Books on Bioengineering, Pandemics, Viruses and Their Economic and Societal Impact
It’s obvious by now (March 2020) that we’re in the middle of a virus outbreak that it’s gonna reshape the world we live in, even if just for a short time. Bill Gates wonders if this is a “one-in-a-century pandemic”
The markets already reacted: S&P 500 had the quickest correction since the Great Depression, in 1933 (source). We’ve also seen the images of empty Wuhan, a city with millions of people or the empty shelves in the super markets in Northern Italy.
While the new and present information coming to us from all the sources available is, at best, contradictory, at worst false, there are lessons we can learn from the past.
Books on the past outbreaks (from the Spanish Flu to Ebola) can give us an idea on how people react and what we can expect.
Books on bioengineering and genes can help us understand what scientist try to do now to help us, all, survive the newest virus and what we can do in the future.
Finally, here’s the list of books to read, in case you want to understand the bigger impact COVID19 (the “coronavirus”) might have on our society as we know it now and what we can expect in the next few months and years.
Books on Bioengineering, Pandemics and Viruses
Crisis in the Red Zone: The Story of the Deadliest Ebola Outbreak in History, and of the Outbreaks to Come
This book aims to tell a history of humanity from the perspective of genetics rather than sociology. This should complement the other broad histories I've read this year, as well as follow "Energy" well in focusing on science.
I've wanted to read Matt Ridley's books for a while. His recent book "The Rational Optimist" about how progress and the economy evolve is also near the top of my ever-growing pile of books to read.
[From the book "The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon"]
“The scholar argues that people are wired to see patterns in chaos while remaining blind to unpredictable events, with massive consequences. Experimentation and empiricism trumps the easy and obvious narrative,” Stone writes.
I will write a longer review, but this is a monument, not just a book. And the beginning of a new cultural program.
On a scale of 0 to 100, paternity tests count as 99.99 and written/oral history should count for .01. Apply that to populations. That’s plain statistics/probability. We are seeing science in action: information theory displaces BS, the handwaving just so stories we got from historians.