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Book and Media Reviews
March 24 2010

Osler’s Bedside Library: Great Writers Who Inspired a Great Physician

JAMA. 2010;303(12):1205-1206. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.330

Before you go to sleep read for half an hour, and in the morning have a book open on your dressing table.—Sir William Osler, Aequanimitas

It is easy to imagine Sir William Osler (1849-1919) reading in bed. I do it myself—that was where I read this book. A book open on the dressing table in the morning seems to speak of an age of greater leisure, when surely even physicians had more time. Osler, however, is famous for how hard he worked and how much he fitted into each day. Nevertheless, life in medical school and the medical profession today is undeniably intense. The possibilities for life-enhancing (and frivolous) ways to spend precious off-duty hours have increased exponentially in comparison with the time of Osler, for whom reading and book collecting seem to have occupied much leisure time.

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