On the Shoulders of Medicine's Giants

What Today's Clinicians Can Learn from Yesterday's Wisdom

  • Robert B. Taylor

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiv
  2. Robert B. Taylor
    Pages 2-25
  3. Robert B. Taylor
    Pages 26-53
  4. Robert B. Taylor
    Pages 54-75
  5. Robert B. Taylor
    Pages 76-103
  6. Robert B. Taylor
    Pages 104-127
  7. Robert B. Taylor
    Pages 128-149
  8. Robert B. Taylor
    Pages 150-167
  9. Robert B. Taylor
    Pages 168-191
  10. Robert B. Taylor
    Pages 192-211
  11. Robert B. Taylor
    Pages 212-231
  12. Back Matter
    Pages 233-251

About this book


Medical history offers us many wise thoughts, a few misguided notions, and a host of intriguing back-stories. On the Shoulders of Medicine’s Giants presents a selection of these, and tells how the words of medicine’s “giants”—such as Hippocrates, Sir William Osler, Francis Weld Peabody, and Elizabeth Kübler-Ross—are relevant to medical science and practice in the 21st century.

Which physician was the inspiration for the fictional character Sherlock Holmes, and what did he identify as “the real essential factor in all successful medical diagnoses”? What did Sigmund Freud describe as his “tyrant,” and what might this mean for doctors today? Do you know the attributed source of the well-known aphorism about horses and zebras, and what we believe this physician actually said? This book answers these questions and more, while also providing fascinating tales about each individual quoted.

On the Shoulders of Medicine’s Giants is recommended for practicing physicians, students, and residents, as well as nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and anyone involved in patient care who wants to understand the historical and epistemological foundations of what we do each day in practice. 

Robert B. Taylor, MD is the author and editor of more than 30 medical books and several hundred published articles, as well as a veteran of rural private practice and, later, chairmanship of a major medical school department.


history of medicine, quotations, historical doctors

Authors and affiliations

  • Robert B. Taylor
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. Family MedicineOregon Health and Sciences University School of MedicinePortlandUSA

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015
  • Publisher Name Springer, New York, NY
  • eBook Packages Medicine
  • Print ISBN 978-1-4939-1334-3
  • Online ISBN 978-1-4939-1335-0
  • Buy this book on publisher's site