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BJS Bookshelf: The Puzzle People

Authors: Recommendation and article by Gianluca Pellino, BJS Academy SoMe and Associate Professor of Surgery at University of Campania, Naples, Italy, @GianlucaPellino

The book is an autobiography of Thomas Starzl, a famous professor of surgery at the University of Pittsburgh, who was a pioneer of liver transplant surgery. The author narrates the most crucial phases of his life and career, including all the efforts and sacrifices he had to make, and the mockery of colleagues, before the scientific community would accept his theories as valid. However, once this happened, his incredible contribution to the lives of millions of people became apparent.

Why surgeons should read it:

So many factors make this a worthwhile read for surgeons, especially those with an interest in transplant surgery. These factors include the challenges Starzl faced, the strength and energy he put into his work, his indifference to the hatred he attracted from notorious colleagues, and his search for solutions to the problems he encountered along his journey. Sometimes, we need to think outside the box and to focus on what we like doing outside surgery and work. During our time off, opportunities can present themselves. As long as we believe in our ideas, seek help and work hard as a team, success will eventually happen.  And it could change the lives of our patients for good. The legacy left by Starzl and this book are a testimony to how both hard work and teamwork can overcome prejudice.  


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