Clinical Microbiology Made Ridiculously Simple edition 5 by Mark Gladwin is another one of those must-have best books you can safely purchase upon entering medical school. The focus is to overview all of the bugs (microbiology pathogens) and drugs that medical students encounter in preclinical Microbiology, the USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 exams, and the wards.
Whether you are incredibly interested in Microbiology or find it to be a gigantic anxiety provoking and overwhelming burden on your medical school career, Clinical Microbiology Made Ridiculously Simple will keep you sane. The strength of the book is taking the daunting task of mass memorization and breaking it down into digestible memorable portions, and using very silly drawings (see collage below). The drawings themselves are either produced by a really bad adult artist, or a really talented second grader. Either way, they have a habit of really sticking. I have yet to forget that salmonella hangs out in the gallbladder, despite never being tested on that factoid. In all actuality, the book might as well be named Clinical Microbiology Made Ridiculous, because that’s what you’re getting. The book even has its own set of cited “Mneomonists” that helped with the ridiculousness.
If you’re into serious reads, this is not the book for you. The reader of Clinical Microbiology Made Ridiculously Simple needs to be able to laugh and/or eye-roll at the images. The text itself is completely accurate, though one of the ongoing complaints of this book (and series) is the typos and grammatical errors that pop up (they’re an off-label publisher). The only other people who complain are the hardcore Microbiology PhD students who really do just want a serious text to hit nitty gritty advanced details for which you won’t be responsible to any reasonable degree whilst in medical school.
This book is specifically designed for review and ground up learning for the microbiology newbie. I continue to pull it out for boards and wards, specifically including Internal Medicine, Surgery, Pediatrics, and Ob/Gyn (STDs are everywhere!). Individual sections include an Introduction to Bacteria, Gram Positive Bacteria, Gram Negative Bacteria, Acid Fast Bacteria, Bacteria Without Cell Walls, Anti-Bacterial Medications, Fungi, Viruses, Parasites, Very Strange Critters (prions), Antimicrobial Resistance, and a final chapter on Agents of Bioterrorism. Remember that microbiology and pharmacology books can give a good overview of antibiotic selection, but medical practices should utilize local data on bug susceptibility to direct care.
Overall, Clinical Microbiology Made Ridiculously Simple is highly recommended as one of the best microbiology textbooks available to medical students, to be complemented with MicroCards to enhance learning. I leave you with a sampling: