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Mentors outside of medicine

May 29, 2020

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As physicians, we often have a medicine-centric view… as we probably should. And though I’ve been a mentor to many, I need mentors too, both within and outside of my chosen field. Luckily, it’s never been easier to pick up a mentor. I carry authors and podcasters in my earbuds every day. And the things they teach me impact me enough that I’d consider them true mentors- even if they don’t know me yet. Here are some of my favorite books and media by my own mentors outside of medicine. 

By the way, this post contains affiliate links. That means if you purchase through one of my links, it will benefit this site at NO additional cost to you.

So what do I need mentorship on as a physician? 

Stretching my potential

I’m just finishing a book called The Big Leap, by Gay Hendricks. As I listen to the author read it on Audible, it’s like sitting by the fire, hearing advice from someone’s grand-dad. And I love it. It gets metaphysical at moments, but there is well-grounded wisdom too. Just listen to a sample of the book to hear an example of how the author himself reacted when he couldn’t handle his life going so well. It’s about self-sabotage, and I found myself relating immediately. This book teaches you how to reach your highest potential by getting out of your own way.  

How to set up my day. The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod is an actionable overview of some of the simplest steps you can take to improve your morning routine, and why this matters. A lighter read which doesn’t take a lot of bandwidth, I listened to this on my commute to and from the hospital.

Money mentorship

Thinking bigger and wealthier. Tax-Free Wealth by Tom Wheelwright, CPA was recommended by Dr. Letizia Alto of Semi-RetiredMD. She is a wealth building bad-ass, so I took the recommendation. And as a first generation wealth-builder myself, this book was extremely eye-opening. Like Rich Dad, Poor Dad on steroids, it’s written by a professional who wields the law to save rich and powerful people loads of money. Have you ever wondered just how much you don’t know about U.S. tax law? This guy will give you an overview, infused with some cheesy humor and personal stories along the way. 

Health mentorship

Improving my insulin sensitivity and decreasing my cancer risk. The Obesity Code, by internist Jason Fung, MD, is pretty riveting for a book that starts off with actual biochemistry. I felt myself become enlightened, as I listened to the history of food politics in our country. This history affects us deeply, on an individual and a societal level. If this was required reading in every high school, we’d all be thinner and healthier for it. We’d have lower medical costs, that’s for sure! This book was recommended by Katrina Ubell, MD, whose podcast I’ve enjoyed and admired for a long time. 

Getting re-acquainted with my inner healthy person: Body Love by Kelly Leveque was recommended by B.C. Krygowski, a fellow physician and health enthusiast. I enjoyed reading a book by a nutritionist for a change. As a self-described nerd, Ms. Leveque brings a compendium of research to her approach. And her philosophy is centered around satiety; this girl is focused on killing hunger, not denying it!

Her smoothie recipes are so good, they make even my picky hubby happy. Masquerading as milkshakes, they are filled with some of the healthiest foods around. I top mine with cacao nibs for a lightly bitter crunch, and extra superfood “points.”

Career mentorship outside of medicine

Going deeper in my career and life. In So Good They Can’t Ignore You, Cal Newport dismantles the passion hypothesis and explains our careers to us. The premise is that getting really good at something builds “career capital,” and once you have that, you hold a lot of power. That’s why I share some of the ways in which I’ve built my own career capital, for example in this archived post here.


Wrapping my head around being a “boy mom.” As the mother of a charming and challenging little sprite, it’s my aim to raise him as well as I can. So you’ll find me on mother-son hikes, climbing rocks, and splashing in rivers as I listen to Boy Mom on my headphones. There are a thousand lessons in this book by Monica Swanson, in which she shares personal stories from raising four boys of her own. Although the book gets pretty religious at times, there is a lot of wisdom to apply, even in the context of a secular family. 

Becoming an author

Ideas, Influence and Income by Tanya Hall, the CEO of Greenleaf Publishing, demystifies the publishing world, and the process of building an audience. In this book, aspiring authors learn about the different publishing models, from self-publishing, to the traditional and hybrid routes. Written by a lady boss, with a focus on non-fiction authors, the book spoke to me in many ways. And after devouring it, I headed right to the podcast, another stellar resource for anyone looking to write a book one day.

Learning to write. When my son was born, my heart felt like it cracked wide open. Somehow, Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott opened my heart a little bit more. It’s a book about why we write, and the peculiarities we share as writers. As I read it aloud, I imagined the author and myself cackling over a cup of tea or tequila. Read it to understand your favorite writers, and appreciate them even more. Or read it just to laugh at humanity and our egos. Even a few pages at a time, this book is a joy.  

Mentorship in freedom

Outsourcing & automating to engineer the most impactful, enjoyable life possible: The 4 hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss. OK, I read this one years ago, but I have to mention it. This book taught me to dream again as an adult, as my husband and I read it aloud on a road trip. And although most doctors can’t just skip off to Argentina or say “no” to meetings very easily, it still contains inspiring ideas.

You might consider the practicality of mini-retirements, instead of waiting till 65, for instance. Become acquainted with the concept and benefits of slow travel. You might even hire someone abroad as a virtual assistant! Principles like these remain relevant as I get help with my budding, meaningful enterprise. And while some might not consider it good for the healthcare crowd, I consider it a must-read, just for the audacity of it.

These authors are my mentors without even knowing it. I appreciate them in a whole new way, especially as I prepare to publish a book of my very own in October.

Consider picking up a few mentors outside of your specialty, or outside of medicine altogether. In this amazing time in history, it’s never been easier to connect with them! 

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  1. abhinav agrawal says:

    that’s awesome written Mam . Guess every physician women or men requires a mentor on some form. these examples are good and I liked one with parenting..
    with your permission and blessing I am planning to be short author. and planning to discuss with you in this platform by reading your blogs.
    thank you mam

  2. Dawn says:

    I cannot believe how many books you’ve recently read! Great post with a unique twist. Adding some of these to my list and moving others already there to the top ????

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