How to swim with sharks: a perspective on Voltaire Cousteau’s primer

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Shanahan, Fergus
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Voltaire Cousteau’s primer on how to swim with sharks first appeared 45 years ago and stands alone, timeless.[1,2] At once quirky, yet clear, concise, clever; it continues to raise a smile. Swimming with sharks is not, of course, a required pastime or needed for most successful careers. It is, however, a valuable survival skill, particularly for those with ambition to explore the privileges that a life in medicine can offer. Medicine is a sea of opportunities, which encompass and transcend healthcare, science, education, leadership and entrepreneurship. In such waters, encounters with sharks are common. William Osler likened the study of medicine without books to sailing in uncharted sea, while studying without patients as not to go to sea at all.[3] Similarly, Cousteau warned that books cannot substitute for practice when learning how to swim with sharks. Having abided by his guidance, I offer a survivor’s comments in grateful tribute to Cousteau.
Voltaire Cousteau , How to swim with sharks , Medical career , Career success , Workplace , Medicine , Leadership , Responsibility
Shanahan, F. (2018) 'How to swim with sharks: a perspective on Voltaire Cousteau’s primer', QJM: An International Journal of Medicine, hcy027, 112(1), pp. 61–62. doi: 10.1093/qjmed/hcy027
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