Public Policy

Tips from the Top

Whether your goal is to build your management skills, stay on top of industry trends, or simply continue your education, self-study should be part of your career plans.

There are many resources for ambitious physicians. How does one choose? Here, four hospitalists who have advanced their careers share their favorite resources—the Web sites, books, and periodicals that have helped them and that they recommend to other hospitalists.


Starter Guide for Leadership

Interested in becoming a physician leader? Read the updated edition of A Career Guide for Physician Executives by Barbara J. Linney, MA. The book contains sample resumes, often-asked interview questions, and examples of experience and communication skills needed for success. Available from the American College of Physician Executives at—JJ

Fred A. McCurdy, MD, PhD, MBA, associate dean for faculty development, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center at Amarillo

Dr. McCurdy has an extensive list of resources he regularly recommends to colleagues. The following are a sample from his continually growing list:

  1. “I’m a member of the American College of Physician Executives and find that membership, along with their journal Physician Executive, pretty valuable,” he says.
  2. Other journals he recommends include Academic Medicine. ( and Leader to Leader. (
  3. Any booklet published by the Walk The Talk Company (
  4. The Health Leaders Web site:
  5. “Jim Clemmer has some really good, practical books that [can be generalized] to almost any context,” says Dr. McCurdy. “And he has free information via a newsletter and e-mail bulletins at”

Dr. McCurdy also recommends these books:

  • Leading Others, Managing Yourself by Peter McGunn;
  • Leadership in Healthcare by Carson Dye;
  • Leading Physicians through Change by Jack Silversin and Mary Jane Kornacki; and
  • John P. Kotter’s works on change and change management (e.g., Leading Change and The Heart of Change).

Eric E. Howell MD, director of Collaborative Inpatient Medicine Service, Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, Baltimore

Dr. Howell chairs SHM’s Leadership Committee and says: “I have personal favorites [for reading recommendations]. However, the Leadership Committee is coming up with a list of recommended books.” That list can be found online this month on the SHM Web site (

Here are Dr. Howell’s top six books for hospitalists:

  1. Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In by Roger Fisher, Bruce M. Patton, and William L. Ury. “This is a first, easier book for hospitalists starting out. It doesn’t matter if you’re working on the wards or running a 50-person department. Everyone needs negotiation skills—they’re crucial to being happy and successful.”
  2. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap … and Others Don’t by Jim Collins. “This book is important to hospitalists because many of us have small groups that are good and need to be great. This book has actually helped our practice a good deal.”
  3. 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John C. Maxwell. “Simple and basic, this is a very good book that gives concrete steps for building leadership skills.”
  4. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. “This isn’t a great book, but it’s got important information for people who want to get ahead in life.”
  5. Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin. “My chairman recommended this to each of us. It’s a really good, higher level leadership book for someone in middle or upper management who wants to get to the next level.”
  6. Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis. “This talks about baseball. Lewis compares the Oakland A’s to the New York Yankees. Both teams have been to the World Series … but the Yankees spend loads of cash while Oakland does it by being smarter. They’ve found a way to use little-known statistics to choose players. This book is about measuring your organization—something that hospitalists already do more than any other physician group.”

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