BJGP Book Review: Out of Chaos Comes a Dancing Star

Out of Chaos Comes a Dancing Star: Notes on Professional Burnout by Chris Ellis. OpenBooks Press, 2014, PB, 95pp, £18, http://www.lastoutpost.info This book review was written by Ami Sweetman and was in the April 2015 issue of the BJGP. The author of this book has a fellowship and doctorate in family medicine, and from 2005 to 209 was an associate professor of family medicine at the University of the United Arab Emirates. He is now back home, semi-retired, and doing family practice in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. The opening quote from the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche sets the tone, ‘Out of chaos comes a dancing star’, which in its fuller context reads: ‘One must have chaos in oneself to give birth to a dancing star.’ The text derives from his collection of notes taken from experience, workshops, and courses on the management of stress and burnout in medical doctors, and those involved in the healing professions, although he says it applies to all professionals whether in law, business, or driving the school bus. Stress is a common theme risking progression to burnout. His work shows that understanding another person’s trials and tribulations can be a source of inspiration. Although the text has a serious undertone it sparkles with wit throughout. Insights into some of the struggles experienced by healthcare professionals are revealed, creating an awareness of the similarity of concepts and conditions encountered by all doctors....

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