Next book

THE MESSENGER

MODERNA, THE VACCINE, AND THE BUSINESS GAMBLE THAT CHANGED THE WORLD

A satisfying look at how a smart business can both identify opportunity and do well by doing good.

Fast-paced account of Moderna’s race to be first to market with a Covid-19 vaccine.

Wall Street Journal reporter Loftus opens his narrative, an able blend of science reporting and business history, at a telling moment: Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel, on vacation in France in January 2020, reads about a mysterious virus in China and, on a dime, pivots the company to use that virus as a proof of concept for a new kind of vaccine. Moderna aimed to use messenger RNA to introduce drugs developed on a constantly adaptable platform into the human body. Though the original “stopwatch drill” that Bancel had been examining centered on a rare disease caused by the Nipah virus, he and some of his board members and executives “thought Moderna should try for a coronavirus vaccine because they suspected the outbreak would get much bigger.” They were right. Coordinating the race for a vaccine that was spreading far faster than SARS, MERS, Zika, and other concerning viruses, Bancel had to take his small company to new levels of production in the face of the Trump administration’s patchwork medical and financial responses. It’s no small irony that a leader of the industry’s rapid-response team was a Moderna board member who was both a Moroccan immigrant and a one-time Marxist who worried that chasing the vaccine could ultimately harm Moderna since other projects would have to halt. Still, as Loftus writes, “Moderna agreed to cooperate with Operation Warp Speed in part because…it needed the money.” In the end, racing past regulatory and bureaucratic hurdles, it secured funding and produced a safe vaccine in record time. It also rose markedly in value, at one time surpassing Starbucks, UPS, and Citigroup. As Loftus writes in closing, Moderna has since been able to return to other quests, including genetically keyed cancer drugs that kick the immune system’s neoepitopes into high gear.

A satisfying look at how a smart business can both identify opportunity and do well by doing good.

Pub Date: July 26, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-64782-319-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2022

Next book

THINKING, FAST AND SLOW

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...

A psychologist and Nobel Prize winner summarizes and synthesizes the recent decades of research on intuition and systematic thinking.

The author of several scholarly texts, Kahneman (Emeritus Psychology and Public Affairs/Princeton Univ.) now offers general readers not just the findings of psychological research but also a better understanding of how research questions arise and how scholars systematically frame and answer them. He begins with the distinction between System 1 and System 2 mental operations, the former referring to quick, automatic thought, the latter to more effortful, overt thinking. We rely heavily, writes, on System 1, resorting to the higher-energy System 2 only when we need or want to. Kahneman continually refers to System 2 as “lazy”: We don’t want to think rigorously about something. The author then explores the nuances of our two-system minds, showing how they perform in various situations. Psychological experiments have repeatedly revealed that our intuitions are generally wrong, that our assessments are based on biases and that our System 1 hates doubt and despises ambiguity. Kahneman largely avoids jargon; when he does use some (“heuristics,” for example), he argues that such terms really ought to join our everyday vocabulary. He reviews many fundamental concepts in psychology and statistics (regression to the mean, the narrative fallacy, the optimistic bias), showing how they relate to his overall concerns about how we think and why we make the decisions that we do. Some of the later chapters (dealing with risk-taking and statistics and probabilities) are denser than others (some readers may resent such demands on System 2!), but the passages that deal with the economic and political implications of the research are gripping.

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our minds.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-374-27563-1

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 12


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller

Next book

POVERTY, BY AMERICA

A clearly delineated guide to finally eradicate poverty in America.

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 12


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller

A thoughtful program for eradicating poverty from the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Evicted.

“America’s poverty is not for lack of resources,” writes Desmond. “We lack something else.” That something else is compassion, in part, but it’s also the lack of a social system that insists that everyone pull their weight—and that includes the corporations and wealthy individuals who, the IRS estimates, get away without paying upward of $1 trillion per year. Desmond, who grew up in modest circumstances and suffered poverty in young adulthood, points to the deleterious effects of being poor—among countless others, the precarity of health care and housing (with no meaningful controls on rent), lack of transportation, the constant threat of losing one’s job due to illness, and the need to care for dependent children. It does not help, Desmond adds, that so few working people are represented by unions or that Black Americans, even those who have followed the “three rules” (graduate from high school, get a full-time job, wait until marriage to have children), are far likelier to be poor than their White compatriots. Furthermore, so many full-time jobs are being recast as contracted, fire-at-will gigs, “not a break from the norm as much as an extension of it, a continuation of corporations finding new ways to limit their obligations to workers.” By Desmond’s reckoning, besides amending these conditions, it would not take a miracle to eliminate poverty: about $177 billion, which would help end hunger and homelessness and “make immense headway in driving down the many agonizing correlates of poverty, like violence, sickness, and despair.” These are matters requiring systemic reform, which will in turn require Americans to elect officials who will enact that reform. And all of us, the author urges, must become “poverty abolitionists…refusing to live as unwitting enemies of the poor.” Fortune 500 CEOs won’t like Desmond’s message for rewriting the social contract—which is precisely the point.

A clearly delineated guide to finally eradicate poverty in America.

Pub Date: March 21, 2023

ISBN: 9780593239919

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2023

Close Quickview