Before writing The Doctor and Mr. Dylan, Rick Novak worked as a clinical anesthesiologist, medical director, and expert witness in Northern California.

Rick was born June 5th, 1954 in Hibbing, Minnesota, to a welding foreman and a homemaker. His mother read two books per week, and Rick developed the same habit, frequently bicycling the four blocks from their home to the public library to pick out new material. He graduated from Hibbing High School in 1972, and was accepted to Harvard College. For his Harvard application essay Rick penned a short story about God revealing Himself to two drunks in a Minnesota tavern.

Hibbing High School Auditorium, Hibbing, Minnesota

Rick declined Harvard and enrolled instead at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, where he received a degree in Chemistry in 1976. From 1973-1977 Rick worked five summers with United States Steel in the iron ore mines near Hibbing.

The Hull Rust iron ore pit, Iron Range, Minnesota

He played on the  United States Junior Men’s Curling championship teams in 1974 and 1975.

Hibbing Curling Club

Rick then studied medicine at the University of Chicago School, graduated with an MD in 1980, and moved to California the following day to become an intern at Stanford Hospital.

Stanford University Hospital, Stanford, California


He spent the next thirty-plus years at Stanford, where he served as an intern, a resident in internal medicine, an emergency room faculty member, an anesthesia resident, and finally as an Adjunct Clinical Associate Professor of Anesthesia (2001 – present) and Deputy Chief of the Anesthesia Department (2001 – 1015) at Stanford.

Rick’s writing career blossomed in the role of Deputy Chief, where he authored a monthly column in the department newsletter. The theme of each essay centered on the differences between the private practice of anesthesia and the university-based teaching practice of anesthesia. He began posting these essays on The Anesthesia Consultant website ( in 2010. Readership grew, and now hundreds of thousands of people visit the website each year.

Beginning in 2001, Dr. Novak developed an interest in anesthesia medical-legal consultation, a role that drew him into the courtroom as an expert witness.

The courtroom scenes in The Doctor and Mr. Dylan are realistic and compelling because Dr. Novak has been there, sitting in that witness chair. He’s experienced the scenes, fielded the questions, and felt the emotions that accompany high-pressure medical-legal cases.

Rick’s lifelong dream of creating entertaining fiction led him to imagine a story: the plot dealt with an anesthesia complication, a crumbling marriage, a son’s quest for elite college admission, and a courtroom drama, all set in his and Bob Dylan’s hometown of Hibbing, Minnesota. Three years of writing and rewriting yielded the manuscript of The Doctor and Mr. Dylan, originally published in 2014, with a second edition released in 2017.

Rick continues his work in clinical anesthesia at Stanford Hospital and at Waverley Surgery Center in Palo Alto, California. He lives with his three sons, Zachary, Theo, and Oliver, passes on his love of academics and reading to them, and coaches their basketball and Little League baseball teams. Rick is beginning work on his next novel.


THE DOCTOR AND MR. DYLAN can be ordered in print or ebook from

Click on the image below to reach the Amazon link to The Doctor and Mr. Dylan:




3 thoughts on “BIO

  1. Hi Rick: Great book, great story. Congratulations!! The publisher needs to do a better job of advertising the book…not many people know about it. I will be at Stanford for graduation on June 14. Plan to march as a Prof. I may work in the OR on the next Mon-Wed, depending upon Rich Jaffe’s schedule. Any chance I could leave a copy of your book somewhere so that you can autograph it for me?? Let me know. Many thanks. Phil L

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