Other Books I Recommend

I love reading and I'm passionate about finding resources for my patients that can help them through many different situations. Here is a list of other helpful books and some books I found interesting for myself listing in no particular order. Happy reading!

 
 

‘This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries if a Junior Doctor” by Adam Kay is a tough but important read. The author starts off “After 6 years of training and a further 6 years on the wards, I resigned my job as a junior doctor. My parents still haven’t forgiven me" and finishes with “Why should anyone train to be a doctor anymore?” In between he recounts story after story of life as a medical student and trainee in obstetrics and gynecology in the UK around 2010. Between f-bombs, several stories about objects in body cavities and scrubs soaked in bodily fluids, the author weaves in his reflections on the medical profession now and where it’s going. The first 30ish pages are not engaging and I couldn’t identify with the author’s perspective but stick with the book because it comes through slowly in little hints. I finished the book thinking through the choices I’ve personally made and how tough it must have been for someone to walk away from the field he’s trained in for so long. It’s painful to be on the other side of medical training, very happy with my current career, colleagues, and choices, but remember just how hard it was to get here. The author pleas for hospitals and administration to care for the emotional wellness of physicians and all medical providers. Doctors are supposed to be superheroes and get to work no matter what but we are human too. We all need to ‘Chip away at the ingrained notion that doctors and nurses don’t need to, or shouldn’t, talk about (bad outcomes, mistakes, abuse from patients, insert more here) because that same ingrained notion is partly responsible for the huge rise in people leaving the profession, the rise in stress-related absence, illness, and…suicide. We all need someone to talk to..Care for the Carer." Excellent read.


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Achieving More By Doing Less. ‘Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less' by Greg McKeown is a refreshing guide to making better choices for yourself in order to live by design and not by default. I wish I had read this sooner. “Only once you give yourself permission to stop trying to do it all, to stop saying yes to everyone, can you make your highest contribution toward the things that really matter.” By being selective and deliberate with our time - you can make more meaningful contributions to pursuits that drive your passion and bring you joy.I am a recovering people pleaser and micromanager and this book really speaks to me. It gives permission to say ‘No’ and gives examples of people who make deliberate choices, do less, but in the end achieve more.

It’s ok to not volunteer for every school function, it’s ok to not say yes to every project and opportunity that comes along - make choices wisely, pause and deliberate pros and cons before you automatically say ‘Yes’ - ask yourself WHY you are considering saying ‘Yes’ and if it’s to make other people happy, if it’s out of obligation but really voluntary - consider saying ’No’ to give yourself the space you need to do something you really enjoy. You can make a bigger impact overall and be happier along the way if you sometimes do less.


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Part history, part personal story, and part reflection on inappropriate treatment of patients in medicine - I thoroughly enjoyed and cringed (as a physician) reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. Henrietta Lacks was a poor mother of 5 who moved from a tobacco farm in Virginia and died from aggressive, painful cervical cancer in Baltimore at age 30 in 1951. Cells taken from tumor live on today in labs all around the world helping cure disease. HeLa (Henrietta Lacks) cells develop in unique way that have lead to breakthroughs in understanding and treatment of diseases like herpes, leukemia, influenza, hemophilia, Parkinson's disease, cancer, AIDS, and my own are of medicine: in vitro fertilization. Controversy surrounds HeLa cells. ❓Did Henrietta given permission for cells to be taken❓

Most accounts of this story say the cells were taken without Henrietta's knowledge or consent but on page 66 of the book a microbiologist who worked with Dr. George Gey (Henrietta’s doctor who took her cells) recalls, 'George told Henrietta that her cells would help save the lives of countless people, and she smiled. She told him she was glad her pain would come to some good for someone.’ As a physician trained in the modern era of informed consent, patient rights, and shared decision making in care, I was shocked to read many examples through history of vulnerable patient populations being experimented on and mistreated in the name of science and progress for the greater good. From this account, there is no documented record of her giving permission for her cells to be used and her family has not been compensated for the use of and selling of her cells still being used today.

Thank you Rebcca Skloot for putting together this incredible story and work. Every medical provider and ethicist should read this and reflect on the importance of the patient in the doctor-patient relationship.


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Warning: do not read without a box of tissues. Finally built up the courage to read the beautiful, inspirational book ‘When Breath Becomes Air’ by Dr. Paul Kalanithi publishes in 2016. Diagnosed with terminal cancer at the end of his years of training as a neurosurgeon and leaving behind a young daughter and wife, who wrote the exquisite last chapter of the book, Dr. Kalanithi wrote his story and reflections on life in this Pulitzer Prize finalist work. It took me this long to read because I knew it would be tough. I knew his story before the book was published. I did not know him personally but my time training at Stanford overlapped with his and I’ve wondered if I’d walked past him, stood in line near him in the cafeteria. Leads me to reflect on..❤️You never really know what people are dealing with so be kind.❤️You cannot wait to find joy. He spent years in a grueling training program for neurosurgery and on the cusp of finishing and finally becoming an attending - he faced a diagnosis of terminal cancer.

✨We cannot wait for the finish line to be happy✨.


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‘The Vagina Bible’ is an excellent resource for anyone with (or has questions about) a vagina.

Dr. Jen Gunter describes herself as a OBGYN and pain medicine physician who writes a lot about sex, science, and social media and has been called Twitter’s resident gynecologist and the Internet’s OBGYN. She’s well known for her anti-GOOP (anti-Gwenyth Paltrow) stance and can be described in polarizing ways as either a Western medicine based woman’s advocate or as a anti-natural or closed-minded anti-holistic crusader. No matter your views on the author - this book is a thorough review of anatomy, hygiene, menstruation, folklore, science, and all things vagina. You can read about and learn how to talk to your doctor about conditions you may have been to embarrassed to ask about: odor, grooming, herpes, sexual positions, vaginal rejuvenation procedures, and more.

A theme Dr. Gunter carries throughout her 400+ page Vagina Bible is that women have been convinced that their vaginas are something that they should be ashamed of and spend financial, emotional, and mental energy cleaning, grooming, and perfecting surgically. Dr. Gunter speaks out against the folklore and patriarchy of an entire pharmaceutical, surgical, and commercial industry designed to make money out of shaming women for being women. I really appreciate her stance on that particular issue.


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I wish I had read ‘Like a Mother’ by Angela Garbes when I was a new Mom struggling with all the physical and emotional changes of pregnancy and surviving the guilt and self-judgement of how to be a ‘Good Mom’ The book cover describes this read as ‘a rigorously researched and compelling look at the physiology, biology, and psychology of motherhood’ and I’d add ’non-judgmental’ to that description. Angela Garbes is a curious journalist who wanted answers to questions of the changes happening in her own body in pregnancy, miscarriage, and birth and couldn’t find them without the judgement and ’should’ that is found in most pregnancy and motherhood books. Women have been told how to mother and what’s ‘right’ forever and it changes depending on society and medical recommendations of the day. Women are told not to trust their own instincts in motherhood and made to feel that they are doing it wrong right when they need support the most.

Chapter 4 ‘Before I had a baby, I had a miscarriage’ was a powerful read for me. ‘When it comes to pregnancy loss, there is no script to follow. To help women navigate it, you don’t need to offer advice of perspective. It is enough to show up, however awkwardly, and be there. To listen.’ ‘Miscarriage helped me understand that we became mother not, as books and website tell us, when our babies reach the size of an avocado or butternut squash but simply when we declare ourselves so.’ ‘If I hadn’t experienced..loss, I wouldn’t be the person I am now.’

Highly recommend for any Mom, future Mom, and human being that wants to learn more about the whole messy, miraculous, and incredible thing we call motherhood.


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Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School’ by John Medina. I was fortunate enough to hear John Medina speak in the spring of 2019 on his life’s interest into how the brain works.  He is a developmental molecular biologist, affiliate professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine, and animated speaker who infused humor into his talk on the latest brain functioning research. In his 'Brain Rules’ book which I read on my recent spring break, he reviews the research on 12 main principles of brain function and comments on how each principle could be used to maximize success in the classroom and at work.

Turns out: 🧠Every brain is wired differently.🏃🏽‍♀️Exercise improves cognition - get moving! 🌍We are designed to never stop learning and exploring - that’s what makes us human. 🤯Memories are volatile. 😴Sleep is powerfully linked with the ability to learn - make sleep a priority. 🤓Vision trumps all of the other senses.😫Stress changes the way we learn, sometimes in a good way but often it impairs our learning.


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“Brave Not Perfect” by Reshma Saujani. This founder and CEO of Girls Who Code and first Indian American woman to run for Congress reflects on her own failures and successes as she dissects our culture of praising girls for being perfect and boys for being brave. After interviewing hundreds of girls and leaders in the field – Reshma has a few choice things to say and I loved listening. “Perfect is boring...Bravery, on the other hand, is a pursuit that adds to your life everything perfection once threatened to take away: authentic joy; a sense of accomplishment; ownership of your fears and the grit to face them down; an openness to new adventures and possibilities; acceptance of all the mistakes, gaffes, flubs, and flaws that make you interesting ,and that make your life uniquely yours.” (p. 83). ❤️Thank you Reshma for reflecting on how brave you were to try to conceive again after having three miscarriages (p.90). I witness true bravery, resilience, and grit in my infertility and recurrent miscarriage patients that pick themselves up off the floor and try again. ❤️I especially loved chapter 9: Play for Team Brave – a call to women to amplify each other: be a connector, praise your colleagues, lift each other up. ❤️Looking forward to sharing this book with my daughter – there are a few f-bombs but I’m sure she can handle it and I want her to read the reflections on the ‘Princess culture,’ the harms of social media on female confidence, and get some encouragement from a woman that stood up to her fears, failed, and wants to share her story.


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"The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen- Year-Old Boy with Autism” by Naoki Higashida. This is an incredible, revolutionary, and extraordinary insight into how one autistic mind thinks, feels, perceives, and responds. 

Naoki uses an alphabet grid and a computer to answer questions like:..

❓Why do people with autism talk so loudly and so weirdly?

❓Why do you ask the same question over and over?

❓Why don’t you make eye contact when you’re talking to me?

❓Why do you flap your hands in front of your face? Jump? Spin?

He explains that he understands things, but his memory is different from other people – he often needs to repeat words and ask questions over and over to comfort himself. Sometimes the words he wants to say – he can’t find and he sounds jumbled and incomplete. He doesn’t make eye contact because he’s using other senses to take in the other person’s voice and concentrate on what’s been said. He moves and jumps and spin to keep his thoughts on track. “Stuck inside these unresponsive bodies of ours with feelings we can’t properly express, it’s always a struggle just to survive. And it’s this feeling of helplessness that sometimes drives us half-crazy and brings on a melt-down.’

The final question and answer had me pause:❓"What are your thoughts on autism itself?” Naoki states: “...this is my own made-up theory, but I think that, as a result of all the killings in the world and the selfish planet-wrecking that humanity has committed, a deep sense of crisis exists. Autism has somehow arisen out of this...if, by our being here, we could help the people of the world remember what truly matters for the Earth, that would give us great pleasure.”


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I don’t only read fertility books! (although I do like reading books that my patients read and staying up to date with latest trends). I branched out with fiction for my plane ride to Chicago for the MidWest symposium meeting in June 2019: Robin Cooks’ 1991 Thriller ‘Vital Signs.’ You’ll be happy to know its a mystery, adventure, John Grisham-like thriller set in an IVF clinic!!! Ok so it's still about fertility...🤦‍♀️. How did it take me this long to find this book??? I thoroughly enjoyed it! We meet the protagonist, Marissa, a pediatrician in the middle of her 4th IVF cycle and on the day of her egg retrieval - another patient at the clinic falls?jumps from the 6th floor of the clinic -dead!  She’s doing IVF because of blocked fallopian tubes due to a previous ? unknown tuberculosis infection and twists begin when she runs into her old medical school friend, Wendy, at a @resolveorg meeting (Chapter 5) who happens to have the same diagnosis and is being treated at the same clinic. Too many coincidences - I think so! Plot twists, friendship, a trip to Australia, 🦈attack, following clues to Hong Kong, and more.  One thing Robin Cook nails is the stress and emotional toll of #infertility on the characters and their marriages.  I love the interaction Marissa has with her therapist in Chapter 4:“One of the worst problems I have is that I can’t fix myself.” “With infertility it doesn’t make a difference how hard you try” “Experiencing isolation as a result of your infertility” The dialog between Marissa and her husband are right on - he’s ready to give up, doesn’t want to go to therapy and she is not ready to stop, frustrated, feeling isolated like this is her burden alone. Entertaining, insightful - highly recommend!


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I love this book!! “Our Shoes Our Selves:40 Women, 40 Stories, 40 Pairs of Shoes” by Amanda Benchley and Bridget Moynahan bring together 40 powerful and influential women to share their story through their favorite pair of shoes 👠👠. It’s a simple concept but it left me beyond inspired! Each woman shares her journey, her path, her passion and I learned more about women I already admire like journalists Christian Amanpour and Katie Couric, Reshma Saujani from Girls that Code, ballerina Misty Copland, and Gregg Renfew, Beautycounter’s founder and fellow ‘anti-toxins in products’ advocate.

I learned new facts and stories like:

🥿A woman (Maya Lin) designed the Vietnam Veterans War Memorial in Washington D.C...

👢Ultimate fighter, Ronda Rousey, always wore the same boots before a fight..

⛸Actress Rosie Perez keeps a pair of ice skates she got from the one person in the foster care system that believed in her as a child..

👟Former Texas State Senator, Wendy Davis, wore her running shoes for her famous 11 hour filibuster that blocked a vote to restrict abortion access...

👠Sharing my own shoe inspiration in this photo: I’m in my element (scrubs in the OR) with my sperm shoes on practicing for my photoshoot for the next addition 😉… I found these fab shoes during my fellowship in reproductive endocrinology and infertility at Stanford and keep them with me in the office as a reminder of why I love what I do. Helping people build their families, educating about fertility and miscarriage without fear, and connecting with others - all with a little sperm humor. This book combines gorgeous photos with inspirational stories - beautiful!! Buy this book for yourself and then all of your favorite women in your life!


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Toni Morison, an American novelist, essayist, editor, teacher, and professor emeritus at Princeton University, died in 2019. The coverage of her life and work reminded me of how much I appreciated her writing in the past and I learned more about her accomplishments. Some highlights: Born and raised in Ohio, graduated from Howard University in 1953 and went to graduate school at Cornell University and taught English at Howard University. In the late 1960s, she became the first black female editor in fiction at Random House in New York City. In the 1970s and 1980s, she developed her own reputation as an author, and her perhaps most celebrated work, Beloved, was made into a 1998 film. Awards..🏆Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993..🏆National Endowment for the Humanities in 1996..🏆National Book Foundation's Medal of Distinguished Contribution to American Letters..🏆President Barack Obama presented Morrison with the Presidential Medal of Freedom 2012..🏆PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction 2016..


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'The Period Repair Manual: Natural Treatment for Better Hormones and Better Periods’ by Lara Briden, ND, a natropathic doctor practicing in Australia who breaks down ’normal’ period health and hormones and then tackles issues like painful periods, irregular periods, birth control methods and more. A lot of my patients in the Pacific NW see natropathic doctors for fertility care so I want to know how natropaths interpret and think through female health issues. According to natropathic.org Naturopathic medicine is a distinct practice of medicine that emphasizes prevention and the self-healing process to treat each person holistically. There are 7 accredited natropathic schools (mostly on the West Coast of the US) and 20 states provide licensure and accreditation for natropathic doctors. Most natropathic programs include 4 years of training (2 years academic followed by 2 years of clinical experience) but no formal residency training. Typical Western Medicine teaches that period problems can be ‘fixed’ by taking birth control pills which can result in less painful menses and regulate menstrual cycles but this book delves into why periods may be abnormal and offers alternative approaches to care like diet, exercise, diagnosing food sensitivities, gut and vaginal microbiomes, supplements, and more. I do not endorse particular treatments in this book (meaning I haven’t read the evidence behind or been formally educated on these topics and treatment options) but I am intrigued with the idea of more natural approaches to care for my patients since birth control pills aren’t fixing the issues and certainly aren’t an option for my patients trying to conceive! There are a lot of supplement recommendations in the book but no warnings about being very careful with supplements - they are not regulated like prescription medications and can often NOT contain what they advertise.Summary: This is a wonderful book for learning more about menstrual cycles, hormones, and some issues in women’s health. This is NOT a book on infertility or miscarriage.


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Highlights for me include

  1. She suffers from imposter syndrome too. In chapter 5 and throughout the book she recognizes that she works hard for her accomplishments but there is a voice inside her head at times asking ‘Am I good enough?’

  2. She struggled with infertility like many women. In chapter 13 ‘It turns out that even two committed go-getters with a deep love and a robust work ethic can’t will themselves into being pregnant. Fertility is not something you conquer.’

  3. She wants to increase awareness for miscarriage and help shatter the stigma of shame. In chapter 13 ‘If I were to start a file on things nobody tells you about until you’re right in the thick of them, I might begin with miscarriages. A miscarriage is lonely, painful, and demoralizing almost on a cellular level. When you have one, you will likely mistake for a personal failure, which it is not.’

  4. As a woman, she bares the burden of infertility treatments while her husband went about his daily life. ‘I was just feeling the acute burden of being female…None of this was his fault, but it wasn’t equal, either, and for any woman who lives by the mantra that equality is important, this can be a little confusing. It was me who’d alter everything, putting my passions and career dreams on hold, to fulfill this piece of our dream.’

I finish the book wanting more. She touched on so many themes and thoughts that are my own and I loved hearing her perspective on work/life balance, imposter syndrome, bullying, infertility, friendship, mom guilt. 


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The author sent in her DNA to ancestry.com on a whim and discovered that her deceased father was not her biological father. Within 36 hours of this discovery she knew who her biologic father was: a retired doctor living across the United States who donated his sperm for an intrauterine insemination in the 1960s as a medical student at the University of Pennsylvania. The author was raised in a proud, strong, Jewish family and feels betrayed yet enlightened by her family’s secrets. As a reproductive endocrinologist I am still reflecting on the brand new world that access to genetic information and testing to the public through websites like ancestry.com, 23andme, and more. Is anonymity a thing of the past? What does this mean for the people that donated decades ago who couldn’t foresee this technology and what it means. Highly recommend this book for an interesting read into how we define ourselves based on family, experience, and what we are told. 


Exploring the power you can have with deciding on what you care about

Exploring the power you can have with deciding on what you care about

Here's Mark Manson’s ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F@ck: a Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life.’ 

I can sum it up in a few statements: points he makes repeatedly using different examples from his own experiences and those of notable people in history and present day.

  1. We cannot control what happens to us but we can control how we experience those things (we can control what we give a f@ck about)

  2. Entitlement is a tragic flaw - it encourages us to blame others for our own failures and robs us from taking responsibility for our own actions

  3. Get your values in check - defining your own accomplishments by comparing yourself to others will only lead to frustration and emptiness

A lot of his points remind me of Buddhism - suffering is inevitable and good (we learn from failure).

His points are nothing new but presented in a new way. I loved the real life examples and appreciated the reminder that we can take control of our experiences - not what happens to us but how we interpret, reflect on, and learn from them.


Lovely book depicting the bittersweet journey to family - great gift!

Lovely book depicting the bittersweet journey to family - great gift!

This lovely picture book by Matthew Cordell depicts a couple who come together, enjoy life, decide to start a family but wait, wish, wait some more, and finally welcome their baby. Bittersweet story of a journey towards family. This would be a perfect gift for a couple with a newborn after infertility and/or miscarriages or adoption.

 

Body Belief by Aimee E. Raupp, M.S., L.Ac., 2018

Patients ask me about the impact of diet on infertility and miscarriage risk every day. There is lots of buzz about gluten, dairy, and other foods that may alter our immune system and impact our health. Leaky gut, probiotics, detox, oh my. 

My head starts to spin and every resource says something a little different.

I read ‘Body Belief’ by Amiee E Raupp, M.S., L.Ac this weekend. She is a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist who wants to teach you ‘how to heal autoimmune diseases, radically shift your health, and learn to love your body more.’

I liked her overall message of shifting your mindset and making changes that can last a lifetime. This is no 7 day detox or quick fix. She encourages the reader to be mindful of their symptoms (fatigue, pain, brain fog) and keep a journal daily to get feedback on the changes you decide to make. I also liked her focus on decreasing exposure to toxins through the products we use like beauty products. Everything was great until I got to her detox plan - I quickly became overwhelmed with her recommendations. I can take away pieces of advice and I like the lists of recommended products and recipes she includes. Just not sure I could do the whole program, but I love learning!


This book inspired an envrionmental awareness revolution

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson, 1962

Description: Rachel Carson started an environmental awareness revolution with this book in 1962. She shed light on the harm of pesticides and other commonly used chemicals on animal species and the environment. She faced harsh criticism from the establishment but the evidence presented in this book and her testimony in front of congress lead towards a ban of DDT use in most of the Western world and lead to the creation of the environmental protection agency.

Dr. Shahine says: Today we take for granted the knowledge that pesticides and chemicals can be harmful to our health, but this was not always the case. During the first half of the 20th century chemicals were highly regarded and allowed for mass food production, efficiency in industry, and decreased cost of production. Chemical were modern and the future. Rachel Carson sounded the alarm of the harms of chemicals and stood up for what we take for granted today. This is where modern day environmental awareness began. 


8 Steps to Reverse Your PCOS by Fiona McCulloch, ND, 2016

Description: A thorough guide through the definition and physiology of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome written in patient friendly manner. Dr. McCulloch describes inflammation, insulin resistance, hormonal imbalances, and ways to improve overall wellness with a natural approach.

Dr. Shahine says: Dr. McCulloch does a wonderful job explaining PCOS, a common and complex hormonal disorder, in a way that many people can understand. There is no single lab test that diagnoses PCOS and there is no typical collection of signs and symptoms of this disorder. Dr. McCulloch takes each aspect: inflammation, insulin resistance, hormonal imbalances and explains how PCOS is interconnected on many levels. She balances between reviewing the science and giving practical advice on diet, recipes, exercise and lifestyle changes that can improve overall wellness. I will recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about PCOS.


The Gene Machine: How Genetic Technologies are Changing the Way We Have Kids – and the Kids We Have by Bonnie Rochman, 2017

We are living in a brand-new world of technology and genetics. Ethics and society’s ability to deal with the ramifications of genetic testing is slower than the development of the technology itself. Genetics have gone from testing single, simple genetic mutations that lead to diseases we’ve heard of like cystic fibrosis to the ability to sequence the entire genome and find ‘secondary findings’ or mistakes that we weren’t looking for much less know what to do with. Bonnie Rochman, an experienced and award-winning journalist, tackles this explosive and fascinating new world with a balanced interest. She weaves technology with real life stories of families dealing with genetic disease and its testing as well as the providers (doctors, scientists, and genetics) who are all trying to learn and care for each patient and each other through this quagmire.

Dr. Shahine says: I am so very thankful for this book. As a reproductive endocrinologist who does IVF and genetic testing on patients and embryos every day – I struggle with ethics and slippery slopes every day. Something I say to patients regularly “Let’s think about this since just because we can do something does not mean we should.” The Gene Machine is an excellent resource for anyone interested in an up to date look into genetics and it’s testing.


Goop Clean Beauty by the Editors at Goop, Forward by Gwyneth Paltrow, 2016

Description: This is the first book from the editors of Goop, the lifestyle website started by Gwyneth Paltrow in 2008. Just like the content on the website, the book is part experts sharing knowledge on everything from beauty products to detoxifying diets to hair styles.

Dr. Shahine says: The book is beautiful to look at and easy to read. The focus is on improving wellness from the food we eat to the beauty products we use. Gwyneth Paltrow gets a lot of press when she recommends fringe wellness options (remember vaginal steaming!) but this book has more realistic suggestions. It includes simple tips on ways to detox your life from the refrigerator to your medicine cabinet. 


One and Only: The Freedom of Having an Only Child, and the Joy of Being One by Lauren Sandler, 2013

Description: A personal account of struggling with the decision of whether or not to have more than one child. The author, Lauren Sandler, was an only child to a mother that made a conscious choice to have an only child. “My mother was deeply devoted to raising me. To have a happy kid, she figured she needed to be a happy mother, and to be a happy mother, she needed to be a happy person. To do that she needed to preserve her authentic self, which she could not imagine with a second child.” While writing this book, Lauren is a mother of one child and struggling with the pros and cons of having another child. She reviews medical research, literary references, social pressures and norms with an open mind and compassion. She quotes Granville Stanley Hall, the first president of the American Psychological Association, who said in a lecture in 1907, “Being an only child is a disease in itself.” She reviews more recent medical literature that finds that only children are thriving, successful, and not different from people who had siblings.

Dr. Shahine says: I have recommended this book to many patients who are struggling with either the choice to have one child or the inability to conceive a second child. The book is not glorifying the ‘only child’ like many other books on this subject – this is a balanced examination and the author’s personal input make it comfortable and warm to read. At the end of the book (spoiler alert!) the author does not reveal whether she decides to try for a sibling for her own daughter and I’m sure I could look it up but I haven’t…yet. 


Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, Al Switzler, 2012

Description: This is a guide to navigating crucial conversations in work, love, and all aspects of life in order to be more productive, maintain respectful relationships, and in many ways, get what you want. The authors have sold over 3 million copies and topped almost every best seller’s list since they first published in 2002, so pay attention. First they teach you how to identify a crucial conversation: it’s not the topic but the emotion involved and the stakes at risk that make a conversation crucial. One you know you’re in a crucial conversation you learn how to navigate through the muddy waters to come out on the other side better than when you started. Tools include staying in dialogue (not forcing your opinions on someone), keeping the conversation safe (avoid violence/lashing out or silence/clamming up), recognize what you want to gain from the interaction and get yourself there by finding mutual respect and mutual purpose.

Dr. Shahine says: Where has this book been all my life and I’m thankful I found it now. It dials into mindfulness – staying aware of what is at stake, your emotions, your goals throughout any intense conversation. I got slightly confused with the authors’ use of key phrases like ‘fool’s choice’ and ‘start with the heart’ but they would bring me around with interesting examples and scenarios. Highly recommend for anyone who talks to any other human being. 


How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, 1936

Description: First published in 1936 and over 15 million copies sold. Described as a ground-breaking guidebook for simple and life-changing concepts that carry people up the ladder of success in their business and personal lives.

Dr. Shahine says: My Dad talked about this book growing up and I am so glad I finally read it. Even though it was published over 75 years ago, the advice stays relevant. I don’t think of it as a ‘success guide’ but more of common sense advice on how to get along well with others and be a good leader or manager. Solid advice like ‘don’t criticize, appreciate others, smile, get people to talk about themselves, show respect.’ I enjoyed the real world examples of leaders that have modeled the advice Carnegie gives. I’ll keep this book around and flip through every once and a while for reminders.