An informative guide to what the authors call “the pandemic in plain sight,” urgent without undue alarmism.
A doctor and his former patient explore what they posit is the pathogen-spread rise of autoimmune illnesses, with millions of victims.
Diseases such as multiple sclerosis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and fibromyalgia are not single illnesses as such but instead clusters of symptoms with many points in common. Because their etiology is hard to pin down, many sufferers are often dismissed with the simple notation that the illness is psychosomatic. Yet, writes Phillips, “maybe you were referred to a psychiatrist or prescribed an antidepressant by your general practitioner.” For various reasons, he and Parish write, pathogens are on the rise and ever more ubiquitous as a result of climate change; these pathogens include viruses, parasites such as protozoa, and bacteria. By 2050, they project, 12% of the U.S. population will be affected by a kind of “Lyme+” disease, costing billions annually in medical expenses and lost productivity. The list of vector-borne ailments is long, and too often our understanding of them is incomplete. The authors write, for instance, that bartonellosis is not strictly a tick-borne disease but can be transmitted by fleas, lice, and even ants. Apart from the fact that a spirochete is involved, everything else about Lyme is “bitterly debated,” with no agreed-upon treatment regimen. What’s worse, the range of illnesses that may be hidden by Lyme-like symptoms can include cancer, hepatitis, and tuberculosis. Phillips and Parish suggest a range of treatments, from anxiety-reducing exercises to herbal remedies such as oregano oil, cinnamon bark, and cumin seeds that have been shown to have “strong killing activity against ‘persister’ forms of the Lyme bacterium”—though none of those proposed treatments is definitive.An informative guide to what the authors call “the pandemic in plain sight,” urgent without undue alarmism.
Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021
Page Count: 288
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Review Posted Online: April 26, 2020
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020
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by Walter Isaacson ‧ RELEASE DATE: Sept. 12, 2023
Alternately admiring and critical, unvarnished, and a closely detailed account of a troubled innovator.
Awards & Accolades
New York Times Bestseller
A warts-and-all portrait of the famed techno-entrepreneur—and the warts are nearly beyond counting.
To call Elon Musk (b. 1971) “mercurial” is to undervalue the term; to call him a genius is incorrect. Instead, Musk has a gift for leveraging the genius of others in order to make things work. When they don’t, writes eminent biographer Isaacson, it’s because the notoriously headstrong Musk is so sure of himself that he charges ahead against the advice of others: “He does not like to share power.” In this sharp-edged biography, the author likens Musk to an earlier biographical subject, Steve Jobs. Given Musk’s recent political turn, born of the me-first libertarianism of the very rich, however, Henry Ford also comes to mind. What emerges clearly is that Musk, who may or may not have Asperger’s syndrome (“Empathy did not come naturally”), has nurtured several obsessions for years, apart from a passion for the letter X as both a brand and personal name. He firmly believes that “all requirements should be treated as recommendations”; that it is his destiny to make humankind a multi-planetary civilization through innovations in space travel; that government is generally an impediment and that “the thought police are gaining power”; and that “a maniacal sense of urgency” should guide his businesses. That need for speed has led to undeniable successes in beating schedules and competitors, but it has also wrought disaster: One of the most telling anecdotes in the book concerns Musk’s “demon mode” order to relocate thousands of Twitter servers from Sacramento to Portland at breakneck speed, which trashed big parts of the system for months. To judge by Isaacson’s account, that may have been by design, for Musk’s idea of creative destruction seems to mean mostly chaos.Alternately admiring and critical, unvarnished, and a closely detailed account of a troubled innovator.
Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2023
Page Count: 688
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2023
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The lessons to draw are obvious: Smoke more dope, eat less meat. Like-minded readers will dig it.
The chef, rapper, and TV host serves up a blustery memoir with lashings of self-help.
“I’ve always had a sick confidence,” writes Bronson, ne Ariyan Arslani. The confidence, he adds, comes from numerous sources: being a New Yorker, and more specifically a New Yorker from Queens; being “short and fucking husky” and still game for a standoff on the basketball court; having strength, stamina, and seemingly no fear. All these things serve him well in the rough-and-tumble youth he describes, all stickball and steroids. Yet another confidence-builder: In the big city, you’ve got to sink or swim. “No one is just accepted—you have to fucking show that you’re able to roll,” he writes. In a narrative steeped in language that would make Lenny Bruce blush, Bronson recounts his sentimental education, schooled by immigrant Italian and Albanian family members and the mean streets, building habits good and bad. The virtue of those habits will depend on your take on modern mores. Bronson writes, for example, of “getting my dick pierced” down in the West Village, then grabbing a pizza and smoking weed. “I always smoke weed freely, always have and always will,” he writes. “I’ll just light a blunt anywhere.” Though he’s gone through the classic experiences of the latter-day stoner, flunking out and getting arrested numerous times, Bronson is a hard charger who’s not afraid to face nearly any challenge—especially, given his physique and genes, the necessity of losing weight: “If you’re husky, you’re always dieting in your mind,” he writes. Though vulgar and boastful, Bronson serves up a model that has plenty of good points, including his growing interest in nature, creativity, and the desire to “leave a legacy for everybody.”The lessons to draw are obvious: Smoke more dope, eat less meat. Like-minded readers will dig it.
Pub Date: April 20, 2021
Page Count: 184
Review Posted Online: May 5, 2021
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021
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