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Committed: Dispatches from a Psychiatrist in Training

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Adam Stern was a student at a state medical school before being selected to train as a psychiatry resident at one of the most prestigious programs in the country. His new and initially intimidating classmates were high achievers from the Ivy League and other elite universities around the nation. Stern pulls back the curtain on the intense and emotionally challenging lesson Adam Stern was a student at a state medical school before being selected to train as a psychiatry resident at one of the most prestigious programs in the country. His new and initially intimidating classmates were high achievers from the Ivy League and other elite universities around the nation. Stern pulls back the curtain on the intense and emotionally challenging lessons he and his fellow doctors learned while studying the human condition, and ultimately, the value of connection. The narrative focuses on these residents, their growth as doctors, and the life choices they make as they try to survive their grueling four-year residency. Most importantly, as they study how to help distressed patients in search of a better life, they discover the meaning of failure and the preciousness of success.


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Adam Stern was a student at a state medical school before being selected to train as a psychiatry resident at one of the most prestigious programs in the country. His new and initially intimidating classmates were high achievers from the Ivy League and other elite universities around the nation. Stern pulls back the curtain on the intense and emotionally challenging lesson Adam Stern was a student at a state medical school before being selected to train as a psychiatry resident at one of the most prestigious programs in the country. His new and initially intimidating classmates were high achievers from the Ivy League and other elite universities around the nation. Stern pulls back the curtain on the intense and emotionally challenging lessons he and his fellow doctors learned while studying the human condition, and ultimately, the value of connection. The narrative focuses on these residents, their growth as doctors, and the life choices they make as they try to survive their grueling four-year residency. Most importantly, as they study how to help distressed patients in search of a better life, they discover the meaning of failure and the preciousness of success.

30 review for Committed: Dispatches from a Psychiatrist in Training

  1. 4 out of 5

    Petra X on hiatus (or trying to be)

    I had surgery on one of my eyes last week, and waiting for it I only had this book with me so I read it, if I had another I would probably have dnf'd this one. It wasn't that bad a book, but it wasn't the book the title and blurb described. It was over 50% about the author's love life - whole chapters devoted to it - and bonding with his fellow psychiatric trainees over meals, vacations to Mexico and something called a 'Feelings' class. If the book had been entitled 'The lives and loves of a tra I had surgery on one of my eyes last week, and waiting for it I only had this book with me so I read it, if I had another I would probably have dnf'd this one. It wasn't that bad a book, but it wasn't the book the title and blurb described. It was over 50% about the author's love life - whole chapters devoted to it - and bonding with his fellow psychiatric trainees over meals, vacations to Mexico and something called a 'Feelings' class. If the book had been entitled 'The lives and loves of a trainee psychiatrist" it would have been more accurate. And I wouldn't have bought it. The case stories were very sketchy only one or two people described enough so I could imagine them and not well. I really liked the style of Irvin D. Yalom and the neurologists Harold Klawans and Oliver Sacks - the way they described their patients as people who had disorders centred in the mind or brain, rather than just the cases and a bit about the person. The most important parts of the book to the author seemed to be his love life and interaction with his fellow doctors. The ending of the book was extremely disconcerting. It was quite a long passage on the suicide of one of his fellow doctors. But at no point in the book had she been even mentioned. There was no reason for the suicide given, but she was eulogised. We can all say, 'there but for the grace of God go I", but there was no context for this story or at least one I could discern. GR says that 2 stars is 'I liked it', so I will give it 2.5 stars, but not rounded up as although there were parts I enjoyed, the love story, copied text conversations and the ending were not part of them. ____________________ Notes on Reading Both the title and the blurb of the book led me to believe I was going to be reading primarily about a doctor training as a psychiatrist. Neither of them indicate that at least half of the book is devoted to his personal relationships. I find the endless discussion of him and his ex and the two women in his life and his text conversations very boring. Rachel: what do you want to do me: i would like to drink and am otherwise fairly flexible me: food/movie/bar/be outside—​any of those would work for me Rachel: i am starting to get hungry me: what about that sushi place—​Kyufuga? Rachel: eh Rachel: it’s expensive Rachel: and not really THAT good me: are you in the mood for anything in particular? Rachel: idk Rachel: will you eat pho me: what is that Rachel: it’s kind of like a soup Rachel: with noodles and chicken or beef me: yeah, i eat that me: where do you get it? Rachel: at a place that sells pho Rachel: there is one near my house me: okay me: do you want to tell me where it is and meet me there or should I come to your house Rachel: just come here Rachel: idk if there is parking over there Rachel: meters are free after 8 me: ok, come nowish? Rachel: yeah His relationships with his fellow psychiatric trainees bonding over meals out and Mexican vacations aren't any more interesting. The case studies are interesting, but although the author says he is interested in the person, it doesn't come across in the writing. Perhaps I have been spoiled by Irving Yalom and Oliver Sacks et al, who think of the patient as a person first who has a disordered mind, rather than this patient has a disorder and here's a bit about them. I am getting the strong feeling (but not necessarily the correct one) that this book is not only being compared to "House" (tv) in the citations, but was written to be made into a tv show. "Why don't you write about your life as a trainee psychiatrist, include lots about your cohort and your shared problems and how you bond over meals and go on vacations together. And don't forget to include love interest. It should be a bit dramatic. If the book flies, there's going to be no problem getting it sold for a show!" Sort of combination House and Friends. So there has been a lot I've skimmed. I'm just not interested in the girlfriend bit and the long copy and pasted whatsapp conversations are ridiculous. Maybe it will improve? Hopefully.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Meike

    Stern's memoir is a breezy read, telling the story of how he managed to get accepted as a psychiatrist in training at a hospital affiliated with Harvard Medical School and what he experienced during his time as a trainee. At first, the young doctor feels intimidated and lonely in this new environment, and like most people starting complex jobs after a long and expensive stretch of highly theoretical training gets overwhelmed by the reality of his profession - so yes, the blurb doesn't lie when i Stern's memoir is a breezy read, telling the story of how he managed to get accepted as a psychiatrist in training at a hospital affiliated with Harvard Medical School and what he experienced during his time as a trainee. At first, the young doctor feels intimidated and lonely in this new environment, and like most people starting complex jobs after a long and expensive stretch of highly theoretical training gets overwhelmed by the reality of his profession - so yes, the blurb doesn't lie when it connects the book to TV shows like "Grey's Anatomy", but the fact that Stern and his peers deal with mental disorders gives the genre a new, interesting twist. Unsurprisingly, Stern finds comraderie and grapples with his self-image until he gains confidence and yes, there's a woman, yada yada yada. The whole love story, while apparently true, reads like the woman involved needs help herself, which I doubt was Stern's intention, and the last remarks about the suicide of another medical trainee who hasn't featured in the text once until then didn't sit well with me. Oh, and of course the whole thing will be turned into some kind of show, movie, web show...not that is has been announced already, but the book and its marketing are one major pitch. But make no mistake, this text, while not the height of literary writing, reflects that its author is interesting and intelligent, and I had a good time reading it and pondering what it means to work in this field of medicine. Stern reveals how he struggles with the fact that psychiatry is no exact science, with the realization that he can't help everybody, and with the related feeling of not being good enough, and it reads like an honest and realistic account. So if you're interested in the profession, this is recommended reading.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Literary Redhead

    I love medical memoirs and COMMITTED is a gem. It chronicles the author’s impactful four-year psychiatry residency. He’s a kind man, willing to share his humanity as he strives to become an excellent shrink while becoming a better man. We follow the vivid stories of his training, his relationships with other stressed colleagues, and poignant insights into patients. His writing is superb and we’re left feeling blessed to know him. Sad note: Dr. Stern was diagnosed at 33 with a virulent form of ki I love medical memoirs and COMMITTED is a gem. It chronicles the author’s impactful four-year psychiatry residency. He’s a kind man, willing to share his humanity as he strives to become an excellent shrink while becoming a better man. We follow the vivid stories of his training, his relationships with other stressed colleagues, and poignant insights into patients. His writing is superb and we’re left feeling blessed to know him. Sad note: Dr. Stern was diagnosed at 33 with a virulent form of kidney cancer, now incurable. He’s currently a psychiatrist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and writes frequently about his experiences online and in print. May this wonderful man beat this thing so many others can benefit from his grace and healing! 5 of 5 Stars Pub Date 13 Jul 2021 Thanks to the author, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and NetGalley for the review copy. Opinions are mine. #Committed #NetGalley

  4. 4 out of 5

    Schizanthus Nerd

    “Patients are people. We are people. Be a person with your patients, and you are already halfway there.” Committed provides an overview of what it’s like to be a resident psychiatrist, from imposter syndrome to applying textbook knowledge to patients’ lives. Dr Stern was one of 15 residents in “The Golden Class” at Harvard Medical School, the “highest ranked class in the history of the program”. In this book, he explores the highs and lows of these four years in three Parts (years three and fo “Patients are people. We are people. Be a person with your patients, and you are already halfway there.” Committed provides an overview of what it’s like to be a resident psychiatrist, from imposter syndrome to applying textbook knowledge to patients’ lives. Dr Stern was one of 15 residents in “The Golden Class” at Harvard Medical School, the “highest ranked class in the history of the program”. In this book, he explores the highs and lows of these four years in three Parts (years three and four are combined). There was a greater focus on the other members of the class than I had expected. I loved Feelings class, where the residents were able to bond, process the emotions they experienced as interns and learn to “never worry alone”. I also hadn’t anticipated the amount of time dedicated to Dr Stern’s dating experiences during his internship. It was probably because of her name but it started to feel like I was in an episode of Friends when Dr Stern was figuring out if he should ever kiss Rachel. I did eventually get sucked into the ‘will they or won’t they?’ though. “Always find out about the people behind your diagnoses. That’s the most important part of this whole deal.” I enjoyed Dr Stern’s writing style and would be interested in reading about patients he treated after his time as an intern. I felt I got to know Jane reasonably well and loved her, although I’m not sure if it was because of or despite her constantly challenging Dr Stern. When I read Lori Gottlieb’s Maybe You Should Talk to Someone I couldn’t help becoming emotionally invested in the lives of her patients. While I was interested in Dr Stern’s other patients’ stories, I didn’t become invested in most of them. Much of this could be put down to the transitory nature of residency; oftentimes Dr Stern would be introduced to a patient, start to treat them and then move on to a new rotation, not knowing how the patient fared over the long term himself. Content warnings include (view spoiler)[bullying, child abuse, death by suicide, eating disorders and mental health (hide spoiler)] . Thank you so much to NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for the opportunity to read this book. Blog - https://schizanthusnerd.com

  5. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    I received an eARC from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Committed: Dispatches from a Psychiatrist in Training is Dr. Adam Stern’s memoir about his residency at Harvard. Coming from a family where his father is a doctor, Adam always knew that was his path in life. While he did not get into a prestigious medical school, he was picked for one of the most elite medical programs in the country for residency. Dr. Stern struggles with f I received an eARC from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Committed: Dispatches from a Psychiatrist in Training is Dr. Adam Stern’s memoir about his residency at Harvard. Coming from a family where his father is a doctor, Adam always knew that was his path in life. While he did not get into a prestigious medical school, he was picked for one of the most elite medical programs in the country for residency. Dr. Stern struggles with feeling as if he does not belong, especially since all of his classmates came from the Ivy League and other elite medical schools. What if I’m a fluke? Through his four year residency, Stern learns a lot of important lessons while trying to prove to himself he is not an imposter. The story focuses on the real problems Adam and each of his fellow residents face while on the road to becoming doctors. While Adam focuses on the emotional side of things and the problems faced, there is a ton of stories in here too. From dealing with patients who were forcefully committed, to those in the Emergency Room, and eventually those seeking outpatient care— this book has it all. Not only does this focus on his experiences at the hospital, but there’s a sprinkle of his love life throughout the story. I found this book to be very intriguing and I loved how the medical jargon was explained easily for one to follow. I tended to skip over some prescription names, but overall I was never confused as to what was going on. The story focuses on Dr. Stern’s experiences and how he dealt with them, which I found fascinating. He faces real issues and I love how he was even willing to talk about the stigma of Psychiatrists seeking therapy of their own when needed. Adam goes through some tough times, but along the way he finds love— not only with another person, but with his career. I would definitely recommend this book to someone who likes medical drama shows, who wants to learn more about the experience of medical residency, or who just wants a well told story!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Plunkett

    Do you like Grey's Anatomy and have a goal to read more non-fiction books this year? Then boy do I have good news for you; Committee by Adam Stern was fun and insightful. I loved hearing about his formative experiences in Psychiatry residency and what he learned from his patients. If you're considering med school, pick up a copy to get a real life view into what life after graduation is like. Do you like Grey's Anatomy and have a goal to read more non-fiction books this year? Then boy do I have good news for you; Committee by Adam Stern was fun and insightful. I loved hearing about his formative experiences in Psychiatry residency and what he learned from his patients. If you're considering med school, pick up a copy to get a real life view into what life after graduation is like.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    Plot: In this memoir, we encounter Dr. Stern who is doing an internship to be a psychiatrist. We hear about what it is like to do the rounds and hear some amusing and sometimes sad encounters with some of the patients that he encounters. What I Liked: - I enjoyed the different anecdotes about the patients. I found his treatment of them to be very interesting as well as how different the problems they dealt with were. What I Didn't Like: - I could have done with more patient stories and less about the Plot: In this memoir, we encounter Dr. Stern who is doing an internship to be a psychiatrist. We hear about what it is like to do the rounds and hear some amusing and sometimes sad encounters with some of the patients that he encounters. What I Liked: - I enjoyed the different anecdotes about the patients. I found his treatment of them to be very interesting as well as how different the problems they dealt with were. What I Didn't Like: - I could have done with more patient stories and less about the author's love life. Final Thoughts: This was a good read and one that I read in two sittings over the course of an insomnia filled night!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kayo

    Interesting read. Liked hearing about his outside personal life as well. Nice book. Thanks to author, publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read this book. While I got the book for free, it had no bearing on the rating I gave it.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Hillarie (Hillareads)

    Committed is a memoir that follows the author, Adam Stern, through his four years as a psychiatry resident at Harvard Medical School, where he and his fellow classmates were dubbed "The Golden Class" due to their combined rankings and talents. The book is split into three parts: Year One, Year Two, and then a combined Years Three and Four. Not only are we introduced to some of the patients who influenced Stern throughout his journey, we also get to know many of his classmates and mentors. I enjoy Committed is a memoir that follows the author, Adam Stern, through his four years as a psychiatry resident at Harvard Medical School, where he and his fellow classmates were dubbed "The Golden Class" due to their combined rankings and talents. The book is split into three parts: Year One, Year Two, and then a combined Years Three and Four. Not only are we introduced to some of the patients who influenced Stern throughout his journey, we also get to know many of his classmates and mentors. I enjoyed watching him grow from a cautious intern to a confident doctor throughout the book. I cared about the outcomes of his patients and felt some of his frustrations throughout the process. Stern did an excellent job of showcasing his own humanity and shortcomings in the book. People often have unrealistic expectations of medical professionals, but they're people too. It was good to see how Stern dealt with his life outside of his residency program, especially relationships. I suspected who he might end up with, but it was still satisfying to see it happen after some disastrous missteps. I've never watched Grey's Anatomy, so I can't attest to the comparison, but this book DID remind me of some of the darker moments in Scrubs, from the impostor syndrome to the trauma that comes with losing a patient. But that is where the comparisons end. This book is not one to go into if you might find some topics triggering, such as suicide, bullying, eating disorders, and abuse. Overall, this book was an easy read and definitely one I'd recommend to people who find psychology and psychiatry interesting. With the first two parts focusing on an entire year and the final part covering two years, the conclusion felt somewhat rushed, but I'm not sure there is an ideal way to address that without making the book too long for a memoir. Although this book is nonfiction, the book also feels accessible for people who primarily read fiction. Note: I received an e-ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Molly Schineller

    Absolutely adored the book. Such a great peek into psychiatry residency and such a pleasant and enjoyable love story to read. Had a smile on my face for most of it, and was brought to happy tears at the end. Couldn’t be better

  11. 4 out of 5

    Bonny

    Committed is the memoir of Dr. Adam Stern during his four years of psychiatric residency at Harvard. It's an interesting story, and more than that, the story of one man's growth from an unsure first-year resident to becoming (somewhat) more sure of himself and his abilities to practice psychiatry. He also grows as a classmate, teacher, husband, and human being. It was surprising to me to read that even at Harvard, Dr. Stern and his fellow residents often felt like impostors and sometimes even fa Committed is the memoir of Dr. Adam Stern during his four years of psychiatric residency at Harvard. It's an interesting story, and more than that, the story of one man's growth from an unsure first-year resident to becoming (somewhat) more sure of himself and his abilities to practice psychiatry. He also grows as a classmate, teacher, husband, and human being. It was surprising to me to read that even at Harvard, Dr. Stern and his fellow residents often felt like impostors and sometimes even failures when they were unable to help their patients. He comes to learn that the slogan "Never worry alone" told to the residents by their attending physicians is valuable advice. I knew I would never be the version of the mythical Harvard psychiatrist that had existed in my mind four years earlier. I had seen too many examples of shared humanity among the patients and those trying to help them to be hung up on formalities. The space where that psychiatrist has once existed in my mind had been filled instead with hard-earned truths about what it means to connect to those people around you, to commit to them, and to purposefully keep moving forward.Those are words that all of us can live by whether we are psychiatrists, patients, or simply average people trying to maintain our connections with others. Thank you to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of the book.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mediaman

    Simple-minded overview of a psychiatric resident’s four years at Harvard. It hits all the stereotypical notes regarding mentally ill people and the unstable professionals that treat them. The book certainly makes me trust psychiatrists even less than I already do since it seems like they consider drugs the solution to everything, their verbal therapy is intentionally vague with no suggestions given that could enact change, and they have such a low success rate. As the author says during his fina Simple-minded overview of a psychiatric resident’s four years at Harvard. It hits all the stereotypical notes regarding mentally ill people and the unstable professionals that treat them. The book certainly makes me trust psychiatrists even less than I already do since it seems like they consider drugs the solution to everything, their verbal therapy is intentionally vague with no suggestions given that could enact change, and they have such a low success rate. As the author says during his final year of residency, he feels like he still doesn't know what he's doing and in truth most don't until they retire. There is a side story where he falls in love with a resident that's a year older but they refuse to tell anyone else they're dating until after they're engaged and she leaves for her first job. Along with their whole hidden logic sounding crazy the author includes back and forth text or email messages between the two of them that stop the book dead in its tracks. It's incredibly boring and has nothing to do with the main topic. As a matter of fact there's very little actual successful psychiatry in this book. Through it all Stern manages to overpraise himself constantly. Dozens of times he mentions compliments he gets from patients, colleagues, and other residents--it gets to be ridiculous when he has to tell us he had the top score in his class when he graduated. Sorry Adam Stern but that means nothing when it comes to treating patients or being good as a doctor. There really is very little to this and the only people who should read it are those who plan on going into the profession. It may scare them away from the career because you discover that psychiatrists that think they can seriously help others are the ones who need to be committed.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kiersten

    This was not the book I expected from reading the description, but much more. While yes, it is the story of Adam Stern arriving at Harvard Medical School for this psychiatry residency program with a serious case of impostor's syndrome - it shows his journey from idealistic medical student generally "wanting to help people" to a compassionate caregiver discovering his strengths and how he can best use these to do so without losing himself in the process. What I really didn't expect was how Stern' This was not the book I expected from reading the description, but much more. While yes, it is the story of Adam Stern arriving at Harvard Medical School for this psychiatry residency program with a serious case of impostor's syndrome - it shows his journey from idealistic medical student generally "wanting to help people" to a compassionate caregiver discovering his strengths and how he can best use these to do so without losing himself in the process. What I really didn't expect was how Stern's memoir is mostly about relationships - with his family, his patients, colleagues, mentors, dating partners and ultimately spouse - and how his residency program informs all of these, for better or worse. A quick-moving yet insightful and fulfilling read, with a lot of heart. Thank you to NetGalley, Mariner books, and the author for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Bex

    Committed is to psychiatry what The Secret Teacher is to teaching and This is Going to Hurt is to junior doctors. You really feel like you get inside Adam's head as he navigates his challenging residency at Harvard: you feel his frustration and tiredness come through, but you also get a building sense of optimism as he becomes more sure of himself as a psychiatrist. This book was full of pathos and I would highly recommend it - especially to fans of the two texts mentioned above. Thank you to Adam Committed is to psychiatry what The Secret Teacher is to teaching and This is Going to Hurt is to junior doctors. You really feel like you get inside Adam's head as he navigates his challenging residency at Harvard: you feel his frustration and tiredness come through, but you also get a building sense of optimism as he becomes more sure of himself as a psychiatrist. This book was full of pathos and I would highly recommend it - especially to fans of the two texts mentioned above. Thank you to Adam Stern, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    I absolutely loved this book. This was a brilliant behind the scenes look at what it takes to earn the title of psychiatrist. Dr. Stern shared his experience while honoring the patients’ needs and giving them dignity. This was also a fascinating look at Harvard’s program and the clinical and mentoring opportunities to which their students have access. Disclosure: I received this copy as a Goodreads giveaway.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Camille Oquendo

    RTC! Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for providing me an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    I was very disappointed in this book. I was hoping for insight into what it is like to be a psychiatrist and lots of interesting stories about patients. Instead this book focused on how busy the author was during his residency, and his dating struggles. Pages were filled with transcripts of text message conversations between the author and his fellow female residents and later his girlfriend about topics as benign as which apartment the body butter was at. I also had a hard time relating to the a I was very disappointed in this book. I was hoping for insight into what it is like to be a psychiatrist and lots of interesting stories about patients. Instead this book focused on how busy the author was during his residency, and his dating struggles. Pages were filled with transcripts of text message conversations between the author and his fellow female residents and later his girlfriend about topics as benign as which apartment the body butter was at. I also had a hard time relating to the author. He several times states in the same sentence that he went into medicine because he had a desire to help people and because of the high salary physicans make, which is honest but a bit offputting. He also states that he comes from a family of physicians: his father is a physician, and his brother is also in medical school. Although the family he was born into is of course not his fault, it is difficult to relate to a person whose biggest insecurity when starting a residency at Harvard is that they went to med school at a public university. There are other memoirs about residency and psychiatry that are much more engaging and insightful.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Aaron

    This was another I received from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest thoughts, and I was only too eager to give them. When I requested “Committed,” everything about it spoke to me. I come from a family of medical professionals on both my and my wife’s side, and I’ve seen the rigors of medical residency up close. I’d heard some stories about how taxing a psychiatric rotation during a residency program can be, and was very excited to dig in to a memoir from someone who had felt t This was another I received from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest thoughts, and I was only too eager to give them. When I requested “Committed,” everything about it spoke to me. I come from a family of medical professionals on both my and my wife’s side, and I’ve seen the rigors of medical residency up close. I’d heard some stories about how taxing a psychiatric rotation during a residency program can be, and was very excited to dig in to a memoir from someone who had felt that calling and lived that journey all the way through. Let me back up a bit. “Committed” is the story of Dr. Adam Stern, a memoir of his time as a resident at the prestigious Harvard School of Medicine. His chosen discipline? Psychiatry. And contained within are four years of some pretty brutal honesty about what it’s like to learn to be a doctor - in this case, to take responsibility for the mental well being of another human. It’s not something that should be taken lightly, and Stern clearly doesn’t. It’s just one of the many sources of anxiety he faces. Impostor syndrome, lack of confidence in skills, loneliness, and romantic struggles all plague him - and other members of his class - through his time at Harvard. It could all make for very dry reading, but it really doesn’t. It’s pretty light, in fact, rolling along and easy to read. The problem is it feels, for lack of a better term, unpolished. Some themes are belabored while others aren’t given enough attention. Some side characters are really fleshed out, while some important ones are not. Despite the easiness of the read, it can be frustratingly incomplete at times. All in all, I really did enjoy it. I just thought it needed more balancing to really make it complete. I’ve got so much respect for Dr. Stern and everyone like him. If you’re thinking about jumping in to medicine or know someone who is, give them a copy of this. Let them read what it’s like, and give them another way to measure if they think they have what it takes. Plus, they get a good read out of it! 3/5 stars.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Bagus

    “Can a psychiatrist consult about their problems and get help from another psychiatrist? Do you feel like you don’t belong in the place where you are doing your dream job now?” Those are two important questions that linger in Adam Stern’s mind as he began his residency at Harvard Longwood. This is my second medical memoir after When Breath Becomes Air. Adam Stern was a medical student at a state school in New York before getting matched as a psychiatrist in resident at Harvard Longwood. At first, “Can a psychiatrist consult about their problems and get help from another psychiatrist? Do you feel like you don’t belong in the place where you are doing your dream job now?” Those are two important questions that linger in Adam Stern’s mind as he began his residency at Harvard Longwood. This is my second medical memoir after When Breath Becomes Air. Adam Stern was a medical student at a state school in New York before getting matched as a psychiatrist in resident at Harvard Longwood. At first, he felt as though he did not belong there as some of his co-residents are graduates from Ivy Leagues and other prestigious medical schools, whereas he came from a virtually unknown academic institution. But it is through his story while doing residency that is split into four parts, corresponding to the four years duration that a resident has to go through in order to become a full-fledged psychiatrist, that Adam Stern finally finds his commitment to this field and find his sense of belonging. I have read several books previously about mental healthcare, but never one that is written from the perspective of a psychiatrist (outside of Freud’s works, of course). The words that Adam Stern use are easy to digest, without discounting his own anxieties and insecurities about his job as a resident. One of the funniest stories is of course his attempt to find a date throughout his residency. As a psychiatrist in resident, he was tasked with demanding workloads that could take more than 80 hours per week to attend to patients’ needs and finishing paperwork, which practically left him with little time to socialize outside his job. It paints a picture of how psychiatrists are humans too and they need to cope with their own insecurities while also getting exposed to the neurotic cases brought about from interactions with their patients. Adam Stern is not afraid to describe his own shortcomings throughout his story, from his failure to secure dates with prospective girlfriends, facing failure as one of his patients committed suicide, as well as coming to see another psychiatry since he could not deal alone with the mental difficulties plaguing his mind after his patient’s suicide. Honestly, I find reading Adam Stern’s words therapeutic since I could relate with his feeling of not belonging and his capacity of reflecting on his failures that taught him to move further in life. Adam Stern focuses his story on two points. First, his experience as a psychiatrist in residence. Second, his dating life during his residency. These two points interchange frequently and there might be people getting disappointed for wishing to read something more serious and academic about the experience of a psychiatrist. But I find that the frequent interchanges is a good way to relax throughout the reading of this memoir and maybe we could sympathize further and say that doctors (especially psychiatrists) have their needs of finding a work-life balance away from their hospitals too.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Nate

    Dr. Stern describes his residency experience as a psychiatrist, covering his intern year and 2nd year with particular depth. He describes the emotional journey he has from fear of messing up and doubts about his specialty at the beginning to his imposter syndome as he reaches the end of his residency. The writing features some creative license, including frequent dialogue exchanges between Stern, his friends, and his patients, making the book more readable and less dry. From Stern's patient inte Dr. Stern describes his residency experience as a psychiatrist, covering his intern year and 2nd year with particular depth. He describes the emotional journey he has from fear of messing up and doubts about his specialty at the beginning to his imposter syndome as he reaches the end of his residency. The writing features some creative license, including frequent dialogue exchanges between Stern, his friends, and his patients, making the book more readable and less dry. From Stern's patient interactions, there's very little medical information, more focus placed on character creation and Stern's personal relationship with the patient. I don't know how applicable this dynamic would be to other residencies, where the focus is on learning how to medically treat a patient as opposed to developing this connection. There's, of course, a decent amount of focus on the 20-something's romantic experience and he does end the book happily married, but the entire relationship seemed uncomfortable for much of the book. It felt underdeveloped, understandably so due to the author's wife's more private inclinations, but something that didn't necessarily have to be included with the frequency that it did if it wasn't going to be explored fully. Something I particularly appreciate from this memoir is the author's description of his periodic periods of psychiatric visits to deal with his questions. Maybe it's easier for psychiatrists to talk about this since it's their field and it's moe normalized, but it has broader applications, particularly since Stern comes out of residency with awards, scores, and positions that make him seem like #1 in his classs. The main gripe I had with this book came at the end. One of the residency classmates committed suicide a few years after the residency ended and the class gathered together again to remember her. However, she was one of the few people in this program (at least 8 of the people in his year of the program were somewhat prominently featured) who was not mentioned previously in any aspect. It felt disingenuous for her to show up without much context, particularly when the moment described did not seem particularly impactful to the author. Overall, one of the few residency books that didn't leave me feeling that it was impossible. A free e-copy of this book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

  21. 5 out of 5

    Nicki Jo

    Committed is a very good glimpse of Adam Sterns experiences both personally and professionally as a psychiatrist in training. His writing is both honest and open and allows the reader to follow along as he prepares pursuing his medical career. As a retired RN, I was familiar with some of the hospital settings described and many of the medications mentioned which made the book very familiar. This book, in my opinion, is a good read that I would recommend.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Margaret Feldman

    Adam Stern’s relatable writing style makes him a wonderful narrator who is capable of making heavier and headier medical events, scientific terms, and psychiatric concepts very understandable to a non-medical professional reader. He pulls back the curtain on the science behind mental health and humanizes the people within the profession, all while sharing the wisdom he gained throughout his years while in residency at Harvard. I loved reading this book and am grateful Adam shared his story in su Adam Stern’s relatable writing style makes him a wonderful narrator who is capable of making heavier and headier medical events, scientific terms, and psychiatric concepts very understandable to a non-medical professional reader. He pulls back the curtain on the science behind mental health and humanizes the people within the profession, all while sharing the wisdom he gained throughout his years while in residency at Harvard. I loved reading this book and am grateful Adam shared his story in such an adept and engaging memoir!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Carrie Hinchman

    I absolutely adored this book. As a med student, it was really comforting to hear about his experience with impostor syndrome and how he coped and bonded with his co-residents. As a former colleague of Dr. Stern’s, this was a really fun and charming read. I could imagine the way he interacted with his patients and his friends, and reading this almost felt like I was watching a movie in my head. Aside from Dr. Stern, I think my favorite character was Magoo!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Allison Brenner

    This was an easy read that described the author’s experience in residency at Harvard, which was considered prestigious. I really enjoyed learning about his patient’s and colleague’s experiences and how they helped to shape him as a psychiatrist. We were in the same medical school class - my only criticism is that a state university like where we went can also truly afford a superior education with rich patient experiences. I like to think the message is more about the basic humanity that is cons This was an easy read that described the author’s experience in residency at Harvard, which was considered prestigious. I really enjoyed learning about his patient’s and colleague’s experiences and how they helped to shape him as a psychiatrist. We were in the same medical school class - my only criticism is that a state university like where we went can also truly afford a superior education with rich patient experiences. I like to think the message is more about the basic humanity that is consistent in medical interactions, regardless of location.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    Thank you so much to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and #NetGalley for the ARC. This was like Grey's Atanomy x100 and to be honest, it was much more interesting. (I know, I know, but Grey's is getting OLD!) Adam Stern has a great way of telling a story and showing us what he went through with humor and with respect! Thank you so much to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and #NetGalley for the ARC. This was like Grey's Atanomy x100 and to be honest, it was much more interesting. (I know, I know, but Grey's is getting OLD!) Adam Stern has a great way of telling a story and showing us what he went through with humor and with respect!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    Residency sounds grueling—and I know someone going through it right now. She looked tired when I saw her last, but I’m so proud of her!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    An interesting look into the eyes of a resident Psychiatrist. Informative, funny, and wise.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    I was given a digital advanced reading copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I like memoirs. I am interested in mental health. As such, I was drawn to this memoir of a psychiatrist in training. It was fine. Not great or life-changing, but not bad or poorly written. I probably won't recommend it, but it was easy reading which I found enjoyable. I was a bit annoyed by the predictable nature of the insertion of the love story, but I hope his wife finds the addition cute. I was given a digital advanced reading copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I like memoirs. I am interested in mental health. As such, I was drawn to this memoir of a psychiatrist in training. It was fine. Not great or life-changing, but not bad or poorly written. I probably won't recommend it, but it was easy reading which I found enjoyable. I was a bit annoyed by the predictable nature of the insertion of the love story, but I hope his wife finds the addition cute.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Brooke

    First of all thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Before I start this review I just wanted to put a trigger warning as is obvious, this book revolves around people suffering from mental health, primarily those sectioned in a mental health ward. So there’s some mention of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts. So please be wary if either of these will be a trigger to you or cause you emotional distress or harm. • I’m a First of all thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Before I start this review I just wanted to put a trigger warning as is obvious, this book revolves around people suffering from mental health, primarily those sectioned in a mental health ward. So there’s some mention of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts. So please be wary if either of these will be a trigger to you or cause you emotional distress or harm. • I’m a big advocate for mental health, as a fellow sufferer, so I’m really fascinated by pretty much anything to do with it. So, being able to read an honest anecdote of a trainee psychiatrist in a psych ward seemed right up my street. I found this to be a truly interesting and fascinating memoir into a trainee psychiatrists day to day life. I’ve never really given much thought into how much is required of interns and how quickly you’re pushed off the deep end straight off the bat. I do think it’s viral that these sorts of professions are discussed because they are so so important. It’s really gripping reading how Dr Adam Stern navigates the world of psychiatry and how turbulent it can be. It can be a very hard read, particularly if mental illnesses/health are close to your heart. You feel your emotions burning in your chest and feel personally distraught for the patients, particularly those who have been released and ended up back in the mental health ward. • One of the only problems I had was that at times, it seemed a bit insensitive. One specific line that made me internally cringe was ‘away from psychotics, depressives and borderlines’ it’s just very reductive and discriminatory. As psychiatrists in training you’d think they’d have a bit more empathy towards those with complex disorders. I know it can be hard to deal with individuals who don’t respond in the way you expect but it’s a much harder job living with such complex and debilitating illnesses. However, if I’m being honest despite the negativity this exudes, it seems to be quite an actuated depiction of mental health services unfortunately. • Despite the negativity I’ve explained, I’ve found this book to be interesting and quite witty at times. It’s a very raw account of what it’s like to be a psychiatrist in training, having little outside life and having to watch as patients deteriorate and struggle beyond your control, and despite your best efforts. It exudes warmth and heartache all in one. I’m really glad I spent time reading this book. ⭐️⭐️⭐️.7/5 (rounded up to 4)

  30. 4 out of 5

    WS_BOOKCLUB

    Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with this book in exchange for my honest opinion. This book will be available on July thirteenth. Committed: Dispatches from a Psychiatrist in Training is an engrossing look into the lives of those learning how to help those with mental illnesses and provide quality mental health care. Told from the perspective of Adam, a psychiatrist-in-training, it follows his life as he tries to navigate the world of mental health care as well as his personal life. I don’ Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with this book in exchange for my honest opinion. This book will be available on July thirteenth. Committed: Dispatches from a Psychiatrist in Training is an engrossing look into the lives of those learning how to help those with mental illnesses and provide quality mental health care. Told from the perspective of Adam, a psychiatrist-in-training, it follows his life as he tries to navigate the world of mental health care as well as his personal life. I don’t read memoirs all that often. In fiction, I do not need to relate to or like a character to enjoy the book- I just want them to be interesting. In nonfiction, it helps if I care about the person the book is about. Adam was supremely human and very open about both his strengths and weaknesses. That takes bravery on the part of the author. He vacillated between feeling very out of his depth and unqualified and seemingly having extreme bouts of self-confidence. I can definitely relate to feeling unqualified as I am well acquainted with Imposter Syndrome in most aspects of my life. I loved seeing Adam’s growth in his ability to properly diagnose and treat patients, but more importantly in his ability to connect with his patients. He realized that his patients are more than just a diagnosis and list of medications: they are real people with unique stories, backgrounds, and experiences. Watching his empathy and understanding grow was an incredibly rewarding experience. The patients themselves were fascinating. I wanted them all to find the help they needed and defeat their personal demons. I could feel the sadness in Adam Stern when a patient was lost (spoiler alert: not every patient has a happy ending). I could also see his excitement and renewed sense of purpose when a patient improved. I did sometimes find the switch from Adam’s psychiatric situations to his dating life a little bit jarring from time to time. I understand why it was there-to highlight the way a profession in mental health affects every aspect of a person’s life- but I struggled to pay attention during those parts. It just wasn’t as interesting to me. Taken as a whole, I found Committed to be a fascinating look at life as a mental health expert. It is an important profession, when taken up by caring individuals, and I have the utmost respect for Dr. Adam Stern for the aid he is able to provide.

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