Below is text from the video. It has been edited to remove some extraneous words and may include grammatical errors that result from conversational speaking.
A number of books inspired me to write Health Care: Meet the American Dream and I thought it would give a little more color commentary into the background of the book and me if I described some of them. So…here they are.
The first two are books that my father wrote. So he was…they’re called Atoms and Molecules and Essentials of Organic Chemistry. My father was an organic chemistry professor and it was really interesting because anybody who wanted to be doctor had to pass my dad’s test. They had to get through Orgo. But what I really learned from my dad and from his love of learning and knowledge – he wrote books about chemistry – is that whenever you have new ideas, it’s really important to have a data-driven, research background into why you have these ideas. So all through Health Care: Meet the American Dream I have cited all kinds of studies. I read studies all the time. And that rigor, that academic rigor, came from my dad.
My mother was a nurse back in the 50s . She was a nurse at Bellevue in New York City and she had this book, which is kind of big! The Merck Manual. The Merck Manual is like a layman’s medical textbook. It was published first in 1899 and the great thing about it is it makes health care much more approachable. So for the Longitudinal Health Care Plan and in the future and actually today we should all be so much more close to understanding health care and we don’t need to self-diagnose but when you can use a resource like The Merck Manual …it was really a precursor to WebMD, to going to the Mayo Clinic’s website. There’s so much information out there but it is important to make sure that you’re getting terrific sources and The Merck Manual, for my mom, that was a place to go.
So my mother, like I said, was a nurse. Her boss wrote this book, Let’s Find out about the Hospital. You can tell I’m a child of the 70s from the graphics in this. The idea behind this book was to make children unafraid of going to hospital. And I never had to go to the hospital…I never had my tonsils out but when you look at the images in the book, hospitals were so revered. And going to a hospital was an event. And you felt safe. You felt like you were going to be taken care of in a hospital. And I don’t think a lot of us feel like that anymore and that is shame. And we really need to elevate our views on health care. We have such an amazing ability to help people and we need to remind ourselves of that and that book really brings that back to me.
So I wrote my own book before Health Care: Meet the American Dream. I wrote this book called Mama’s Got a Brand New Job. It’s fiction. And this book is about a power lawyer who becomes a mom. I’m a mother of two children, two terrific kids. I love working. I love being a mom and there’s so little in literature and fiction about how great that is and I wanted to write a story celebrating that and it captures sort of my views that if you’re unhappy with something or if you don’t like things, you can’t just identify what’s wrong. It’s our responsibility to come up with a new idea, to come up with a new way to talk about it talk about it. So instead of writing a memoir, I created this whole new person and created a different way to talk about this topic. And I wasn’t happy with how the health care system was, so I created an entirely new idea to address the issues.
So going to a little more like political philosophy type stuff I read this one actually when I was a health care consultant on a plane. This is Kafka’s The Trial. And this is a little darker. This is a book about a man who’s a banker who gets accused of a crime and he gets sucked into this whole bureaucratic morass and he has no idea why he’s been accused of this crime. He just loses all his rights and I feel like many of us feel like that about the health care system. We have no understanding of how it works. There are things that are happening to us that shouldn’t. It’s morally wrong and we need to fix those issues so that was very impactful on a story for me.
This is a biography of Thomas Paine. I think Thomas Paine is one of the most underrated figures in the Revolutionary period in America. He wrote a pamphlet called Common Sense. We have the ideas of the Enlightenment. These are the ideas that inspired the American and French revolutions. He took these highfalutin ideas and brought them down to the colonists so they could understand what it really meant, what this revolution was all about. And it got them, it galvanized them to be involved. So in health care we should be more connected. We need to be involved. We need to be engaged. It shouldn’t be a system that does things to us, or doctors to us. We need be involved because after all it’s our health care and it’s who we are. So I think that was a great pamphlet. A great way to view things.
And then as I was writing the book, I stumbled upon this. This is called Manly Health and Training which is by one of America’s greatest poets, Walt Whitman. This book is a series of essays of recently rediscovered essays, just a few years ago, written by Whitman about personal health. And they’re so interesting and so refreshing to read this because his views and this is back when you know, this is in the mid-1800s. Health care was basically you taking care of yourself. There weren’t medications, surgeries like we have today. It was ideas like the Paleo Diet are kind of supported by Whitman. He’s got diagrams about exercising. Wearing comfortable shoes and it’s just a really interesting way to look at the idea that it’s your civic responsibility to be healthy. And back then, if you weren’t, you couldn’t fall back on anything. So a lot of that accountability, I think, drives the American Dream and drives a lot of the ideas that are in my book.
So, I hope you enjoy reading Health Care: Meet the American Dream. Maybe you’ll see some of these themes woven through it. And maybe you’ve read some of these books too. Thanks so much.