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19 Facts: Conversation Starters for Doctors


Some of these 19 facts and figures will surprise you, many will make you scratch your head. All of them would be pretty good conversation starters at your next cocktail party.


In the process of doing this weekly e-column for physicians, I find that I must keep myself informed. Hopefully, looking out for the medical profession.

So I do a lot of reading—Stephen King says it’s the key to being a good writer—and frequently run across interesting facts and figures. Many are what I think would make good conversation starters.

Here are a few I saw recently:

$205,000—Average annual salary for a professor at Harvard University.

(Wall Street Journal)

1 in 3.7 million—The chance of being killed by a shark during your lifetime.

(National Geographic)

$31,213—Average price of a wedding in the United States.

(USA Today)

$36,000—Annual salary for Vince Lombardi in his first year as head coach of the Green Bay Packers.

(When Pride Still Mattered)

$170,000—Total land acquisition and course construction costs for Augusta National Golf Club, home of The Masters.

(The Masters: Golf, Money, and Power in Augusta, Georgia by Curt Sampson)

3 minutes—Time it takes Warren Buffett to decide if an investment is worth pursuing.


$47,212—Average annual family income for bottom 99% of American earners.

(Pew Research)

45%—Percentage of opioid-addicted patients who say they still get pain medicine from their physician.

(American Psychiatric Association)

$1.8 million—Average sale price for an apartment in Manhattan.

(New York Post)

$241,273—Average annual compensation for a primary care physician.

(Medical Group Management Association)

9.3%—Percentage of national healthcare dollars spent on prescription drugs.


$3.8 million—Average annual salary for a Major League baseball player.

(MLB Players Association)

$150,706—Average annual compensation for a US dentist.


$289,000—Cost for a one-year permit for a hot dog stand in NYC’s Central Park.

(The New York Times)

$355,900—Average annual compensation for a Wall Street financial worker.

(New York Post)

87%—Google’s share of the US mobile search market.


$411,852—Average annual compensation for a specialist physician.

(Medical Group Management Association)

$158,411—Average cost of a 30-second TV ad on ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy.


46%—Percentage of US smartphone users who “can't imagine my life without it."

(Gallup Poll)

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