PRAISE FOR When to Act and When to Refrain

The letters behind his name—Master American College of Physicians, Fellow Royal College of Physicia — barely scratch the surface of Dr. Marvin J. Stone’s illustrious medical career. As he recalls his decades of medical practice, teaching and research, he prefaces this engaging memoir with the hope that readers will be inspired by the successes of the past and the possibilities of the future of medicine.

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“A career-focused memoir, this ranging book proffers predictions related to forthcoming medical advances and shares knowledgeable recommendations for bringing gaps in health-care systems as they stand.  When to Act and When to Refrain shares details not just about Stone’s own work, but about the colleagues, mentors, and students he worked with, key decisions that he made as a doctor, and some of the unusual patients whom he treated. Pet topics including medical ethics, and medical humanities also receive space In addition, he addresses how much medicine has changed in recent decades including the fact that medicine went from being a field dominated by men into a space also populated by women.”

 ––Foreword Clarion Review

“The writer emerges as a medical professional of strong ethical character,
and with great pride in his chosen work.”

—Publishers Weekly/Booklife Prize

“When to Act and When to Refrain is organized in four parts: Mentors and Training, Patients, Colleagues, and Summing Up. The narrative is spiced with figures, pictures, and appendices.
Dr. Stone does a good job of integrating his stories about treating patients with cancer and interweaving the medical advances that coincided with their treatment. He displays his prowess as a medical historian and has left his mark on medicine and shared it with confidence and clarity. His memoir is highly recommended.”

—The ASCO Post

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“Marvin Stone prefaces this engaging autobiography by stating the purpose “is to convey to anyone interested in a medical career the excitement and fascination intrinsic to becoming and serving as a physician. William Osler, MD, figures prominently among the epigraphs that preface the book’s chapters, which cover such familiar topics as medical education, bioethics, professionalism, and the role of humanities in medicine. Stone concludes by appealing to time-honored ideals and principles, for there will always be the need for judgment to help doctors decide “when to act and when to refrain. As autobiographies go, it is an easy read and remarkably uplifting. It will appeal to a broad readership and will be of value to future historians seeking to understand what will perhaps be designated “the golden age of cancer therapy,” the decades during which clinical oncology came of age.”

—The Oslerian

“Marvin Stone is a classical triple-threat medical academic: accomplished in biomedical research, expert in his clinical field, and revered teacher. For those interested in how such a career trajectory happens, he has written a book of immense value. Dr. Stone is a scholar but not a pedant. His memoir is warm, articulate, accessible, and informative. His book describes a relatively seamless merger of the elements of his career, extending from biochemical and genetic mechanisms of disease to expert and compassionate clinical care. Beyond that, it addresses concern for ethical issues in patient care and research and discusses examples of greats in the history of medicine, especially William Osler–in effect, past mentors who, though now silent, still speak to their clinical descendants. The book will be especially valuable to the young in medicine, from students through trainees to junior faculty. It is a clear, coherent description of the kinds of settings, people, and opportunities that underpin a successful and satisfying career in medicine. It will more than repay the hours spent in its company.”

—Jeremiah A. Barondess, MD,
William T. Foley Distinguished Professor in Clinical Medicine
Weill-Cornell Medical College

“Heavily influenced by the works of William Osler, Stone approached his roles as cancer researcher, administrator, educator, and clinician with unwavering idealism and commitment to professionalism and humanism. This remarkable memoir is a gift to the legions of patients and medical professionals whose lives were enhanced by his guidance and support–and to anyone interested in where medicine has been in the past 60 years and where it’s going.”

—Wendy S. Harpham, MD, FACP
author of
Healing Hope: Through and Beyond Cancer

“A question–‘What am I doing here?’ –begins Marvin Stone’s richly insightful memoir. The pages that follow provide an answer to how he would spend his life: learning, healing, teaching, cheering for Ohio State football (nobody’s perfect), treating others with compassion–and above all serving as a modern manifestation of Sir William Osler. The writing, clear and understated, reflects the man: Think of this book as the opportunity for an extended conversation with a gently inspirational physician/humanist.”

—Dennis M. Kratz, PhD
Ignacy and Celina Rockover Professor of Humanities and Dean,
School of Arts and Humanities, The University of Texas at Dallas

“Marvin Stone has written a splendid memoir. It describes the life of a physician devoted to his profession, his patients, his quest for new knowledge, his students, his principled ideals, and his supportive family. Grounded by superior training, outstanding role models, mentors, and inspirational historical and lifelong colleagues, he describes the excitement of a full medical life. His scholarship, humility, and wonderful capacity for friendship with mentors, patients, and colleagues provide an uplifting read for both those in and out of medicine.”

–William C. Roberts, MD
Editor in Chief,
American Journal of Cardiology and Baylor Proceedings