12 Phenomenal Books…Written by Women Doctors

This series was conceived with the number 12 in mind….

An easily attainable number it seemed then.

12 female doctor-writers should not be a tall order

…or so I presumed.


Writing. Jill Friedman on Flickr. https://www.flickr.com/photos/110872721@N02/16259374629

My misguided assumption was quickly dispelled…

I discovered more than 30 excellent books…

All deserving of the accolade phenomenal


By Ed GregoryBusiness Woman Typing On Keyboard With track Pad, CC0, Link


But this left me with a little conundrum!

So many great books….

All worthy of review…

But a series limited to only 12!



Person typing on laptop. Marco Verch on Flickr. https://www.flickr.com/photos/30478819@N08/47346851571


It was easy to remove 4 books from the list…

All previously reviewed on this blog…

Excused, so to say, for being super-phenomenal.



by Lisa Sanders

Read the review


The Other Side 

by Kate Granger

Read the review


The Bright Side

by Kate Granger

Read the review


What Doctors Feel

by Danielle Ofri

Read the review



Woman working on a laptop. Rawpixel Ltd on Flickr. https://www.flickr.com/photos/byrawpixel/43972156980


But the shortlist is still too long

So I conjured up a set of criteria:

A phenomenal book must be practice-enhancing

And conception shattering

And perhaps also life-altering.


By William Iven firmbeehttps://unsplash.com/photos/qhhrsA4_Vpoarchive copy at the Wayback Machine (archived on 13 April 2016)Image at the Wayback Machine (archived on 9 May 2017), CC0, Link


With these guidelines in hand…

I regretfully set aside 17 excellent books.

But these live to fight another day

Possibly subjects of future review series.


All in a Doctor’s Day

by Lucia Gannon


Another Day in the Frontal Lobe

by Katrina Firlik


Body of Work

by Christine Montross



by Suzanne O’Sullivan


Dementia Reimagined

by Tia Powell


Flight Risk

by Stephanie Green



by Giulia Enders


Just Here Trying to Save a Few Lives

by Pamela Grim


My Patients and Me

by Jane Little


On Call 

by Emily Transue


The Woman with a Worm in Her Head

by Pamela Nagami


The Male Brain

by Louann Brizendine


This Won’t Hurt a Bit

by Michelle Au


Treatment Kind and Fair

by Perri Klass


Voices in the Band

by Susan Ball


White Coat

by Ellen Rothman


You Can Stop Humming Now

by Daniela Lamas

Visitor typing on an Azio Retro Classic keyboard. Marco Verch on Flickr. https://www.flickr.com/photos/149561324@N03/44417699572


At last then…

In a subjective order of excellence

Each bringing a unique touch to clinical medicine:

12 phenomenal books written by women doctors.



12. The Prison Doctor 

by Amanda Brown

Read the review


11. Your Life in My Hands

by Rachel Clarke

Read the review


10. Breaking and Mending

by Joanna Cannon

Read the review


9. The Female Brain

by Louann Brizendine

Read the review


8. It’s All in Your Head

by Suzanne O’Sullivan

Read the review


7. Final Exam

by Pauline Chen

Read the review


6. What Patients Say, What Doctors Hear

by Danielle Ofri

Read the review


5. With the End in Mind

by Kathryn Mannix

Read the review


4. In Shock

by Rana Awdish

Read the review


3. God’s Hotel

by Victoria Sweet

Read the review


2. Kitchen Table Wisdom

by Rachel Remen

Read the review


1. Direct Red

by Gabriel Weston

Read the review


Every ‘top‘ list is ultimately a subjective assessment…

So over the next few weeks I will review each book…

Hopefully to justify my choices.


Others will however have different points of view…

So please feel free to comment

And drop a good word

For your favourite books!

10 thoughts on “12 Phenomenal Books…Written by Women Doctors

  1. Hi,
    Thank you for this great list.
    I would like to add ‘The Hospital by The River’ by Dr Catherine Hamlin, published 2001.
    She and her husband set up the Addis Ababa Obstetric Fistula hospital in Ethiopia as their lives’ work, and transformed the lives of tens of thousands of women suffering from obstetric fistula.


  2. Consider adding Recapturing Joy in Medicine (2019)! I wrote it to inspire and empower us to be who we are, and to experience greater fulfillment, meaning, and joy in medicine and in life. An unexpected journey to the “other side of healthcare” interrupted the writing process, transforming the book AND its author! The resulting unique, hands-on, heartwarming narrative is a practical and uplifting companion to a physician’s practice and physicians in training. Check it out and tell your friends. We all need the encouragement!

    “It’s like chicken soup for the physician’s soul!” (K. Barton, MD)


  3. I have just published ‘How to Grow a Grown Up’ (PenguinRandomHouse) to help parents raise independent and resilient young adults in the 21st century- after 20 years of being a university GP! The reviews seem to suggest people like it, and it is meeting an unmet need. Thank you


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