The Remedy steps back 150 years to explore the origins of modern medicine, through two different pioneers: the German bacteriologist Robert Koch, and the physician-turned-author Arthur Conan Doyle. Amid the scourge of tuberculosis, the most deadly disease on earth in the 19th century, these two men found themselves at odds, even as they jointly brought the world a new understanding of how science works and the potential of medicine in the new day.
The Remedy was inspired by a small essay in the New England Journal of Medicine, and allowed me to explore themes of innovation and technology that unexpectedly connected my work at WIRED to visionaries like Paul Ehrlich, Louis Pasteur, Thomas Kuhn, Everett Rogers, and Florence Nightingale.
The book was chosen as a Best Book of 2014 by Amazon, in the science category, and was a best seller on Audible and Amazon.
I gave a well-received talk about the book and the “arc of innovation” at TEDMED in 2014.
The Decision Tree
The Decision Tree came out in 2010, and I’m glad to say it remains relevant and readable as a guide towards how ordinary people might grapple with their health in a world suffused with genetic data, personal technology, and patient-centered medicine.
The book came out just as a host of new information technologies were empowering consumers in healthcare – genomic data, personal tracking devices, virtual networks of patients. And it explores not just the opportunities these tools offer, but also the demands they put on each of us in an already complicated world.
The book was perhaps the first to make the case for a new world of personalized or precision medicine, and the first to note that this precision is a double edged sword, putting more onus on ordinary people to grapple with very difficult and grave situations.
The Decision Tree was selected by the Wall Street Journal as one of the best health books of 2010, and was lauded by the New York Times and other publications.