The Wisdom of the Knife: Zen in the Art of Surgery (Paperback)
SURGERY, like any other physical or performance art, and life itself, is more mental than physical. It doesn't matter how talented you are. If you can't control you mind, you really won't be a good surgeon. The best surgeons learn to use their mind as a tool. This collection of stories is a reflection on the art of surgery and what goes on in a surgeon's mind. How you stand, how you breathe, how you think, all of these affect performance not only in the operating room but in every aspect of life. How good are you at making decisions? What's your attitude toward mistakes? How do you deal with complications? With uncertainty? What does karma have to do with surgery? What is karma? Are you a buddha in the OR? There is a certain zen to doing surgery well. This book, like a good meditation, is meant to make you pause and reflect, to look at the art of surgery in another way. That's what Zen is all about. The effort of stepping back - beyond habits, beyond preconceptions, beyond what you think you know - is a means of transcending the self and, in this case, a different, if not deeper, understanding of surgery.
Saad Shaikh grew up in Irvine, California and graduated summa cum laude from UCLA with a bachelor's degree in biohemistry. He received his medical degree from the UC Davis School of Medicine and afterwards completed his residency training in ophthalmology at Stanford followed by a fellowship in retinal surgery at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan. He holds professorships in the Departments of Ophthalmology and Surgery at the Orlando VA Medical Center, Howard University, University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, University of South Florida, University of Central Florida, and Florida State University.