Reviewer: James J. Foody, MD (Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine)
Description: This is a hardcover collection of humorous articles, essays, poetry, letters, and a few cartoons originally published in medical journals.
Purpose: In the preface to the first edition, the author stated three purposes: (1) for physicians to laugh at themselves; (2) to preserve the best articles and facilitate the use of humor in health care; and (3) to encourage healthcare workers to use humor in their day-to-day practices. In this second edition, he states writing the book is an attempt to be noticed by Dave Barry. The aims of the first edition are well met in the this edition. The success of the second edition's purpose remains to be seen.
Audience: Although written for practicing physicians, residents, students, and nurses, other medical workers may also find the book funny. Anyone who wants to meet Dave Barry has the necessary credibility to be a judge of humor.
Features: There are cartoons, graphs, charts, photographs, and line drawings scattered throughout the book. The collected works are adequately referenced. The book's appearance is appropriate. An interesting addition to the second edition is a brief article on how to get a humorous contribution published in a medical journal.
Assessment: My grandfather used to say, "It's all a matter of taste, said Mr. Murphy as he kissed the pig." Nothing is more individually taste-dependent than humor. As I scanned the contents of the book, the first few contributions I read were on the level of Readers' Digest humor. (This is not a compliment.) Discouraged, I was about to write a nasty review when I came across "The Art of Pimping" and howled out loud. Dr. Bennett has amassed a collection of medical humor that contains much that will please everyone, but not everything will please anyone. All in all, I hope he does get the chance to collaborate with Dave Barry, the real reason Dr. Bennett says he wrote this book.