Why should you allow your socio-economic category, race or others’ concepts of you hinder you from reaching your dreams? Don’t think negatively.

Essential Book Information

Dr. Benjamin Solomon Carson is an American retired neurosurgeon, former chief of paediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital and politician who served as the 17th United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development from 2017 to 2021.

He was raised by his mother and life was tough. After he became a Yale graduate and a board-certified neurosurgeon in the United States, he accomplished a miraculous surgical operation: a twenty-two hour separation of Siamese twins from Germany in 1987 which ignited his fame worldwide.

In the year of 1996, he published the bestselling book: Gifted Hands. He details his inspiring story from his childhood to his position as director of paediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins hospital at only thirty-three years of age.

Basic Plot Summary

Dr Carson was a world class paediatric neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Growing up in poverty with his mother and elder brother, Ben never dreamt of a bright future. At the age of nine, his father left his family.

Ben’s mother, Sonya, married at the age of 13. Despite her third grade education, she was a smart woman who knew that education was the true way for her sons to achieve success.

Her sons were allowed to watch only two hours of TV a week and had to read two books a week. Dr Carson and his elder brother were not happy with the set-up but respected their mother.

There were lots of challenges for Dr Carson that could have led him in the wrong direction. He wanted to fit in with other kids and his grades began to suffer, but his mother did not give up on her goals for her son. She kept focusing on the priorities: the values of education and success.

She told Carson that he could turn his dream into a reality and that studying with commitment was the key. Sonya taught him strong Christian beliefs which he applied throughout his life and he often solutions to big problems through prayer.

Carson began to believe in himself and worked hard at becoming one of the smartest children in the school. Although he faced racial harassment from his classmates and some teachers, he continuously heard his mother’s inspiring words in the back of his head.

Due to his high SAT scores, he was sought out by the best Universities in the country. Carson eventually attended Yale University where he received a full scholarship. Carson worked very hard towards his goals.

While at Yale, Carson met Candy. She was smart and from the same home state. After a short time, their friendship turned into romance. Candy eventually became his wife. Carson completed medical school at Michigan University.

During his time at Michigan University, he became an outstanding student. His first ambition was to become a psychiatrist. However, he found interest in neurosurgery and applied at Johns Hopkins. Acceptance to Johns Hopkins teaching hospital was a turning point in his career and became chief of Paediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins at the age of 33.

Gifted Hands inspires everyone no matter which discipline, socio-economic category or race they belong to. It details how to turn big dreams into reality. It changes the way you see yourself and see the world which later has a positive impact on your life direction.


Gifted Hands is a must read for everyone. It is an inspirational book for anyone who wishes to achieve success in life, particularly people whose success is not supported by the odds.

People who suffer from peer harassment or are not believed capable to make any significant change in their fields or people who lost hope of living a good life, must read this book.

This book will bring energy and courage to medical students who are being discouraged, and those who believe that the purpose of practicing medicine is to save lives.



Review compiled by Egide AHISHAKIYE, Academy Team Member 2021