As I start residency in the next week, I finally took the time to read a book that I have had on my list for a while. The book is titled Super Performing at Work and at Home: The Athleticism of Surgery and Life by Dr. Robert J. Cerfolio. My interest in reading the book was multi-fold. Dr. Cerfolio was previously an attending where I went to medical school. I had the opportunity to hear him speak specifically to medical students during my first year. He left UAB shortly after that talk and accepted a job at NYU Langone where he serves in numerous roles including Executive Vice President, Vice Dean, Chief of Hospital Operations, and Professor and Chief of Clinical Thoracic Surgery. I will be completing my residency training at NYU.
“There is plenty of knowledge outside of medicine to be learned.”Dr. Jack T. Wilson, Contributor, Med Student Edge
In the book, Dr. Cerfolio recounts his life experiences as a husband, father, coach, surgeon, athlete, and leader. Its anecdotal nature makes for a quick and easy read that gives insight into the daily life of one of the most productive cardiothoracic surgeons in the world. The narrative is moving, and reminds the reader of the finality of life and the importance of spending time with family and friends along our educational and career journeys. Dr. Cerfolio has a ‘both this and that’ attitude rather than an ‘either this or that’ perspective when it comes to excelling professionally and personally.
This book would be a particularly interesting and helpful read for medical students that relate to the pursuit of athletic achievement, competition, and inner drive for excellence. Dr. Cerfolio demonstrates how to achieve clinical expertise and professional excellence while maintaining a grounded and humble perspective. Importantly, he also addresses loss and defeat describing the importance of learning from those failures and experiences to stimulate individual and team growth. The book is motivational by nature and gives the reader a tool set for tackling all of life’s challenges in and out of the hospital. Super performing is a lifestyle of excellence, hard work, preparation, commitment, and focus. Integrate this approach to your medical school studies, research endeavors, clinical experiences, and leadership opportunities and you will march closer to the success you desire.
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