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This Month's Selection
Wonder Drug: 7 Scientifically Proven Ways That Serving Others is the Best Medicine for Yourself

Authored by: Stephen Trzeciak, M.D. and Anthony Mazzarelli, M.D.

The tenth in a series of Better Impact Book Bites
A taste of great books worth consuming.


Why This Book:

Each year in the USA, the first week of October is recognized as Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW)...so this book seemed like the natural choice. It’s no secret that anxiety and depression are at an all-time high. This book provides scientific solutions to help combat both. I want to start with, as amazing as this book is, it is not a substitute for talking with a health care provider and/or licensed therapist to work through these challenges. This book, however, can be a powerful supplemental tool in the process of recovery.

For me, this book was validation of something I had always been taught and intrinsically believed but could never really articulate. Now, I literally have unbiased scientific evidence to support what I have always practiced in addition to having a concrete answer to the “why” I do some of the things I do.

This book is available as an audiobook and the narrator does a great job in bringing out the humor and quippy personalities of the authors.

You Should Read This Book If:

  • You are experiencing burnout
  • You are experiencing depression or anxiety
  • You want to understand the multifaceted powers of volunteering
  • You want to gain an in depth understanding of why people volunteer
  • You want to learn new information to strategically redesign your volunteer recruitment efforts in nonprofit or corporate social responsibility (CSR)
  • You want to discover the delicate balance of giving too much and not giving at all
  • You tend to be a giver, almost to your own detriment

Who Should You Gift This Book To:

  • Yourself
  • Someone who may be experiencing anxiety or depression
  • Anyone where volunteer recruitment is a part of their role description
  • Anyone who oversees volunteers in any capacity
  • Anyone who wants to build a powerful team


I’ll be honest, I am one of those people who thinks introductions to books are pointless. I often think, “Why not just make it chapter 1?” In this case, however, the introduction is a powerful tool that sets the foundation and puts the rest of the book in unimaginable context (I mean, I guess that is the point of introductions of most books and I’ll do better to start reading them more consistently). The authors explain how they were on the brink of burnout and faced the challenge of convincing a staff of physicians that being more compassionate would help the bottom line. Being doctors and lovers of science, they decided to use the scientific method to find answers to questions they had. They were shocked with their findings; so much so, it led to writing this book.

Part 1 - The Diagnosis: An Epidemic of Self-Serving

This section challenges the “put yourself first” culture that we have evolved into. They discuss that although centering yourself is important, it isn’t the ONLY thing that should be considered when making decisions. I was so excited to read this as I felt validated for the recent blog post I wrote Selfishness is Not Self-Care. Contrary to what some may think, sometimes putting others first is actually the best medicine for you. How in the WORLD is that possible? As difficult as it may be to wrap the brain around it, the data doesn’t lie.

Section titles include:

  • It’s Not You, It’s Me Culture
  • Survival of the Kindest?
  • The Giving Paradoxes
  • How Self- Serving Are you?

Part 2 - The Cure: Serving Others

This section digs into the scientific data and what literally happens to the body when we serve and/or do good for others.

Section titles include:

  • The Brain and Body When Serving Others
  • Physical Health Through Serving Others
  • Mental Health Through Serving Others
  • Happiness Through Serving Others
  • Motives Matter

Part 3 - The Prescription: 7 Steps to Take Now

Now that we understand the biological and physiological occurrences that take place in the body, how do we go about making a change? Change is hard. This section offers bite-sized solutions to start down the path to better health.

Section titles include:

  • Start Small
  • Be Thankful
  • Be Purposeful
  • Find Common Ground
  • See it
  • Elevate
  • Know Your power

The Last Bite

This book proves its outcome over and over...and over again. Many people I have spoken to who have read the book say it gets redundant midway through and I agree. I mean how many times do you come up with the same conclusion? In this case, many, many times and many different ways. Isn’t that what the scientific method is all about though? I look at it this way...by testing every theory imaginable, using the scientific method, and they still achieve the SAME results; it negates any chance to disprove the outcome. I applaud the authors for arriving at this conclusion from several different angles (almost ad nauseum). I enjoyed it so much it was even a topic of conversation in my latest podcast episode with Faiza Venzant and Mark Hager. The point is, by the time you finish this book, the evidence is clear; from whatever angle you approach it, it always lands with the scientific, unbiased conclusion: giving of yourself and caring for others is ultimately the best thing for YOUR health.


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