This course will become read-only in the near future. Tell us at if that is a problem.

Get good books on health.

Develop a physical resource library which can be accessed at any time of need.

While the internet can be a good place to look for information, it can often overwhelm with information – much of it of dubious value – rather than shining a helpful light on your personal health issues. Having a few books in your personal library (or knowing where to find them quickly in your local library) that you can turn to in a health pinch is a first step to taking your reponsibility for your health seriously.

The following two books are a good starting point. These are books that I personally reference on a regular basis in my own health journey.

Village Medical Manual (2 volume set, 2009 edition), Dr. Mary Vanderkooi

“With Village Medical Manual, Dr. Vanderkooi has targeted a frequently neglected category of medical caregivers: people who are well-educated in disciplines other than medicine living in rural areas of developing countries. These reluctant healers are frustrated by the unfamiliar jargon of books written for physicians and the lack of depth of health guides written for indigenous people. Through thorough research, extensive experience, common sense, logical arguments of contents, well-defined procedural plans and the use of everyday words, Dr. Vanderkooi has hit her mark very well.”

Neva Abbott, M.D., M.P.H.
Former Director of International Health, Wycliffe Bible Translators


The New Optimum Nutrition Bible (2005), Patrick Holford

Proper nutrition is critical; malnutrition can be a trigger for many strange illnesses that seem to come out of nowhere, including mood and energy disorders. This is the most comprehensive nutrition book that I have found, including invaluable information on signs of deficiency and specific diet advice to combat nutrition-related illness.

What books have become your "go-to" resources for health information?

Task Discussion

  • Eshinee Veith said:

    What I find most helpful about Vanderkooi's book is that it enables you to connect a wide range of symptoms to a wide range of underlying potential causes for those symptoms. Starting with whatever your most dramatic (primary) symptom is, you look up that symptom and make a note of the potential causes. Then, you look up your other symptoms, making note which ones share potential causes with your primary symptom. Once you narrow down your list of potential causes, you can get a sense of which treatments a healthcare professional might recommend. I like to get a solid sense of what I probably have before I even set foot inside a doctor's office, especially if there are a wide variety of treatment options. I look up each potential treatment, noting its side effects and make a preliminary decision about which I would prefer to use before seeing the doctor. Occasionally, a doctor will suggest a treatment that I would consider to be overkill for whatever seems to be the likely condition. In those cases, I will ask about whether or not I might try a less radical approach. Generally, my healthcare providers have responded favorably and allow me to select my own treatments, as long as they are within the range of options that they believe to be appropriate for my condition.

    on Oct. 30, 2011, 4:37 a.m.