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Another Day in the Frontal Lobe: A Brain Surgeon Exposes Life on the Inside [Paperback]

Katrina S Firlik
2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

15 Feb 2007
As Katrina Firlik says in her introduction, if you are about to go under the knife, you don't care if your surgeon has published a paper in Nature or New Scientist - what you really need is a good brain mechanic and preferably a swift one. In this absorbing and compelling book she opens wide the doors of the operating theatre and invites the reader into the weird and often wonderful world of brain surgery. Using individual stories as the starting point for each chapter - such as the carpenter with a nail in his head or the man with maggots on the brain - she looks at the technical versus the intellectual side of brain surgery, what kind of person becomes a brain surgeon, the tools of the trade, a 'day at the office', the ethics and dilemmas of surgery and the future including 'designer' brains.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Phoenix; Paperback of Brain Matters edition (15 Feb 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753821524
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753821527
  • Product Dimensions: 2.1 x 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 813,854 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Katrina Firlik completed her residency at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, the largest and most prestigious neurosurgery department in the US and was the first woman admitted to the programme. She then went on to complete a fellowship at Yale and is now an Assistant Professor there as well as having her own private practice. She is 35 years old and this is her first book.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting 4 Mar 2011
I bought this book to read on holiday in The Dominican Rep (I wish I was there now, bloody freezing!). I thought it was unusual to see a woman writing about what is a male dominated profession, good on her too! Dr Firlik as well as being a talented brain surgeon writes brilliantly going from serious to comical in the flick of a page. She has written in such a way to make all terminology easily understandable in my opinion, even for the layman! Imagine if a chap walked upto you with a three inch barbed nail driven through his skull and into his brain, what would you do? I found this book very enjoyable if not shocking, funny, heartwarming and gory at times. It's a quick and easy read for a few hours in the Caribbean sun. . . .cue the sound of waves crashing at your feet :-)
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2.0 out of 5 stars Good start but quickly becomes tiresome. 25 April 2014
Started well but pretty quickly descends into a self-centered monologue detailing the author and her partners foray into the business world with medical devices....Kerr-Ching!

Some exploration of the highs and lows of the profession but one feels that the author keeps these issues at arms-length, perhaps not just in the book.....

There are more engaged examples out there.

Not really worth the asking price but worth a squint if you see it as cheap second hand or on loan from a library.

Sorry Dr F.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Core reading for would-be neurosurgeons 22 Aug 2013
Along with When the Air Hits Your Brain: Tales from Neurosurgery, I would recommend this book to anyone considering a career in neurosurgery.

Less vignette-driven than the other book I have mentioned, Dr Firlik's book is more focused upon what it takes to be a neurosurgeon, rather than what one experiences in the course of becoming one.

The largely dispassionate, matter-of-fact narrative in juxtaposition with the stories recounted serves to highlight the wide-ranging professional challenges faced by a neurosurgeon. Whilst others might have preferred a more emotional style of writing, the chosen style subtly underlines the message that to do the job effectively, a neurosurgeon must be able to remain calm and collected in the the most difficult of circumstances.

The lack of false modesty may be jarring to some. However, if the book is to be read as a guide to what may reasonably be expected of a would-be neurosurgeon, then false modesty would simply mislead the reader as to what is achievable.

When humour breaks through, it is usually dry, understated and has refreshingly honesty to it, such as "But Mom, what kind of restaurants would I spend all that money on out there?", that being her imaginary rebuttal to a highly lucrative offer for her to move her practice to a town "only 100 miles from a moderate-sized metropolitan city".

For those simply considering medicine as a career or looking for a light read, there may be other books which would serve equally well. For a would-be neurosurgeon, this is a must read.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dreary & thoughtless egotism 28 Feb 2012
Fatuous, self-serving and thoughtless. If you want to see how possible it is to be a - presumably excellent - neurosurgeon, while simultaneously achieving no insight into your job, your place in society or your own capacities, then it's a terrifically rewarding read. Otherwise avoid it. If you want to read about what it's like being a (thoughtful) surgeon, go for Atul Gawande instead - Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance or Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science.
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