#BookReview: The First Cell by Azra Raza

The Myth Of (Cancer) Experience. This book actually does a phenomenal job of using both hard data and anecdotal case studies to show what the current state of cancer research and treatment is – and why it is costing us far too much in both lives and dollars. This is a cancer doc/ researcher who has been in the field longer than this reader has been alive, and yet she attacks the problem in a way that genuinely makes sense: if cancer is effectively a group of cells that begin replicating uncontrollably, the best way to eliminate this phenomenon is to detect these cells as early as possible and eliminate them before they become problematic. Using several patient case studies – including her husband, who apparently started out as her boss, and her daughter’s best friend among them – Raza does an excellent job of providing names and faces (yes, the book has pictures of the patients as well) to go along with the alarming yet decently documented data. (Roughly 18% of the book is bibliography, which is perhaps a touch low – 25-30% is more typical – but is better than one might expect from such a case study driven narrative.) Ultimately this book actually makes the case for The Myth of Experience better than the authors of the book by that title did, which is actually fairly interesting to this reader. 🙂 And the Urdu poetry (with English translations as well) was a nice touch to lighten a text that could otherwise be a bit dreary. Very much recommended.

This review of The First Cell by Azra Raza was originally written on December 13, 2020.

#BookReview: The Myth of Experience by Emre Soyer and Robin Hogarth

Argumentum Ad Verecundiam. This book had an excellent premise, but just a mediocre implementation. Soyer and Hogarth excel when showing how one’s own experience can blind oneself in numerous areas and arenas, and suggest ways to overcome this blindness. But then fall to their own blindess in accepting and even appealing to the “authority” of “experts” in various topics – seeming to completely disregard that these very “experts” have the exact same problems with being hampered by their own experiences that Soyer and Hogarth are attempting to show us how to overcome in this book. Ultimately, they make a lot of good points, which is why the book gets as many stars as it does. That you have to wade through so much muck to get to all of them is why it *only* gets as many stars as it does. Still, absolutely something everyone should read, and thus recommended.

This review of The Myth Of Experience by Emre Soyer and Robin Hogarth was originally written on July 1, 2020.