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Book and Media Reviews
December 23 2009

Leadership and Medicine

JAMA. 2009;302(24):2707. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.1920

Anyone who sets out to address both leadership and medicine in just 240 pages deserves great credit. Fortunately, Loop's experience—both as a surgeon and as the former chief executive officer of the Cleveland Clinic—gives him unusual practical and philosophical insights into the problems, perils, and rewards of US medicine and the role of successful leadership in helping to create a premier academic medical center.

I opened Leadership and Medicine with a bit of a chip on my shoulder. I am not comfortable with self-help or “how to” books, and the early chapters—comprising, for example, quotes on leadership from a variety of military, sports, and business leaders; pithy aphorisms on how to lead; and rules to guide future leaders—seemed to confirm my worst fears. These chapters seemed like ones from the ubiquitous “for dummies” series and served to strengthen my view that leadership—whether leaders are curing patients, making widgets, or leading battles—is not teachable; lists can be useful, but one either has or does not have leadership qualities. But I was wrong. Loop has distilled much more than just trite clichés into this book. Few physicians will ever lead academic medical centers, but in one way or another all are leaders, and whether heading a large enterprise or pursuing private practice, they will find valuable lessons here.

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