Interesting Concept. Remarkable Honesty. Questionable Science. First, I gotta mention that the author intentionally left out the Bibliography, claiming it would run to 70 pages and add $5 to the cost of the book, so he instead put it on the website of the book. Which is an interesting idea, but part of his reasoning was also that this would allow users to click the links and see the sources directly… which eReader users can already do in an appropriately linked (re: fully publication-ready) bibliography. But he discusses this in the very introduction of the book, which sets the tone for how frankly he expresses his views throughout. Still, to this reader this was an attempt to obfuscate the sources at best, and was thus an automatic star reduction.
The other lost star comes from the at times questionable science. Rather than actually discussing various claims made by those with competing ideas, he simply claims massive conspiracies from Big Pharma, Big Food, Big Government, and whoever else he can try to conveniently scapegoat. And then he completely ignores the economic and social sciences in his recommendations for measures that would make Josef Stalin blanch at just how extreme this author wants to dictate to the masses.
Still, the ideas – while ultimately not truly novel and ultimately self serving as he *just happens* to run a nonprofit advocating these very positions – are interesting and explained in quite a bit of detail, from the chemical and cellular all the way up to the global. Making this a worthy text to read and consider… just don’t buy the farm based on just this one book, and make sure you seek out competing narratives to fill in the author’s inconsistencies. Recommended.
This review of Metabolical by Robert Lustig was originally written on June 20, 2021.
A Solid Plan. In this book, Fausz and Howell dare to imagine what *can* be re: healthcare in the US. They open it up with a chapter called “Imagine” where they detail their ideal vision for what healthcare can be, and the following chapters are tightly structured around different groupings of the ideals they lay out in the opening chapter. One of the best jobs I’ve ever seen of the old school X-N-X structure of essays that was once taught in American schools (back in ye olden times 30 yrs ago when I was in school anyway), the authors explain the general problem of a chapter, refer back to the subset of the “Imagine” objectives, discuss where we currently are and how the objectives can be obtained, and conclude each chapter with a “key takeaways” that refers back to the “Imagine” objective. In one chapter, they discuss the pharmaceuticals issue and largely discuss (much more generally) the same things Robin Feldmann goes into much more detail on in her recent book Drugs, Money, and Secret Handshakes.
How you think of their ideals and proposed solutions is probably going to be tainted by your own personal politics, but they seem to have an even head on their shoulders. They are upfront and repeated in their claim to be driven by free market capitalism, and they show how this very system – so often derided as impossible in healthcare – can in fact be used to achieve the best results for the most people, both in ideals and in actual implementations that are already existing in the real world.
Overall a very well done book that allows and encourages the reader to follow up with their own thinking on the issue and looking into the various technologies and companies discussed throughout. Very much recommended.
This review of Healthcare Is Killing Us by Aaron Fausz and W. Terry Howell was originally published on June 8, 2019.