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Milutin KosticWhat is it that I need in order to be a good psychiatrist? This is a question that every psychiatrist asks themselves at least once. This book addresses the issue at once, capturing your attention with the title that to some might even sound pompous, at least until you start reading it. Written by some of the most influential minds in European and world psychiatry, this book has as an objective the sharing of their knowledge and experiences (Graham Thornicroft, Peter Tyrer, Sube Banerjee, together with the editors, to name but a few). But what you might not expect is that this book is least of all about medicine. Because in a world that is rapidly changing, today to be a psychiatrist or any other type of medical doctor for that matter you need to learn much more than just how to diagnose and prescribe. Unfortunately, not many people are ready to address this issue, and we are oversaturated by medical textbooks, often very similar to each other. But when you arrive at your job in the morning, direct care for patients and the medical aspect of that will, paradoxically, be just one part of your day. All the skills that you need to 'survive' everything else that is going on around you administration, ethical issues, need for cooperation with colleagues, taking over a leadership role when needed, and managing people in general is included in this book. And that is why this book is in so many ways unique.
As a person who comes from the eastern part of Europe, this book to me represents much more than a useful tool for my future professional life. It is a window into a different mindset; one that has been leading innovation and progress in the world. Coming from an ex-communist country where management and organization were not very highly regarded and where it was thought that it could be done just on plain instinct alone, the approach and science on those matters presented in this book was a real revelation. By dissecting every aspect of interpersonal interaction, decision-making and leadership I was able to see how much can be done to enhance one's ability and management skills. It makes it a perfect and necessary book for every Eastern European doctor, but especially for the ones who want to be at the helm of this part of the world. Because today s medicine is full of 'extracurricular activities' (interactions with colleagues, the media, ethical issues, complaints by patients, need for assessing quality and performance and so on), and one cannot be satisfied by just being a good diagnostician or knowing pharmacotherapy. And unfortunately in many ways that is forgotten or neglected in Eastern Europe. After reading this book, I am convinced that the difference in success that England and the West have had, as opposed to the East, is not in the top-of-the-line equipment, MRIs, PET scans, drugs or modern facilities, but rather in the mindset that defines and tries to improve everything, including the things that we take for granted. And that is something that we should try to aspire to. —Milutin Kostic, Institute of Mental Health, Belgrade, Serbia