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Publisher's Summary

A piercing and scientifically grounded look at the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic and how it will change the way we live - "excellent and timely." (The New Yorker)

Apollo's Arrow offers a riveting account of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic as it swept through American society in 2020, and of how the recovery will unfold in the coming years. Drawing on momentous (yet dimly remembered) historical epidemics, contemporary analyses, and cutting-edge research from a range of scientific disciplines, best-selling author, physician, sociologist, and public health expert Nicholas A. Christakis explores what it means to live in a time of plague - an experience that is paradoxically uncommon to the vast majority of humans who are alive, yet deeply fundamental to our species.

Unleashing new divisions in our society as well as opportunities for cooperation, this 21st-century pandemic has upended our lives in ways that will test, but not vanquish, our already frayed collective culture. Featuring new, provocative arguments and vivid examples ranging across medicine, history, sociology, epidemiology, data science, and genetics, Apollo's Arrow envisions what happens when the great force of a deadly germ meets the enduring reality of our evolved social nature.

©2020 Nicholas A. Christakis, MD, PhD (P)2020 Little, Brown & Company

Critic Reviews

"Apollo’s Arrow shoots straight and true to explain the scientific and social aspects of the coronavirus pandemic. Christakis’s background in biology, medicine, epidemiology, and sociology is a powerful formula for understanding this complex subject. I’m tempted to say that the gods created Christakis to write this book at this time. It is wise, vivid, and engaging." (William D. Nordhaus, author of The Climate Casino and 2018 Nobel Laureate in Economics)

“Seldom have we been gifted with a study of pandemic disease marked by such scope, wit, and erudition. Still rarer is one that appears while the rest of us scramble to make sense of a rapidly evolving crisis, one shaped by the very social forces that Nicholas Christakis has studied for decades. Apollo’s Arrow is more than history’s first draft. It will live on as a journal of the plague years, certainly, and it inspires as it instructs. Definitive, engaging, and astonishing. A tour-de-force.” (Paul Farmer, professor, Harvard Medical School, founder, Partners in Health)

“The world is ravenous for deep and accurate information about the most important event in the 21st century. No one is deeper than Nicholas Christakis, who ticks every box of expertise: medical, epidemiological, social, psychological, economic, historical. This is the place to go to understand the phenomenon that has turned the world, and our lives, upside down. Apollo’s Arrow is gripping, enlightening, and vitally important.” (Steven Pinker, author of Enlightenment Now)

What listeners say about Apollo's Arrow

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Nothing new

Told the story of COVID'S origins which has been told countless times.
I never read evidence of the book's subtitle, the profound and enduring impact of coronovirus on the way we live.
Boring and redundant.

8 people found this helpful

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Fantastic Read!

100% enjoyed this book! Very informative and educating, well written and explained, so relative right now, and just gives great perspective that too many people are not even considering.

7 people found this helpful

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Not recommended -- more rehash than analysis

The book was more an assembly and rehash of that which was reported in the mass media. There was no real deep reporting or behind the scenes stories of the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, the companion PDF provided and referred to throughout the text would not open.

5 people found this helpful

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helped frame my reflections in a time of corona

contains a lot of helpful historical context for current events, even though there is no 'solution' or resolution this helped me learned what happened after previous pandemics and what themes were relevant

4 people found this helpful

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Excellent. Scholarly, Insightful, & Comprehensive

I enjoyed learning as I listened to Dr. CHRISTAKIS explain in simple language about pandemics past & presents. I specifically appreciate the he explained the social impact, the way he documented key events related to #Covid_19 chronologically, and his insight of how the #SARS_COV_2 virus may evolve into an endemic & less harmful similar to how the OC43 virus likely evolved.
I am going to buy the hard copy as a reference once the 2nd ed is out because I think an update is necessary in a couple of years.

4 people found this helpful

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Science not political

Great book. The author is very knowledgeable about The current Pandemic as well as knowledge and done extensive research on past pandemics. I liked how he for the most part stayed out of the politics and focused on the science. His analogies make the virus and the way the virus works easier to understand. Anyone who wants to know more about Covid-19 should listen to this book. I also enjoyed that this was narrated by the author himself. Well done.

3 people found this helpful

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A Wealth of Information at Multiple Scales

This book presents our current pandemic within the perspective of the broader human history of pandemics. The medical and social history was very interesting to me, and the work also had just the right amount of detail about SARS-Cov2 of today. It is well written for those of us outside the domain of medicine. An important and valuable work.

3 people found this helpful

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A great book, very informative.

While this book contains many scientific details in terms, it is well explained in a way that someone that listened in high school biology could understand. I would highly recommend it. the book discusses the evidence for and the uncertainties associated with what we know about this virus and the vaccines. it also goes into the importance of various approaches and their effectiveness. turns out social distancing and washing your hands work. more importantly, he goes into more details as to why then you generally hear.

This book seems to be told from the centrist point of view. It does contain some criticisms of elected officials who reacted poorly and against the advice of scientists early on in the pandemic. This includes criticisms of both left-leaning and right-leaning political figures. if that will be extremely upsetting to you, I would still read the book. The information is just so doggone great you can undergo a little discomfort to get it.

2 people found this helpful

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It's Already a Bit Dated

The good doctor does an excellent job in explaining the array of problems that accompany situations where masses of people are affected by a disease. These issues could have been addressed even before the pandemic began, as they are well known from previous epidemics.

The difficulty comes when he analyzes some of the issues specific to the Covid 19 pandemic in this 2020 book: vaccines changed everything. So, for example, he observes that people adapted to Covid by not handshaking, which he describes as a regrettable behavior. What we have seen in 2021--as soon as vaccination made people feel protected--handshaking returned. For the same reason, mask-wearing has become much less prevalent, even in the face of the more communicable Omicron variant.

I think that this excellent book needs a realistic update in light of the difference that vaccination has made in behavior. In fact, this is still a developing story, and the aftermath of the pandemic will see even more changes in our lives. A look backward in a couple of years will probably become a popular literary theme.

1 person found this helpful

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Misleading title

Long on the regurgitation of events over the last 9 months, which will be very useful to future generations but a waste of time for any reasonably informed individual experiencing the pandemic in real time. Short on what the title of the book seems to offer: a look at how this pandemic will shape the immediate and more long term future.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-30-21

Good book

Provides a scientific view of the pandemic, along a historical perspective. Better to read than to hear, as I was struggling at some point to follow the numbers

3 people found this helpful

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  • Enda Moynihan
  • 01-26-21

Covid-sploitation at it's worst.

Instead listen to pale rider and/or the somewhat dated the end of epidemics.

The author is definitive about vaccine priorities with a wonderfully flawed logic that ignores the most vulnerable and makes assumptions about vaccine that the manufacturers are telling us not to make. He is not an epidemiologist and this is clear from the certainty of his flawed logic on many issues. Still it might take a chunk out of his mortgage and I wish him well.

The book is very US-centric and if this pandemic had thought us anything it is to have a look at what the yanks and Brits are doing and to consider doing the opposite.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-25-20

Excellent

great comprehension overview exploring the science, social and economic impacts and their interactions and possible consequences of our current pandemic.