When Peter Piot was in medical school, a professor warned, "There’s no future in infectious diseases. They’ve all been solved." Fortunately, Piot ignored him, and the result has been an exceptional, adventure-filled career. In the 1970s, as a young man, Piot was sent to Central Africa as part of a team tasked with identifying a grisly new virus. Crossing into the quarantine zone on the most dangerous missions, he studied local customs to determine how this disease - the Ebola virus - was spreading. Later, Piot found himself in the field again when another mysterious epidemic broke out: AIDS. He traveled throughout Africa, leading the first international AIDS initiatives there. Then, as founder and director of UNAIDS, he negotiated policies with leaders from Fidel Castro to Thabo Mbeki and helped turn the tide of the epidemic. Candid and engrossing, No Time to Lose captures the urgency and excitement of being on the front lines in the fight against today’s deadliest diseases.
©2012 Peter Piot (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
"A timely and accessible memoir...enthralling reading...will appeal to budding young scientists." (Booklist)
This book is really fascinating, but it is marred by the unfortunate choice of narrator, whose ponderous tempo and patronizing tone are completely unsuited to the actual words that are being read.
This is a career autobiography, so don't expect a lot of family details and such, but the descriptions of the challenges that this passionate doctor faced as he went about pursuing his goal of helping the people who most need helping, are inspiring. The author shows just how hard it can be to be an honest administrator, and how important such people are. He shares his mistakes and failures as well as his successes and honestly discusses some of the unpleasant compromises he made in the pursuit of a laudable goal.
I was particularly impressed with the fact that throughout the book, the author gave credit to other people for achievements which are no doubt often attributed to him alone. Hearing the names of those who have since become known in their own right and those who have not achieved fame was compelling.
I originally picked up this book because I was interested in Piot's experience with Ebola, but this book is much more than a book about diseases. It's a book about human responses and human actions; it's a book about persistence and honor and I was quite inspired by it.
The memoir of the scientist who ran the beginning of the UN's real work on AIDS/HIV. In general, great, but the end section is all about working through political mechanisms. I can imagine it would be dull for many.
I enjoyed the first part of this book which dealt with early discoveries and work. I thought it would continue to be interesting but when it got to the discussion of AIDS, it just dragged. I was under the impression from reading the description there would be more about ebola, etc. but more than half the book deals with AIDS. It's not interesting as those of us who enjoy or work in the field already know the information. I would not recommend this book based on the description.
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