Saints of Humanity: Selections from Sir William Oslers Recommended Bedside Library
- By: Sanjay A Pai
Of the many roles that Sir William Osler played—excellent doctor, writer, bibliophile, medical teacher, philospher, and more—none was closer to his heart than the contributions that he made to medical education. Osler stated that he would “desire no better epitaph … than the statement that [he] taught medical students in the wards.” He also believed that it was important for a medical student to “try to get the education, if not of a scholar, at least of a gentleman.” To this end he suggested that every medical student have a bedside library consisting of the Old and New Testaments, Shakespeare, Montaigne, Plutarchs Lives, Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus, Religio Medici, Don Quixote, Emerson, Oliver Wendell Holmes Breakfast table series.
But times are changing, and it would be unreasonable to expect the medical student of this century to read the books that Osler recommended in 1904. Some authors have published revised lists of