Book Review: Fauci, Expect the Unexpected, Ten Lessons on Truth, Service, and the Way Forward

After seeing Dr. Fauci on televised news conferences for months on end and hearing his name bantered about by both supporters and detractors, when I saw this book on the new release shelf at my library I picked it up to hear from Dr. Fauci himself.

First of all, this book is not exactly written by Dr. Fauci per se, nor was it edited by him. It is a book of excerpts from interviews and speeches that were developed (their word) by National Geographic Books in connection with a documentary also being produced by National Geographic. This is a short read,  only 96 pages, and it reads like one of those books quickly put together after a particularly good celebrity commencement speech, such as Maria Shriver’s Ten Things I Wish I’d Known … Before I Went Out into the Real World.

Each of the short chapters is titled with a life lesson and is laid out with examples from Fauci’s long historied life as a doctor, NIH scientist, and advisor to six different presidents over eleven terms of office. The title of Chapter 4 supplies the title for the collection, Expect the Unexpected. We get to learn a bit about Fauci’s childhood, education, and career choices while the book focuses primarily on his work during the HIV/AIDS crisis. Surprisingly, the very issue that made Fauci a household name, the Covid-19 pandemic, is not even mentioned in the bio on the book jacket.

I found this book interesting but not compelling. Perhaps its abbreviated format and indirect narration made it so. Fauci recently announced that he will retire at the end of this year, and perhaps he will devote some time to an autobiography that will give us a more complete picture of this interesting man.

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