P&P Live! Michael Lewis | The Premonition with Maya Shankar
This event is presented in partnership with our friends at Harvard Bookstore and Books & Books.
For those who could read between the lines, the censored news out of China was terrifying. But the president insisted there was nothing to worry about.
Fortunately, we are still a nation of skeptics. Fortunately, there are those among us who study pandemics and are willing to look unflinchingly at worst-case scenarios. Michael Lewis’s taut and brilliant nonfiction thriller pits a band of medical visionaries against the wall of ignorance that was the official response of the Trump administration to the outbreak of COVID-19.
The characters you will meet in these pages are as fascinating as they are unexpected. A thirteen-year-old girl’s science project on transmission of an airborne pathogen develops into a very grown-up model of disease control. A local public-health officer uses her worm’s-eye view to see what the CDC misses, and reveals great truths about American society. A secret team of dissenting doctors, nicknamed the Wolverines, has everything necessary to fight the pandemic: brilliant backgrounds, world-class labs, prior experience with the pandemic scares of bird flu and swine flu…everything, that is, except official permission to implement their work.
Maya Shankar is a cognitive scientist who served as a Senior Advisor in the Obama White House, where she founded and served as Chair of the White House Behavioral Science Team. She also served as the first Behavioral Science Advisor to the United Nations under Ban Ki-moon, and as a core member of Pete Buttigieg’s debate preparation team during his presidential run. She is currently a Senior Director of Behavioral Economics at Google and host of the new podcast A Slight Change of Plans.