There are a lot of outstanding medical books out there, but if I had only one book to use in preparation for any Step on the Boards, I would probably choose The ABSITE Review, Third Edition (2010) by Steven M. Fiser MD because the book is loaded with many, many hundreds of answers to commonly asked Board questions.
The book’s emphasis is on surgery and diseases that have a relevant anatomical basis. The diagrams are very clear and illustrative. The coverage is especially good for endocrine, pediatric and gastrointestinal diseases.
I think some areas would benefit from additional expansion and clarification. For example, in the section on pulmonary embolism on page 202 it says that treatment for a pulmonary embolism is “heparin if symptomatic; lifetime Coumadin. Some say all of these patients should get a filter.” A cursory read might lead one to believe that this should apply to all patients with a symptomatic pulmonary embolism, a view which may not be sufficiently conventional to warrant inclusion in a book like this. Therefore, the book is probably best suited as a review for erudite readers who already “know their way around,” so to speak, when it comes to medicine and surgery.
That having been said, I still think that The ABSITE Review, Third Edition is an excellent medical book, and I recommend it highly to medical students and residents alike.