Dr. Brian Goldman is a veteran ER physician, an award-winning medical reporter and the host of CBC Radio’s White Coat, Black Art. He is also the author of The Night Shift and The Power of Kindness.
His latest bestselling book, The Power of Teamwork, explores how a team approach to medicine can improve more than our health-care systems. From more effective customer service to improving the performance of professional sports teams and even helping women break the glass ceiling, the teamwork mindset is shifting our culture.
“Teamwork is the road to better job satisfaction in health care, safer culture, fewer mistakes, higher productivity and a greater sense of joy and ecstasy in your everyday work. And you don’t have to work in health care to benefit from this, ” said Dr. Goldman, who wrote his latest book during the pandemic.
As a writer of nonfiction, Dr. Goldman enjoys reading within the genre. He spoke with CBC Books about some of the books he enjoyed reading during the COVID pandemic.
The Spy and the Traitor and Double Cross by Ben Macintyre
“I’m an author of nonfiction books, so you won’t be surprised if I tell you that all of the books that I’m recommending here are nonfiction. Let’s start with The Spy and the Traitor: The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War by Ben MacIntyre. It is about a KGB agent — a Russian spy — who goes to Denmark and ends up becoming an agent for MI6. So basically he’s a double agent.
It’s the craft that I’m interested in — he’s telling stories of people who are largely dead.
“Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies was basically about the campaign to take German citizens and turn them into spies for British intelligence during the Second World War. It’s a bit of an unknown story because it tells the story of how these double agents helped the British nail down the best landing spot for what became the invasion of Normandy on D-Day.
“Why do I love those stories? It’s because Ben Macintyre is a master at creative nonfiction. It’s the craft that I’m interested in — he’s telling stories of people who are largely dead. And in many cases, he’s talking to their children as witnesses. He’s reading archival records and he’s breathing life into them — he’s putting you in the room where it happens.”
Writers and Company1:02:00Ben Macintyre tells the fascinating true story of the only woman to become a top Soviet spy
Red Notice and Freezing Order by Bill Browder
“Red Notice was the first book by Bill Browder. And of course, his book Freezing Order is at the top of the bestseller list. I’m excited about both of these books because, in a minor kind of way, Browder and I share backgrounds. We’re both Jewish. His grandfather was the Communist candidate for the President of the United States. My grandfather was a big union maven with the International Garment Workers Union.
“Browder went to the former Soviet Union as a venture capitalist to create a venture-capital fund. Eventually, as the kleptocracy began to form with the oligarchs, he realized that that was a thorn in the side of Putin himself.
“I think everybody has become interested in what Browder has to say because of the invasion of Ukraine and the role of oligarchs as a way of getting Putin. But I was interested in Browder’s work before the invasion, and I guess that was the reason why for sure.”
TheCurrent23:39Bill Browder on facing ‘Putin’s wrath’ for exposing corruption in Russia
Stolen Focus by Johann Hari
“I’ve got a lot of personal and professional responsibilities. I, like Johann Hari, have noticed that my attention span has plummeted. I’m finding that it’s difficult for me to focus on any one thing for any period of time, which kind of begs the question how I was able to write The Power of Teamwork.
It seems as if the world is moving faster and faster. This book spoke to me because I’m as guilty as anyone else of suffering from low attention span these days.
“There are certain things that have resonated from reading that book. Particularly, in this pandemic era, it seems as if the world is moving faster and faster. It’s not giving us time to dwell on any one thing. This book spoke to me because I’m as guilty as anybody else of suffering from low attention span these days, especially with social media, smartphones and being addicted to Twitter.”
The Sunday Magazine26:11Technology took away our ability to focus, but Johann Hari says it’s not too late to get it back
Dr. Brian Goldman’s comments have been edited for length and clarity.