It seems to us that the world is divided into those who read Harrison's and those who don't; it is only fair in beginning this review to acknowledge our allegiance to the former. Just as Arrowsmith and Of Human Bondage have shaped our imaginations, our view of internal medicine, perhaps inevitably, has been shaped by our allegiance to this textbook.
As medical students, we read the seventh edition from cover to cover, favorite passages highlighted in yellow until, with time, the whole book seemed to fluoresce. What held us then (and still does) was the central strength of this book: the "Cardinal Manifestations of Disease" section, which now occupies 288 pages or roughly one tenth of the book. And, of course, when melancholy set in, one could find inspiration from these memorable words on page 1:
No greater opportunity, responsibility, or obligation is given to an individual than that of
Karnad A, Verghese A. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. JAMA. 1994;272(8):642. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03520080084052