As a gynecologist/obstetrician, "Assume the Position: Memoirs of an Obstetrician and Gynecologist" was recommended to me as a book I'd enjoy reading. I did indeed savor the frank discussion of the author's choice of his specialty and more importantly his evolution from an intern/resident at a teaching hospital through a practice which eventually touched the lives of thousands of women, maintained their confidence, and provided them with the joys of child bearing and enriched their lives. A memoir is a very personal statement of whatever has been meaningful in one's life or career. Frequently a memoir fails to connect with the reader because it lacks universal appeal. That's definitely not the case in this memoir. Houck has expressed himself through his own experiences, but each episode is replete with events that are meaningful to women seeking and receiving their health care from a specialist who is able to convey the excitement, the personal involvement, and the sensitivity that should be the gold standard for any obstetrician/gynecologist. Houck is right on target. Exciting events were real and not overly dramatized. He readily points out that in this specialty one must always "expect the unexpected". The author is candid about his own family and their life experiences beyond medicine. Once again, he is able to reach the reader in the earnestness of his motives and puruits. Certainly his missionary time in Africa and his move to Telluride held this reader's interest and created an element of suspense about what this guy is going to do in the next chapter in his life. The author displays a joie de vivre which transmits the sense that life is not a dress rehearsal. It should be lived to its fullest and with commitment and expertise every step along the way. The book was excellent reading for me. It tore me away for 24 hours from the book I was originally reading and enjoying (Anna Karenina) and enabled me to review my own experiences as an obstetrician/gynecologist who has trained students, interns, residents and fellows during my 50 years of an academic career and public service. If my own trainees can express themselves professionally as the author has, I would be extermely proud. Undoubtedly women will also savor this book because of its applicability to their health and its candor.
I write to praise the author not because he and I are old friends, but despite my obvious bias. It is a writer's cliche to promise an "inside" look, but the author definitely delivers here! Rick Houck's experience and observations are compelling and if you've ever had kids, or are thinking about having kids, this is a book you must read. You'll get an understanding of how a professional at the top of his game viewed parents and babies, and what he saw from the other side of the doctor-patient relationship. It's a fast and fascinating read, very informative about every aspect of medical training, including the business side. I salute my friend for having the courage to tell his story in such personal terms, warts and all.
Assume the Position: Memoirs of an Obstetrician and Gynecologist was recently listed as the #1 best seller Ebook on Amazon.com in the Obstetrics and Gynecology category.