Book Club: Medical Apartheid

Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present is very difficult to read. I stopped and re-started several times. You may know something about the Tuskegee syphilis project, but the wanton use and abuse of Black Americans as medical subjects goes much farther and continues into…

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BOOK CLUB — The Right Price: A Value-Based Prescription for Drug Costs

For your summer reading. The Right Price: A Value-Based Prescription for Drug Costs offers the best explanation I’ve found of how drug costs are set, and how they should be. Using real-life patient stories, the authors give a balanced and comprehensive look at fair and reasonable pricing for a product that epitomizes market failure. The…

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Book Club — Change: How to Make Big Things Happen

Change: How to Make Big Things Happen by Damon Centola should be required reading for advocates. How do big shifts in behavior or beliefs happen? That’s our job and we’ve been missing the most important tools (unless you are a social network scientist). We’ve learned the lessons of sticky messages and nudges that make better…

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Book Club — Counting: How We Use Numbers to Decide What Matters

I’ve never dog-eared as many pages in a book as Counting: How We Use Numbers to Decide What Matters by Deborah Stone. It’s very trendy to be “data-driven” and assert that “science matters” but what gets counted and how it’s defined make all the difference. Numbers and statistics are nice, but only if they represent…

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Book Club — The Catalyst: How to Change Anyone’s Mind

By Jonah Berger There are lots of books on persuasion. Most don’t add much to the last one. But The Catalyst is worth the time. Well-written — a high-value read. The author builds on newer science to break down how to change minds. Pushing and lecturing rarely work. First, figure out what people think now,…

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Book Club: Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism

By Anne Case and Angus Deaton Reversing a century of progress, life expectancy has fallen for three years in a row but only in the US. Rising rates of suicide, drug overdoses and alcoholism are largely to blame. There were early media reports about the trend, but this detailed yet readable book goes much farther.…

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Book Club: Everything you need to know to understand, and fact check, data claims

The pandemic has placed us all in a crash course on health claims, science and data – what we know and what we don’t know. It can be confusing and scary. The Art of Statistics: How to Learn from Data by David Spiegelhalter is here to help. The book describes how statistics and probability can…

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For the Book Club — Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World

If you’ve sat next to me in a meeting this month, you probably already know I’m reading this book. I can’t stop talking about it. The author debunks the common myth that specialization is the key to success using detailed evidence explained so anyone can understand. The experts’ consensus is that you need to devote…

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For the Book Club — The Truth Matters: A Citizen’s Guide to Separating Facts from Lies and Stopping Fake News in its Tracks

As we get more and more information from new, untested sources, untrustworthy sources and fake news grow, undermining trust in media and politics. This short book offers real-world tips and resources to counter the trend. Chapters include how to read critically, using fact-checking sites, finding trustworthy sources and experts (and how to spot the fakers),…

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For the Book Club: The Tyranny of Metrics

As the world moves toward data and analytics to evaluate progress (and it should), we need to be careful that the movement is meaningful. This must-read is full of cautionary tales, including a chapter on medicine, of mis-use of metrics to evaluate performance that ended up doing more harm than good and box-checking in place…

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