What books are you reading for fun?

Asking what books you are reading for pleasure is a classic interview question not just for residency interviews but for an interview in any field or job. Interviewers are assessing to see if you are a well rounded individual. The books you are reading can spark unique conversation topics that influence the rest of the interview.

What To Do

Pick out 2-3 books you are reading and be prepared to speak about them extensively. Interviewers may have read one of the books you mention; you want to ensure you can speak about each book you mention in extensive detail.

What Books Should You Discuss

There are different strategies you can take. You could choose a book or series that you love. If you are re-reading Harry Potter for the 8th time, then mention that. If you are reading Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat, I might choose a more substantive book to mention.

Alternatively, you could discuss a book that you can tie back to who you are as an applicant and reinforces why a program should take you. You might mention that you are reading a book like Peak Performance because you are constantly trying to self improve.

“Lifelong reading is a great skill to have as a human being and physician.”

Dr. Carter J. Boyd, Founder, Med Student Edge

You may also choose to discuss a book that is just something you read for pleasure. That is perfectly okay, just know that what book you mention will be used to gain insight into who you are. I would personally recommend not mentioning books that might be controversial or politically charged. Keep everything positive and focused on why they should rank you to match.

What Not To Do

Do not say that you do not read anything outside of medicine or that you only have time for your required readings for medical school. Though your intention may be to show that you are dedicated towards learning as much as you can in medical school, you will come across as a one-dimensional applicant. You know well in advance that the question is coming. Spend a few minutes skimming through an old book you have read or find a new book and start reading it. Lifelong reading is a great skill to have as a human being and physician.

What books are you reading now? Any suggestions for good books to read? Comment below.

Back to more interview question preparation.

Carter J. Boyd, MD, MBA
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