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Reviewed by Mamta Madhavan for Readers' Favorite
Surviving Arrogance: How a Patient Saved the Soul of a Surgeon by S. David Nathanson MD is a memoir dedicated to the author's patient Marianne who influenced his life and made him aware of his arrogance and egotistical nature. The book showcases the author's personal stories about his experiences with his patients, and how he developed courage, persistence, honor, duty, responsibility, and ambition during his training. He speaks about how his astounding victories in his surgeries made him feel like a superhero which led to him ending up with a giant ego. It is finally Marianne, his patient, who leads him to his awakening and makes him realize that every patient is sacred, and he attributes this awakening to his growth and allowing him to learn and share skills more effectively.
Surviving Arrogance is about rediscovering humanity and S. David Nathanson's rebirth by getting rid of his arrogant, egotistical, and narcissistic behavior. He speaks about his meeting with Marianne, a twenty-three-year-old woman who was diagnosed with a rare malignant abdominal tumor. Though she almost died in her twenties, he speaks about how she went on to live for three decades thanks to modern medicine, alternative therapies, and faith. He speaks about how she unknowingly exposed him to himself. This was the beginning of his recognizing the beauty of another person, not only in their anatomy, pathology, and physiology but also their beautiful souls. The surgeon's transformation from that of an arrogant man to someone who is thankful and grateful to people after shedding his previous personality is encouraging. It is motivating for readers to read about the conditions created for his rising consciousness and awareness, which played a huge role in helping him escape his arrogant egotism and become human.