Title: Good Doctor, The
Authors: O'Sullivan, Lance
Genre: Non Fiction: New Zealand
Pages: 251
Year: 2015
Publisher: Penguin Books
Language: English
Description: It could have gone either way for Lance O'Sullivan: a fast track to underachievement and trouble or knuckling down, connecting with his Maori heritage and eventually studying medicine. The latter prevailed and from humble beginnings he has gone on to become a household name when he received the 2014 Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year Award. With a passion and commitment to those who are disadvantaged, particularly Maori in Northland, he exemplifies the book's subtitle 'breaking the rules, making a difference'.

Not only does this book offer an inspiring personal story but also cogent analysis of New Zealand's health related social issues, from an expert in the field. [Larger font]

Comments from Groups:

This book stimulated more discussion by group members than any other we have had. Everyone found it most absorbing, and we were greatly impressed by what Lance has achieved, noting too, the influence on him of his wife and family. Ashburton 024

We all enjoyed this book. All of us are full of admiration for all Lance O'Sullivan has achieved as a doctor and leader in his community. We had an excellent discussion which led us to reflect on NZ as it was in the 60s, 70s etc, and what it could become in the future with leaders like him. Waikanae 001

We all admired Lance O'Sullivan as a man, and a leader and an inspiration to us all. But the writing, sometimes not bad, and sometimes not good, was slightly irritating. The ghost writer's work of course, and not the doctor's. It is a book that we definitely recommend and we scored it between 7 1/2 and 8. Wanganui 011

An inspirational story of someone who had tremendous energy and determination to make a difference to NZ society. Waikanae 002

We were all very happy to read the book, and feel it should be essential reading for everyone in the country! Very lively discussion - we learnt a great deal from a book which is an easy read. Auckland 039

We loved Lance's ideas and aspirations but it was noticeable that he hadn't written the book, even though it's an autobiography! We found the content quite repetitive, and would have liked to hear more from his wife's perspective. Stewart Island 001

This book generated a great discussion on a wide range of topics: health, the effects of colonisation, societal and cultural issues - and also raised the political dimensions of health decisions. Mixed feelings on style in which the book was written - lots of repetition especially in the first part of the book. Wellington 047

We all loved the book, not for its literary merit, but for the story of an amazing man. A man who showed resilience, helped by the strong women in his life - his mother and wife. A man who practises what he preaches, to the benefit of people living in Kaitaia. Auckland 116

Categories: Non Fiction - New Zealand, Biography, Contemporary, Culture/Ethnic/Racial, Human Rights, Inspirational, Maori, Medical/Health, Popular Book with Groups, 2017 Titles, Blind Foundation book, Larger font


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By: WHITBY 005 2021-08-19 15:41:50
General great admiration for Lance - his energy, work and innovations, and what he had achieved in his time practising in the far North. Discussion focused on the ongoing problems in public health in that region. Where is Lance now? Half the group expressed disappointment with the quality of the writing and lack of editing. It was obvious that whole sections were transcribed tape recollections. Accompanying notes tells the story thoroughly and reviewers opinions are clear.

By: WHITBY 002 2020-10-13 13:33:19
We have waited a long time for this book and it did not disappoint! Although not of any literary merit it was hard not to feel inspired by what he, with the support of his wife and mother, had achieved. The book raised many issues and we had a stimulating, wide-ranging discussion on all the social ills besetting this country at the moment.

By: CHCH 423 2020-09-10 18:04:39
Generally appreciated book. A couple of people found it a bit of a grind to get through but enjoyed it anyway. Someone thought the second half was preachy. We all felt learnt a lot about Maori attitudes to/ feelings about a range of things. Extremely valuable in this regard. Impossible not to admire Dr Lance O'Sullivan and his wife Tracey for all they have achieved and continue to achieve.

By: LOWER 006 2020-07-01 14:21:10
All but one member of the group found it a very informative and relevant read - though repetitive. The women in his life (wife and mother) played a very large part in enabling him to stay on his path towards achieving his goals. We had a very vigorous discussion on the societal values in NZ and the effects of colonisation. Hopefully the observations and changes Lance advocates will continue and spread to allow a more equitable system for all.

By: CHCH 240 2020-01-25 12:47:35
Certainly an inspirational man, although many found him very egocentric - but I guess this was the drive in him that challenged the system! All enjoyed the book although not a literary masterpiece. A good reflection of life in the Far North and showed the "fibre" of the person - his diverse background "made the man" and the value of those who influenced his life.

By: OAMAR 004 2019-11-06 10:02:31
A real inspiration.

By: CHCH 449 2019-07-05 11:18:52
We had a good discussion after reading this book. Most members gave positive reviews and all found it enlightening. However, most also agreed that, understanding that the narrative was about Lance O'Sullivan, we still managed to tire of the emphasis on himself. We noted that we don't hear of his continuing good work up north and, although we understand he has moved to Auckland (not verified), we hope his initiatives continue.

By: NAP 021 2019-06-06 15:27:01
This book provoked the longest discussion our Group has ever had about a book!! There seemed to be a lot of repetition which probably required editing but we found that we couldn't argue with the fact that Dr O'Sullivan has an amazing amount of energy and drive, and is certainly making a medical difference in the far north of NZ. He has an amazing amount of family support which has helped him get to where he is. Well worth reading to find out what they are achieving.

By: WINT 002 2019-03-11 13:13:52
Everyone enjoyed the read. Inspirational man and story. A credit to his mother!

By: HUNTLY 001 2019-03-11 13:12:48
This book, and its author had a lot of energy. We had a good discussion, and thought many of his ideas were worthwhile. However, during our group conversation, we found (from the nurses in our midst) that many of his suggestions were already in practice in NZ. We felt he may not always be giving credit where it is due.

By: CHCH 142 2018-08-07 10:38:15
This book could have been written in half as many pages. Good messages but repetitive.

By: RAUM 004 2018-06-06 14:34:38
We all found the writer's life interesting, especially the way his views have evolved and how he's not afraid to admit he's wrong and review his approach. An inspiration to other disadvantaged people, and to those working with Maori. Some of our members thought the book was not challenging enough but generally, all were interested in what Lance O'Sullivan has achieved.

By: PLIMM 001 2018-06-06 13:48:40
We felt the ghost writer should have toned down Lance's hubris although we all appreciated his sentiments with regard to looking after poor people.

By: AUCK 020 2018-06-06 13:39:40
We all enjoyed this book. We already knew a lot about him and were eager to find out more about this amazing man who seems to have no end to his energy, and his determination to improve not only everything Maori but the doctor/patient interactions of the medical world as well. It's very inspiring. And his wife's support is amazing. Without her support he would not have been able to achieve so much. You can tell the episodes are transcribed from recorded interviews with Margie Thomson, but this does not detract from the book - it means we hear his authentic voice.

By: NELS 023 2018-06-06 13:33:32
Every member of our group enjoyed this book. We were full of admiration for Lance's work in the north and his innovative ideas. We voted it a 4 1/2 instead of a 5 because some members had an issue with the quality of the writing and editing. Our discussion was epic! It was the liveliest discussion/debate on any book in our 15 year history!

By: OMAR 001 2017-12-20 10:41:55
A fantastic book - we all loved it. Lance is a very inspiring person. Well written and provoked great discussion.

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