What's in It for Me?

Samuel Vaisrub, MD
JAMA. 1980;244(23):2642. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03310230044024.
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Reading for pure pleasure is a privilege readily available to millions. Paradoxically, many cannot partake fully of this privilege, because of an acquired vocational bias. Physicians, for instance, when reading for pleasure, still tend to choose books that are linked, however tenuously, with medicine. They will favor novels by Somerset Maugham, Walker Percy, or Michael Crichton or poems by William Carlos Williams, if only because these authors were or are physicians and their writings are apt to reflect their medical experiences and insights. Even works by lay authors dealing perceptively with a disease, such as Leo Tolstoy's The Death of Ivan Illitch, are among the favorites of the physicians' pleasure reading. And when reaching for a mystery story, physicians will prefer one with a medical twist. They may even derive perverse pleasure from Norman Cousins' Anatomy of a Disease. After all, there is much to be said for the pleasures


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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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