• A Shot to Save the World

  • The Inside Story of the Life-or-Death Race for a COVID-19 Vaccine
  • By: Gregory Zuckerman
  • Narrated by: Jack Armstrong
  • Length: 12 hrs and 6 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (158 ratings)

1 title per month from Audible’s entire catalog of best sellers, and new releases.
Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Premium Plus plan is $14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
A Shot to Save the World  By  cover art

A Shot to Save the World

By: Gregory Zuckerman
Narrated by: Jack Armstrong
Try for $0.00

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Buy for $31.50

Buy for $31.50

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

"An inspiring and informative page-turner." (Walter Isaacson)

Longlisted for the FT/McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award 

The authoritative account of the race to produce the vaccines that are saving us all, from the number one New York Times best-selling author of The Man Who Solved the Market.

Few were ready when a mysterious respiratory illness emerged in Wuhan, China, in January 2020. Politicians, government officials, business leaders, and public-health professionals were unprepared for the most devastating pandemic in a century. Many of the world’s biggest drug and vaccine makers were slow to react or couldn’t muster an effective response.

It was up to a small group of unlikely and untested scientists and executives to save civilization. A French businessman dismissed by many as a fabulist. A Turkish immigrant with little virus experience. A quirky Midwesterner obsessed with insect cells. A Boston scientist employing questionable techniques. A British scientist despised by his peers. Far from the limelight, each had spent years developing innovative vaccine approaches. Their work was met with skepticism and scorn. By 2020, these individuals had little proof of progress. Yet they and their colleagues wanted to be the ones to stop the virus holding the world hostage. They scrambled to turn their life’s work into life-saving vaccines in a matter of months, each gunning to make the big breakthrough - and to beat each other for the glory that a vaccine guaranteed.

A number one New York Times best-selling author and award-winning Wall Street Journal investigative journalist lauded for his “bravura storytelling” (Gary Shteyngart) and “first-rate” reporting (The New York Times), Zuckerman takes us inside the top-secret laboratories, corporate clashes, and high-stakes government negotiations that led to effective shots. Deeply reported and endlessly gripping, this is a dazzling, blow-by-blow chronicle of the most consequential scientific breakthrough of our time. It’s a story of courage, genius, and heroism. It’s also a tale of heated rivalries, unbridled ambitions, crippling insecurities, and unexpected drama. A Shot to Save the World is the story of how science saved the world. 

©2021 Gregory Zuckerman (P)2021 Penguin Audio
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic Reviews

"One of the most exciting dramas in medical history... A Shot to Save the World is a thrilling account based on great reporting and access to all of the teams. An inspiring and informative page-turner." --Walter Isaacson, author of #1 New York Times bestseller, The Code Breaker

"A page-turning drama...Brings you inside the room of the largest drug makers to give readers a birds-eye view of the big decisions and behind-the-scenes machinations that span from Washington to China."   --Andrew Ross Sorkin, columnist, The New York Times, co-anchor of CNBC's Squawk Box

"Zuckerman answers a question still circulating among both vaccine fans and skeptics: How could scientists develop the Covid-19 vaccines so quickly? The vaccine-science book for a vaccine skeptic."  --The New York Times“An intensely researched, rewarding account of an impressive medical triumph.” (Kirkus Reviews

What listeners say about A Shot to Save the World

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    111
  • 4 Stars
    39
  • 3 Stars
    7
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    97
  • 4 Stars
    26
  • 3 Stars
    12
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    1
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    98
  • 4 Stars
    31
  • 3 Stars
    7
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Wow! Do not miss this one.

I have listened to hundreds of Audible books over the past 5 years, but this is the first time that I have ever written a review. However, I felt obligated to do so, since this was such a fantastically captivating read. If you a fan of popular science, non-fiction books then do not miss this one. It is written in a manner that is very engaging, almost like a fiction read. Although it covers the science in a fair amount of depth, it does so in a fashion that is accessible to the lat public. It tells the story of each of the key scientists and key business players that got us to the point where 5 different effective COVID vaccines were developed in such a short amount of time. The story starts with scientists working on the AIDS epidemic in the 80’s, which really gives great context to the how we got to where we are now in this field. There are frequent anecdotes and stories about each of these individuals that are told in a very personal way that really pulls you in and helps you to appreciate what an incredibly big deal this vaccine race truly was and why it has recently become considered by many to be the greatest achievement in modern science. I would say that the only disappointment for me was that there was so much personal background on everyone in the story, except for Anthony Fauci, who is mentioned numerous times but never with any sort of personal touches. I guess we have heard enough about him recently, anyway, though. This is the chance for the scientists that have not gotten enough credit by the lay public for the fantastic work that they have been doing to finally get the attention that they do greatly deserve.
Also, I just want to point out that the reviewer that mentioned that they were not sure if the author is pro or anti vaccination clearly missed the point of this book.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great story

As a scientist, I thoroughly enjoyed the perspective of this story and found the scientific history fascinating. This book is for anyone interested in learning about vaccine development and challenges encountered in the field of life sciences.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

fascinating scientific review

well researched great balance of scientific details and character perspective for interested lay listeners

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Technical pronunciation

A fascinating story!

It was not clear whether there were any companies producing vast quantities of vaccine that subsequently proved ineffective.

But my main complaint is of mispronunciation of medical and scientific terms. One instance: ADen oh virus, correct emphasis, but the root was said to be ahDENoh.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Learned so much

This book was well written and kept me engaged in a fairly complex topic. The author was thorough and informative while incorporating fun and sweet stories about the many scientists who were integral parts of developing the various Covid vaccines while giving a robust history of vaccinations and small achievements that contributed to the future development of these crucial vaccinations.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Outstanding!

This book provides a fantastic job telling both the scientific and the human stories behind the creation of the leading COVID-19 vaccines. I especially appreciated the author’s ability to tie together the many threads from different parts of a complicated story into a coherent tapestry.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Important to know

Too many names which makes it difficult to follow. But an important and very relevant book.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

factual, but a bit tedious

. Story factual , but tedious in parts missed population and political reactions to pandemic

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A must read

incredible narrative of the race to save humanity. It makes clear that the COVID 19 vaccines were in the making for decades.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Very underwhelmed

Too many names of people to keep track of, too much irrelevant details about the color and texture of their hair. If you get this book, go with the abridged version.