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April 1968

Speaking and Writing in Medicine. The Art of Communication.

Author Affiliations

San Francisco


By Clifford F. Hawkins, MD, FRCP. Price, not given. Pp 159, with 28 figures. Charles C Thomas, Publisher, 301-327 E Lawrence Ave, Springfield, Ill, 1967.

Arch Intern Med. 1968;121(4):385-386. doi:10.1001/archinte.1968.03640040079040

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It was perhaps more than coincidence that I began this review just after my return from a recent international symposium. If I had perhaps forgotten how ineffective many physicians are at verbal presentation of scientific data, the meeting served as a forceful reminder. Most, if not all, of the errors and shortcomings described by Doctor Hawkins in his monograph Speaking and Writing in Medicine were on exhibition. I continue to be amazed, if no longer surpirsed, at the ineptness of some otherwise competent people in the "art of communication."

In this little text Hawkins has succeeded in presenting to his audience "tuition in speaking and writing." The simplified (sometimes excessively) and clearly written treatise stresses the proper "do's and don'ts" in medical communication; and if the material lacks originality, it is perhaps because the subject is one which requires reemphasis rather than creativity.

There are several minor criticisms of the

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