways to break some bad habits and start some good ones! Duhigg is responsible for me being able to drag myself out of bed at 5am in winter for a run- something I spent years trying to get into the habit of doing!
He presents the science behind habit formation in an easy-to-read way, and is optimistic about our ability to break them: “Once you understand that habits can change,” he concludes, “you have the freedom — and the responsibility — to remake them.”
He makes his case by presenting fascinating stories and case histories. You'll learn how and why Target can tell which of its female customers are pregnant before they tell anyone; how Rick Warren went from a depressed minister of a small congregation to the leader of one of the biggest megachurches in the world; and why Rosa Parks’s refusal to give up her seat started a movement when similar refusals by others had not.
I won't spoil it for you....needless to say the "Power of Habit" is a fascinating read, and a permanent fixture on my bookshelf to return to when I find those bad habits creeping back in.
Nish Manek, Next Gen GP
by Hilary Cottam
This inspiring book is based on a social activist’s series of experiments giving people the control to improve their own lives. At the heart of this way of working is human connection. Upending the current crisis of managing scarcity, we see instead that our capacity for building relationships to make sustainable, holistic change are abundant. Her research is painstaking and her practical examples are inspiring, casting a compelling vision for doing things differently. Definitely worth a read!
Nish Manek, Next Gen GP
Mindset: Changing The Way You think To Fulfil Your Potential
by Carol Dweck
A thought-provoking journey through a lifetime of work into this fascinating subject. A greater understanding of the fixed and the growth mindsets is definitely going to help me both in my consultations and within my leadership roles.
Oblige your growth mindset for a few hundred pages and read this excellent book.
Ed Klaber, Next Gen GP Jersey
New Power: Why outsiders are winning, institutions are failing, and how the rest of us can keep up in the age of mass participation
by Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms
Old power works like a currency. It is held by few. Once gained, it is jealously guarded, and the powerful have a substantial store of it to spend. It is closed, inaccessible, and leader-driven. It downloads, and it captures.
New power operates differently, like a current. It is made by many. It is open, participatory, and peer-driven. It uploads, and it distributes. Like water or electricity, it’s most forceful when it surges. The goal with new power is not to hoard it but to channel it.
This is a great book that not only explains how the dynamics of power are changing, but also provides the tools - and, importantly, the confidence - to harness those changes to spread our ideas. Drawing on examples from business, politics, popular culture and social justice, as well as case studies of organisations like LEGO and TED, New Power is a fascinating, easy-to-read book that really captures the essence of Next Gen GP!
Nish Manek, Next Gen GP Cambridge
Pig Wrestling: The Brilliantly Simple Way to Solve Any Problem… and Create the Change You Need
by Pete Lindsay
Pig wrestling is another book written as a simple narrative but with some really key points underlying.
From a personal experience it helped me look at problems in different ways, particularly reframing how I “see” the problem. It also helps you to understand how to find the strengths in the challenge you face from the resources present - something that I’ve not done before.
It’s helped me develop trust and bottom out some of the challenges I’ve faced in my developing primary care network (particularly around people and patterns of behaviour).
Frames, sponges, bungee cords, gold in the mud and crystal balls - have a read and you’ll see what I mean!
Tim Cooper Next Gen GP Wessex
The Health Gap
by Michael Marmot
Written from a public health and health economics point of view, this raised an interesting perspective of the effects of not only absolute but relative deprivation on health outcomes, something I think we all have a vague idea of but I was surprised by the degree of gradient seen in the different populations discussed and the author's take on improving population health.
It has definitely made me more aware of the issues affecting my patient population and potential differences I can expect on moving to a city practice from my current relatively rural setting.
Jennie Cox, Next Gen GP Bristol
This is Going to Hurt
by Adam Kay
‘This is Going to Hurt’ is a truly hilarious read that I would recommend to all.
For non medics, it gives a glimpse into the true reality of our profession and, for us medics, it gives a realistic narrative of the highs and lows of our profession.
Adam Kay takes the reader on an insightful journey of what our profession entails; he eloquently describes the rollercoaster of emotions we can encounter on a day to day if not minute to minute basis; the complexity of the decisions we make and the true joy that being a doctor can bring. Kay also maturely describes the pain and vulnerability that we doctors can feel when clinical situations go badly.
This book is relatable to all medics on so many levels as we can all align our own experiences with those that Kay so hilariously describes.
An excellent read and hard to put down.
Ami Mukherjee, Next Gen GP London
The Last Lecture
by Randy Pausch with Jeffrey Zaslow
Randy Pausch was a professor of a Computer science, Human Computer interaction and Design at Carnegie Mellon University.
Pausch learned that he had pancreatic cancer in September 2006, and in August 2007, he was given a terminal diagnosis.
He delivered “The Last Lecture” as a way of passing his knowledge and experience to his children which became a popular video on YouTube and a New York Best Seller.
The text is both inspiring and powerful. Randy talks about achieving his childhood dreams and how he goes about it from a very young age- attributing to him winning the parent lottery(letting him use his imagination and draw and paint on walls of his room) and coach Graham for pushing him hard.
Randy admits to being arrogant and self possessed and how people around him
Who really cared about him helped him realise this so that it doesn’t limit his achievements.
Randy goes on to talk about his adventure and lessons learned and enabling the dreams of others.
He tells life stories that illustrate such themes as dreaming big, hard work, perseverance, sacrifice, self-confidence, modesty, courage, a positive outlook, and dealing with adversity. Randy talks about the importance of Brick Walls in our life
The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out; the brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. The brick walls are there to stop the people who don't want it badly enough. They are there to stop the other people!
The book is filled with humour, bite sizes great pieces of advice which resonated a lot with what I have heard from the leaders during the Next Generation programme.
The video of his speech is available on https://www.cmu.edu/randyslecture/
Give it a watch- there’s a clip of him doing push ups in front of the audience to prove how healthy he feels in himself!!
This is the second time I’m reading this book and for the life of me I couldn’t remember who recommended this book.
So I’m making a pact with myself today on the 2 year anniversary of NextGeneration GP
I’m going to write the name of the person who recommended it on the inside cover( I still love the feel of hard copies) so that when I open the book it doesn’t just remind me how great the book is but instantly connects me to the person who recommended it and makes me reach out to
Them with gratitude...
Why don’t you try it as well!!
Sonali Kinra, Next Gen GP Nottingam
by Michelle Obama
So it turns out there’s a reason why this is the best selling book of 2018 despite only being released last month, and that is that it’s awesome!
Obama has a way of writing that makes her message clear, insightful and life-affirming all at once. I love the tripartite way in which she sections the book so that you understand how she first became who she is, then a wife and now a public figure. Like her husband in ‘Dreams of my father’ which I’ve also read, she is able to cogently explain how race and gender colours every action, so that she felt she was held to a different (higher) standard.
For anyone who has ever wondered if s/he is enough - read this.
Parting fact: Michelle has now been voted the most admired woman in the world (yet still manages to suffer from imposter syndrome)!
Devon Kennard, Next Gen GP London
Our Iceberg is Melting: Changing and succeeding under any circumstances
by John Kotter and Holger Rathgeber
I love this book as it’s a quick, charming fable (reading time average is under an hour) from the Harvard Business School leadership and change management guru, John Kotter. It is a book that I have read and gone back to lots of times:
Being involved in change, and leading it, can be challenging: however Kotter uses this fable about a penguin colony living in Antarctica to help us. It brings his 8 step process for leading change theory to life.
I find this book useful as a way to help me reflect on where I need to concentrate my efforts and to reassure myself that the personalities that play out in different teams are all normal human behaviour- it brings me reassurance, humour and guidance every time I read it. Each time I can find myself thinking which penguin I am/which penguin others are...in this week when the NHS Long Term Plan is out it may be useful - as we know lots of change needs to happen and the direction is good - but the implementation feels tough - this book brings some leadership theory to help!
“Fables can be fun...but the power of the penguin story lies in helping you act smarter”
Which penguin can you relate to?
Hannah Morgan, Next Gen GP Wessex
The Secret Thoughts Of Successful Women
by Valerie Young
"It's only because they like me. I was in the right place at the right time. I just work harder than the others. I don't deserve this. It's just a matter of time before I am found out. Someone must have made a terrible mistake."
Chances are this internal monologue sounds all too familiar. And you're not alone.
Although I've been aware of the impostor syndrome for years, after reading this I not only understand the history and context of it so much better, but believe this book could inspire fellow sufferers to take some action. Just the act of reading it has already helped me, and it has some practical exercises and questions that I think I can use going forwards. I found myself highlighting so many pages in agreement...I highly recommend it for any women who ever find themselves feeling like a fraud. And men too!
“Everyone loses when you play small,” she writes. “There are people out there this very minute who want and deserve to benefit from your full range of knowledge, abilities, and skills.”
Nish Manek, Next Gen GP Cambridgeshire