Welcome to LearningNeurology.com’s book recommendations!
Books are great and will help you learn this wonderful field. The most important two pieces of advice:
1. Only buy books you will read. i.e. it doesn’t matter how good the book is if you don’t read it!
2. If you can, borrow before you buy. It takes at least several days before you know whether or not a book works for your studying style. Medical books are expensive, use your money and your medical school-public library wisely!
I’ve used all of the books listed below, or they have been used by students and colleagues who have benefited significantly from them. If you find a better book contact us and I’ll consider reviewing it.
Also, review our disclosure, this website receives a small commission (at no cost to you) if you buy from the links below. This helps keep our website running.
I recommend you start with 2 main neurology books:
Get and use 1. an introductory neurology text (read all or most of it) and have 2. a reference neurology text handy to use.
1. An introductory neurology text:
This is the book that you will try to read cover to cover, or as close to it as you can. This ensures that you have the basic knowledge without any huge gaps in the basics. The first one I read was over a decade ago. It was an old edition of Clinical Neurology by M. Aminoff and D. Greenberg LANGE, but J. Biller’s book is excellent and might be better. It’s my current recommendation for students starting or preparing for neurology residency. Choose the one that works for you.
Practical Neurology is our current recommendation for most neurology residents or medical students seriously preparing for neurology residency.
I used a much older version of Clinical Neurology when I was preparing for neurology residency. It gave me confidence that I had a good base to move forwards to advance topics. I think Practical Neurology is more advanced than this so I often recommend this to people who want to learn neurology but are not necessary going to become neurologists. Having said that it’s still a good book to use for those starting neurology residency.
2. A reference neurology text:
This is the one that you will refer to when the introductory text doesn’t have the information you need. You’ll also refer to this when you want to look up an uncommon condition or when you are stuck with a patient related question. You’ll be surprised, often looking up the disease or issue in the reference text works faster than searching online!
Neurology in Clinical Practice NICP is a classic reference text in neurology. I currently keep an older copy for quick reference from time to time. It is likely your medical school library will have a copy to check out. It is well organized; it’s easy to look up problems we face in neurology “approach to coma”, and it’s easy to look up conditions we treat e.g. “CIDP” to have a solid foundation about understanding and managing the disease.
A much older edition of Adams and Victor’s Principles of Neurology is the first reference book I used. It is slightly different than “Bradley’s NICP”, in that reading it often feels like having an experienced neurologist talking to you about the disease, e.g. CNS vasculitis, or problem, e.g. memory loss.
What about neurology subspeciality books?
Generally, you don’t need a separate book for movement disorders and one for epilepsy and another for stroke. I recommend you borrow these from your library, or use “book fund” or use employer educational support money for them. Usually, you’ll start reading them after you feel that the reference text isn’t giving you enough depth, or more likely once you’ve decided to develop a subspeciality interest e.g. planning to do fellowship training. Having said that, it is useful to keep at least a neuroimaging book from your library handy when you study early in your training. Alternatively, check our website section for online neuroimaging/neuroradiology resources at least for an early approach to neuroimaging. Here are my picks per subspeciality:
Neurocritical care, NeuroICU:
Out of all the neuroICU books I’ve read and browsed the NeuroICU book is by far the most useful and high yield. It strikes a perfect balance between level of detail and overall practical approach. The chapters are manageable and easy to digest. I wish more medical textbooks were like this! I recommend this to all neurocritical care fellows, and to residents preparing for their neuroICU rotations.
I read Neuroradioloty the requisites the painful old-school way (cover-to-cover) for my neuroimaging boards. You don’t have to do that! It is an excellent book. Well written and with the newer versions the images are excellent! I think the best chapter is the last one. I would read it first! It gives an excellent overall approach to reading images. After that, use the book as a reference text as you come across conditions or to look up topics of interest e.g. demyelinating disease, or degenerative spine disease. Lastly, unlike some of the other books, there is reasonable coverage of spine and spinal cord diseases.
- Osborn’s Brain is a classic.
- It is very high yield and contains facts as bullets instead of long paragraphs of text.
- The images are of excellent quality; for the disease and the differential diagnosis.
- It lists the findings on each sequence T1, T2, FLAIR, T1 post contrast.
- It focuses on the brain so you might want to borrow another book for spine coverage.
- It’s great as a reference or to learn about a topic.
- I still remember the pages in my mind every time I come across an atherosclerotic fusiform aneurysm!
I enjoyed reading Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders. I borrowed it several times during movement disorder rotations. It is very easy to read.
Neuromuscular, peripheral neurophysiology nerve conduction studies and electromyography NCS/EMG:
Preston and Shapiro’s EMG and Neuromuscular Disorders is the commonest book recommended for nerve conduction studies and EMG. It’s easy to follow for a topic that is difficult at first. It is best used prior to and during your NCS/EMG rotations.
Kimura’s electrodiagnosis in disease of Nerve and Muscle is less often recommended but comes as a strong recommendation from a close neuromuscular colleague. He is excellent and has trained far more residents and fellows than I have. I’m not a neuromuscular specialist. If Shapiro’s book doesn’t suit your needs or style, give this one a try!
Stroke, vascular neurology, interventional neurology, endovascular neurology:
Generally my recommendation is to read the American stroke association/American heart association/American academy of neurology guidelines and to read the key original trials for stroke. The stroke chapters in the general neurology text books are sufficient for initial understanding of the general approach and the stroke syndromes. However, they are often out of date. If you are in vascular neurology training and insist on a textbook. Stroke pathophysiology, diagnosis and management is the one to get. It is a reference text by my previous mentor!
This is a great book for the technical aspects of neurointerventional procedures. I used a previous version. Handbook of cerebrovascular disease and neurointerventional technique is my top recommendations for neurointerventional trainees.
Bradac’s Applied cerebral angiography is the book I recommend for residents and fellows who want to learn more about cerebrovascular anatomy. Most neurology residents don’t need to read this book. But I used it (older version) prior to neurointerventional training and it helped me have a good base in relevant cerebrovascular anatomy. It really helped me understand dural arteriovenous fistula. The older version of the book had an outdated stroke treatment section, but that is the most rapidly developing part of neurointerventional therapy.
… or for very advanced cerebrovascular anatomy:
Surgical Neuroangiography vol. 1. by P. Lasjaunias, A. Berenstein, K.G. ter Brugge.
For very advanced readers who are training in interventional neurology (endovascular surgical neuroradiology) the tome for cerebrovascular anatomy and embryology is Surgical Neuroangiography vol. 1. It is no walk in the park but it will take you to a another level of understanding of cerebrovascular anatomy. Avoid reading Surgical Neuroangiography vol. 1. if you are not already in neurointerventional training. In fact even if you are in neurointerventional training it should not be the first thing you read.
What about the neurological exam?
The neurological exam is important. In spite of all of our imaging and other diagnostics the neurological exam is important. It allows patient triage, selection of diagnostic testing, monitoring of treatment response and disease progression and assessment of outcomes of our treatments. Having said that. It is best learned practicing on your friends and colleagues, then on the wards with patients. There are a few texts to help along the way. I will highlight two.
Aids to the examination of the peripheral nervous system by Michael O’Brien
At 72 pages with excellent images and tables this book gives you what you need to learn how to examine the peripheral nervous system. It shows you where to place your hands and how to isolate the movements and reflexes you are trying to examine.
As a busy medical student or resident this book is worth your time and effort. It doesn’t go over central nervous system and higher centers exam but that is not the purpose of the book.
Dejong’s book is the reference text for the neurological exam as far as I understand it. I advise against reading it cover-to-cover. But it is a good book to look up exam techniques or when you aren’t sure about something regarding the neurological exam.
Business of medicine and personal finance:
This may seem like an odd recommendation. But you need to manage your finances whether you are employed in a country with excellent social services, retirement benefits, healthcare and housing, or if you are self-employed in a country where you have to fend for yourself. Either way you have to manage your finances and be able to conduct the business of medicine/neurology.
Personal finance for physicians:
The White coat investor is written with a focus on the USA but the concepts are useful for many other countries. He goes over how the financial industry is not there to help you but you will need to interact with it in some form. This easy to read book will teach you how to manage your personal finances as a physician.
Negotiation is an important part of business life. It is similar to but different than communication. This applies to academic physicians too! You will have to negotiate your compensation, vacation, research resources, time to spend on your academic and clinical interests.
I have recommended a few books here. This is the summary:
- If you are negotiating with someone where the long-term relationship is important use interest-based negotiation as in Getting to Yes.
- If you want to be protected from negotiators who believe in win-lose negotiation use Never split the difference or Start with No, by Jim Camp.
- If you want to buy one book along, use Never split the difference.
Getting to Yes is a great book for negotiating with people when the long-term relationship is important. It is based on interest-based negotiation. It is an excellent book but I would add another book so that you can deal with people who are don’t buy into interest-based negotiation. Either Never split the difference or Start with No, by Jim Camp would be a companion.
Never split the difference, is not about manipulation or about coercing the other party. It is about conducting yourself to reach an agreement by choice that works for both parties. I’ll leave my social commentary about some of the examples for another forum. The book is useful. It is easy to read. Get through it and learn the negotiation part.
The last chapter is actionable but only useful if you have read the book. The book also includes interesting references to some cognitive and behavioural research
I’ve recommended another book below Start with No, by Jim Camp which I really like. If you can, read both. If you had to pick one. I would go with Never split the difference by Chris Voss.
Start with No by Jim Camp is useful. I would recommend it for anyone wanting to learn about negotiations or entering into a negotiation. It took a while for me to understand this book and get through the first chapters, but I think his approach is sound and ethical.
It is about managing your emotions and providing a solid service/product and getting a good outcome. It focuses on what you can control; your process and behavior. It clearly teaches you to manage your needs and wants in a negotiation. It is not about manipulation, but also isn’t about compromise. It is very practical; especially his last 30 or so “rules”. Although the rules won’t make sense unless you’ve read the book. I find myself going back to it time and again.
Communication is an essential skill for a physician. Medical school and residency training is geared towards communication with patients. But what about communicating with colleagues, clinic staff, hospital employees, hospital administration and our own spouses and family! The following recommendations are useful for communication in general. This is a broad topic that overlaps somewhat with negotiation, but is broader. I recommend a communication book plus a negotiation book.
Crucial communications tools for talking when stakes are high by Kerry Patterson gets a solid recommendation. It is broadly useful in improving your communication skills with colleagues, clinic staff, hospital employees, hospital administration and to some degree with patients. It’s also useful for communication with family. It will help you control your emotions and maintain dialogue without being sucked into “flight or flight”. I also like how it covered when and how to employ different decision making methods: command, consulting, voting and consensus.
I usually borrow my books from the university were I work or from the public library. I also have a nice personal library of books I have bought (used and new) with “book fund” money through previous employers. Lastly, I supplemented those a few titles I couldn’t resist with my own money.
These books are available at most medical bookstores. They are also probably available at your university or medical school library. If you buy them through links on our website, we get a small percentage of the purchase price as a commission (although your price remains the same). Thank you for supporting our website.