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The End of Medicine: How Silicon Valley (and Naked Mice) Will Reboot Your Doctor Paperback – August 28, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Kessler, bestselling author of Running Money, made his fortune speculating on Silicon Valley. Now he turns his nose for new technology to medicine. Will the same advances that revolutionized computers ripple through hospitals, changing how health care works? Kessler interviews doctors, technicians, radiologists and the businessmen behind technology in medicine. Advances in radiology—which encompasses all the ways we peek inside our bodies, from X-rays to MRIs—are beginning to make our hospitals look like Star Trek. New scanners can provide a high-resolution, three-dimensional image of the heart and allow doctors to spot blockages. Computer-aided diagnostic software is slowly replacing radiologists in looking for cancer in mammograms. But HMOs, lawsuits and patients' desire for personal care may prevent these new techniques from ever being used. As Kessler asks, "What if the future was here with no one to pay for it?" Kessler has a raconteur's ability to entertain, and his outsider's view of medicine is far from typical in a book on health care. However, his narrative is fractured by too many entertaining anecdotes, preventing his story from moving forward. The hors d'oeuvres are delicious, but in this meal, there's not enough room left over for the meat. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure meets The New England Journal of Medicine.” (BusinessWeek)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: HarperBusiness; Reprint edition (August 28, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061130311
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061130311
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,823,670 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Andy Kessler is the author of Wall Street Meat, Running Money, How We Got Here, The End of Medicine and Eat People. Andy worked on Wall Street for almost 20 years, as a research analyst, investment banker, venture capitalist and hedge fund manager. After starting a career designing chips at Bell Labs, Andy worked for PaineWebber and Morgan Stanley and was a partner at Velocity Capital. He has written op-eds for the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Technology Review, The New York Times and elsewhere and has appeared on CNBC, CNN, Fox, NPR and Dateline NBC. He lives in Northern California with his wife and four sons.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

85 of 101 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 30, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a neurologist well aware of medicine's many shortcomings, I was hoping to find that a smart outsider like Kessler would provide some fresh insights and solutions. Unfortunately, he didn't, and I was very disappointed.

First, the style was annoying. Name-dropping and pointless dialogues were apparently meant to pass for breezy, energetic journalism. But the biggest problem was that Kessler didn't do his homework. For example, he unaccountably decided that CT scans of hearts were superior in all ways to echocardiograms, which he regarded as second-rate rip-offs. He completely missed the point that echocardiograms show the heart's walls and valves in motion (the heart is a pump, it moves -- get it?), portraying its physiology and function in a way that no static anatomy test such as a CT could show.

The author failed Medical Reporting 101 -- evidently so confident in his own wisdom that he didn't have to get his facts straight. I imagine he's a better investor than medical reporter, but, due to his lack of due diligence in getting his medical facts straight, this reader won't bother to investigate his other books.
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80 of 96 people found the following review helpful By Scott Meredith on July 10, 2006
Format: Hardcover
THESIS:
Direct visualization and personalized self-testing will replace current indirect poke-and-guess diagnostics. Docs will be thrown out of work. "Geeks are at the gates" of medicine.

METHOD:
Man-On-the-Street, Guy-Just-As-Intimidated-and-Ignorant-As-You-Are holds your hand for a walkthrough of medicine's thrilling futuristic Jetsonesque Road Ahead.

DISEASES:
Mainly heart attack, stroke, cancer. Snippets on obesity and others.

TECHNOLOGIES:
Various sorts of new digitally assisted internal 3D scanning and modeling methods, automated scan picture interpretation systems, computerized gene screening, etc. Basically it is CAM - Computer Assisted Medicine.

TONE:
Silicon Valley bravura.

HUMOR:
Labored.

KUDOS:
Covers (in passing) the ridiculous Lipitor scam (much better treated in Abramson's "Overdosed America : The Broken Promise of American Medicine").

QUOTE:
"Medicine is not vertically integrated or horizontally integrated - it's not integrated at all!"

VEHICLE:
Would've worked better as a medium-to-long magazine article in say Vanity Fair or Esquire or Men's Health. And some well-chosen pictures would've been worth 10,000 words.

WRAPUP:
Digital technology (along with money of course) is certainly the god of Kessler's idolatry, that comes through clear enough. This treatment of health care issues is about a quarter inch deep, but not a bad starting point for further amateur reading. Anyway most disease is probably psycho-spiritual - all this other stuff is just business.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By John Haughom on July 8, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I just finished reading Andy Kessler's book and found it fascinating. As a physician, the medical technologies reviewed in the book were not new to me, but the concept of how digital technology could scale and disrupt was very thought provoking. I believe the premise of Mr. Kessler's book is right on the mark, and I have recommended it to dozens of friends across the country who endeavor to lead meaningful change in an industry that is long overdue for some. By the way, the author's characterization of the industry and profession, while not flattering, was also largely very accurate. This is a must read for anyone interested in healthcare.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 23, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the first Kessler book I have read and I like his style. He is casual and irreverent, but still stays on target throughout. The basic premise- if one can use that term for a non-fiction book- is that surely there must be a "Silicon Valley" angle to medicine that allows for reduction of costs while also increasing quality (like with computers). He uses his connections and charm, I guess, to travel about the country meeting with some of the top minds in medical research and pokes and prods to see where there might be opportunity for "things that scale". He sort of discovers what he already knew- that biology is not like physics (he has a double E degree) and that health care is not like any other business. Very bureaucratic, very disconnected. Doctors disagree about even the most fundamental concepts and there is no universal pool of knowledge to draw from. In other words, they mostly function as independent corporations and thus duplicate or even cancel out a lot of effort.

Kessler uses his Wall Street intuition to pick up on clues as to where this will all lead, and make his best guess on what the future of medicine will hold. His faith in the microchip- or nanochip- is near fanatical, and is never far from the crux of what he considers to be the brightest hope of medicine in the U.S. One thing I liked was that with his focus on science and business and tech solutions he was able to avoid letting this degenerate into a book just arguing about the merits or lack of a single payer system. He mentions this, but mostly just to shrug it off.

This isn't JAMA or Nature or anything, and you're not going to be blown away with hyperbole about cures and miracles of modern medicine, but you are going to get an overhead view from a smart but non-medical guy who writes well. Worth the read, and worth thinking about. Oh yeah- and he says we'll live to be a 100 pretty soon.
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The End of Medicine: How Silicon Valley (and Naked Mice) Will Reboot Your Doctor
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