Now available in paperback!
The audiobook version is also available:
Listen to an excerpt from the audiobook:
Medicine, Mindfulness, and Humanity
Attending is the first book about mindfulness and medical practice written for patients, their families, and for doctors and others providing health care. It is a groundbreaking, intimate exploration of how doctors approach their work with patients. From his early days as a Harvard Medical School student, Ronald Epstein saw what makes good doctors great, how they deliver more accurate diagnoses, make fewer errors, and build stronger connections with their patients. This set the stage for his life's work—identifying the qualities and habits that distinguish master clinicians from those who are merely competent. The secret, he learned, was mindfulness.
Drawing on his clinical experiences and current research, Dr. Epstein explores four foundations of mindfulness — Attending, Curiosity, Beginner's Mind, and Being Present — and shows how clinicians can grow their capacity to provide high-quality care. In today's commodified health care system, with physician burnout at an all-time high, Dr. Epstein offers a model for doctors, patients, and their families on how to approach medical decisions mindfully and collaborate to achieve the best level of care for everyone.
Praise for Attending
Arnold R. Eiser, MD, MACP, The Pharos
Rheta Van Winkle, BookLoons
Viviane Crystal, Crystal Book Reviews
Milena Barrett, Be Your Best Mom
Book Review: "Why We Should All Care If Our Doctors Practice Mindfulness"
Kathy Gottberg, Smart Living 365.com
Book Review: "Head Space: Reviewing the Written Word"
Elissa Ely, Harvard Medicine Magazine
"This book is phenomenal, and will be phenomenally useful to physicians and to all of us who are desperately in need of true health care and caring. It is hard for me to imagine a doctor reading it and not immediately recognizing, taking to heart, and implementing its messages in any number of different ways, being so commonsensical, clear, innately transformative, and healing. And it is equally hard for me to imagine that it will not energize all of us, when we find ourself in the role of "the patient," to demand greater mindfulness from our care-givers across the board, and know what we mean by that."
Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, author of Full Catastrophe Living and Mindfulness for Beginners and founder of MBSR (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction)
"At a time when physicians are being replaced by algorithms and AI, Attending reveals the true roots of healing. One of the best and most relevant books on mindfulness I've ever read."
Dean Ornish, M.D
"Ron Epstein's visionary achievements illuminate the important nature of how physicians care for their patients, and how they can best care for themselves. Attending is the book every medical caregiver needs to strengthen their minds and harness their resilience to care for others—and every patient needs to understand how doctors think. This is a work of heart and head, a beautiful synthesis of inner wisdom and hard earned scientific empirical findings that point the way to proven methods for improving the lives of both giver and receiver of medical care. With clear explanations, captivating stories, and well-described challenges and approaches to their solutions, this book is exactly what the field of medicine needs."
Daniel J. Siegel, MD, author of Mind and The Mindful Brain and Executive Director, Mindsight Institute Founding Co-Director, UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center
"The life of a physician is a journey that explores mind and heart and soul. Here, Ronald Epstein, a consummate clinician, illuminates those domains of life, finding truths for his patients and for himself. This book will educate and inspire both professionals and laymen alike."
Jerome Groopman, author of How Doctors Think
"Ronald Epstein cuts through the cacophony and illuminates the heart of the medical enterprise—the attentive and compassionate connection between doctor and patient. In a world awash with medical error, patient dissatisfaction, and burned-out doctors, this attention to mindfulness is much needed balm. “Attending” is at once penetrating, counterintuitive, and profoundly humbling."
Danielle Ofri, MD, PhD, author of What Patients Say, What Doctors Hear
"I recommend Attending for anyone interested in health. In a most accessible way, Epstein makes a very convincing case for how doctors and patients would prosper from doctors becoming more mindful.”
Ellen Langer, PhD, Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, author of Mindfulness and Counterclockwise: Mindful Health and the Power of Possibility
"ATTENDING got my attention from the opening paragraphs. Beautiful, compelling, and wise stories of how medicine and care-taking can be, (should be) when approached with common sense, a fierce sense of what is best for both the doctor and patient, and a compassionate heart. A timely and important book!"
Marc Lesser, CEO of Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute (SIYLI) and author of Know Yourself, Forget Yourself and LESS: Accomplishing More By Doing Less
"Ronald Epstein truthfully and powerfully describes the challenging and changing worlds of both the physician and the patient. Attending will encourage the recognition that mindfulness and compassion training contribute to effective medicine. The book clearly demonstrates how these contemplative practices can help enrich the lives of everyone involved in health care."
Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness and Real Happiness
"This powerful and inspiring book opens the pathway to bringing care, wisdom, and mindfulness into practice of medicine. A must-read for all clinicians and for lay readers as well."
Joan Halifax, PhD, author of Being with Dying, founder and abbott of Upaya Zen Center
“Epstein presents for general readers a concise guide to his view of what mindfulness is, its value, and how it is a skill that anyone can work to acquire.”
“A deeply informed and compassionate book . . . [Dr. Epstein] tells us that it is a ‘moral imperative’ to do right by our patients. And he shows why and how.”
Lloyd Sederer, M.D., New York Journal of Books
“Vivid . . . Epstein’s candor and courage . . . that makes the book so compelling.”
“Among the best books about how to teach the humanistic aspects of doctoring. Epstein weaves together an insightful collection of experiences that examine the clinician’s situation starting from inside her own mind and ending at the system in which she practices.”
Arnold P. Gold Foundation
“Thoughtful company in times when we’ve never needed thoughtful company more.”
Harvard Medicine Magazine