Book and Media Reviews Section Editor: Harriet S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA.
Inspecting my shelves one day about 25 years ago, a wide-eyed friend asked me why medical books are so big. I don't recall my answer, but I hoped he thought those big books meant I knew a lot of medicine. I didn't then and don't now, of course, and that's why I need the big books.
In the years since my friend's question, medical books have grown ever larger. The fourth edition of Pediatric Neurology now weighs 18 pounds. It has grown to 95 chapters (up from 88 in the previous edition) and 2672 pages (up from about 1500) and represents the work of 143 contributors (up from about 100). If the growth trend continues, future editions will need wheels and a retractable handle.
Tremblay GF. Pediatric Neurology. JAMA. 2006;296(10):1294-1299. doi:10.1001/jama.296.10.1296