Distinguished cardiologist and prolific author Zipes (Not Just a Game, 2016, etc.) describes an adventuresome life and career.
In an engaging opening chapter, the author chronicles his travels to Moscow in the early 1980s for a cardiology conference. It sets the tone for this memoir, which relates a series of ordeals that tested his moral fortitude and his conscience as a medical professional. While in Russia for the World Congress of Cardiology, he was immediately confronted by ‘refuseniks’—locals forbidden from emigrating—who begged him to lecture to their disbanded group. This led to the author being surveilled by the KGB and a sudden blacklisting that made traveling back to Russia dangerous. Zipes also shares an anecdote about the first Russian exchange scientist to arrive in Indianapolis to participate in scientific electrophysiology research. The author’s natural knack for storytelling is shown off best when he backtracks to his youth in Westchester County, New York, where he enjoyed his share of youthful shenanigans, despite a strict upbringing. Zipes also attempts to uncover the genesis of his fiercely contrary nature in the face of naysayers. He tells how he always defiantly paved his own way, despite a school counselor who argued against him applying to Ivy League colleges (he excelled at Dartmouth, where he met his future wife, Joan) and senior physicians who advised him not to become a consultant for the medical device industry. A medical school internship and a cardiology fellowship preceded two years in the Navy, fierce medical litigation against pharmaceutical companies, and a house call to visit a wealthy patient in Saudi Arabia. Throughout this book, Zipes employs a smooth combination of humor and unfettered enthusiasm. As the title suggests, he effectively shows how he ignored negative advice and discouraging criticism to emerge victorious in various fields, including fiction writing. Clinical professionals, authors, and anyone else with the same zest for life that the author has will find much delight and inspiration in this unique, spirited memoir.
A vivacious ride through the life of a doctor.