Tuesday, September 05, 2006

[book] The End of Medicine

The End of Medince by Andy Kessler

This is another of those "lucky-rich Silicon Valley guy writes a book just for fun" books, with a style similar to Randy Komasar's Monk and the Riddle, though not nearly as good. As a former technology analyst, he could have written an excellent and detailed summary of the companies working on medical technology, with keen insights on their various prospects (and for all I know, maybe he did write a private book like that), so to be fair, I think he wanted his book to be interesting.

On the other hand, it's a fun read if you're interested in how many rich friends he has, or the countless important people who love to chat with him in various vacation spots. He's trying to be chatty, and "regular-guy", so there are way, way too many irrelevant side remarks and bad jokes (at least 300 out of the 335 pages), but there are a few interesting items in all that fluff.

I learned two things:

  1. Cholesterol drugs are a great business, but they don't prevent that many heart attacks. The latest study (ASCOT-LLA) showed that 98.41% of high-risk people on placebos did just fine. Statins dropped their risk 35%, but that's still only 50 people out of 20K who were saved. Not terribly exciting.
  2. A cool new chip is in the works that might revolutionize personalized medicine. Remember the names Sam Ghambir, Hong Dai, Jim Heath, Bob Sinclair and others doing protein detection with chips.

I admire Andy's insight for how Silicon Valley-style entrepreneurship and technology will reinvent medicine, but if you want to learn about the future, this is not the book.

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