An entrepreneur recollects an eventful career in the biotech industry and his battle with cancer.
In 2015, debut author Becker noticed a lump on the right side of his neck and quickly made an appointment with his physician, immediately suspecting cancer. A second opinion, followed by a CT scan and a biopsy, officially confirmed Becker’s fears: he had oropharyngeal cancer, or cancer of the head and neck, already advanced to stage 4. The good news was that the author had spent a considerable swath of his professional career in the biotech industry and had accumulated excellent contacts in the world of oncology. It was determined that the best course of treatment would be a mix of chemotherapy and radiation, a grueling regimen to be endured over the course of six or seven weeks. Becker is inspired to reflect on a successful career borne out of a tumultuous childhood—after his parents divorced when he was 12, he turned rebellious and eventually dropped out of school. But he earned a GED, landed a job in the computer department at the same firm his father worked for, and eventually toiled as a stockbroker active in the biotech industry. Becker would become the CEO of two biotech companies before opening his own firm. The author’s remembrances are broad—he discusses his marriage and children, his youthful experimentation with LSD, and the 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, just to name a few topics—but his steadfast march against cancer forms the backbone of the memoir. Becker writes briskly and with a certain urgency that matches his extraordinary resolve that sometimes expresses itself as profound impatience—he was barely given a cancer diagnosis before he was ready to commence treatment. This account, as well as the author’s life, is deeply inspired by his father’s advice, the encapsulation of which is the title of the book: “If you walk briskly and with intent, as though you were running late for an important meeting or something, you’ll give the impression that you have confidence and importance.”
An inspiriting memoir intelligently and affectingly told.