I don’t often write book reviews these days. In fact, I don’t often read books these days. For the last three years, I have been working on a project that I think will have an enormous impact on the quality of health for as much as 50% of adults 30-70 years old. I promise to tell you more, soon.
The story of how I ended up working again is a journey worth describing, especially since it took me back to my roots in medical science. My dear friend and mentor, David Agus, MD, played a role both by encouraging me to re-engage professionally and do something big. He also, I might add, laid on a bit of Jewish guilt for not doing more with my life.
I wrote a review on Amazon of David’s latest book “The Lucky Years: How to Thrive in the Brave New World of Health.” I have copied that review below, although I invite you to go to Amazon and purchase it. The reader will gain a great deal by reading this book and much more by putting its teachings into practice.
I wanted to share a bit more with you, my readers. Science informs David’s views. I first meet David more than 20 years ago when I was dealing with prostate cancer. I had visited with ten of the most renowned prostate cancer doctors because it had appeared that my treatment had failed, and my cancer had metastasized which at my age (53 at the time) was pretty much a death sentence. Fortunately, that was not the case, but it was pretty scary.
At that time, I was still at Intel and Andy Grove, the CEO, had been diagnosed and treated for prostate cancer. Andy introduced me to Mike Milken, who also had prostate cancer. He was very active in funding prostate cancer research. Mike set me up with these renowned doctors. Every one of them had a different opinion that was extremely stressful. David and his partner at the time, Skip Holden, MD, were on the tour. David was just in his early 30s and had recently moved to LA from NYC and joined the staff at Cedars-Sinai. I was as very impressed with David. Even then, he was what I describe below, a great scientist, a caring physician, and an articulate educator. Ever since then we have been friends and David has also been my personal medical advisor. He had a lot of impact (more than he knows, I suspect) on my health. But it is not as a favor to him that I wrote this blog post. No, it is a favor to you.
My Amazon Review
David Agus is both my friend, personal medical advisor and my mentor (it is interesting that at the age of 70, my mentors are all younger than I am). David is a rare combination. He is a great scientist, a caring doctor, and articulate educator.
While I can totally recommend this book to anyone interested in health, I do want to say that I dislike the title. But then again, I never like the title of his very successful book “The End of Illness.” What David means by the title, as will be made clear in the book, is that we are living in a remarkable time when the whole nature of health will be transformed. We are living in an inflection point as Andy Grove, a mentor that David and I shared, would have said. But never the less, the amount of “luck” probably has a lot to do with your economic/educational status and most importantly your age.
The reader will tale a journey into the changes that have and will take place and in how we think about health and how we deal with illness and disease. I think the most important message of the book is about personal empowerment. David Agus points out the many things we can do to “change our luck.” For instance, taking baby aspirin, statins and most importantly getting off our butts and moving throughout the day will have a profound consequence on health. The book not only lays out the steps we can personally take, but the reasons these actions will have a positive benefit.
For those like me that are interested in the science and technology of health care, there is a lot to chew on – from the role of Big Data to exploring the biome. While Dr. Agus discusses the potential of wearable devices to inform us about the effects of our behavior, he rightly emphasizes the need to be personally in tune with how we feel and let our intuition guide us. I appreciate that.