Quotients de Tracy O'Neill

de Tracy O'Neill - Género: English
libro gratis Quotients


Two people search for connection in a world of fractured identities and aliases, global finance, big data, intelligence bureaucracies, algorithmic logic, and terror.
Jeremy Jordan and Alexandra Chen hope to make a quiet home together but struggle to find a space safe from their personal secrets. For Jeremy, this means leaving behind his former life as an intelligence operative during The Troubles in Northern Ireland. For Alexandra, a high-powered job in image management for whole countries cannot prepare her for her missing brother’s sudden reappearance.
In a culture of limitless surveillance, Jeremy and Alexandra will go to great lengths to protect what is closest to them. Spanning decades and continents, their saga brings them into contact with a down-and-out online journalist, shadowy security professionals, and jockeying technology experts, each of whom has a different understanding of whether information really protects us, and how we might build a world worth trusting in our paranoid age.

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Dr. Paul Farmer is many things, world expert on AIDS and Tuberculosis, patient-care physician extraordinaire, founder of a ground-breaking health care facility in Haiti, consultant to Anti-TB programs in Peru and Russia, author of several books and countless articles, husband, father, and, maybe, saint. He has sympathy for liberation theology and a core understanding of the significance of Voodoo. He is a remarkable character, someone who is making a difference, doing paradigm-altering work in treatment of Multi-Drug-Resistant TB (MDR) and AIDS.

Tracy Kidder - image from The Daily Hampshire Gazette

Kidder traces Farmer, as a professional and as a person, illuminating the path Farmer followed from the eccentric life his family led when he was growing up to his medical education, discovery of Haiti, and growth as a professional. It is an inspirational tale, one that every cynic should read.

What remains an unsolved mystery is what it is that made Paul Farmer the person he is. Many other people have crossed paths with desperation yet not brought such inner resolve to the battle. Why Paul Farmer? As the Who asked of Tommy What makes him so good? After reading the book, I still do not know. What is the core source of a passion for caring? Although he subscribes to some sort of religious outlook, Farmer is no one’s idea of a holy roller.

One question that is raised is how organizations that are so strongly based on remarkable individuals can persist when that individual is no longer personally involved. Have Farmer’s institution-building talents been as successful as his medical acumen? Time will tell. In the meantime, how can we clone this guy?

The book is a fast, engaging and enjoyable read. Hopefully, for some, it will be inspirational.


How Paul Farmer helped save the lives of millions of people by John Green

Paul Farmer in Haiti in January 2012. (Dieu Nalio Chery/AP) via Washington Post

Farmer passed away in February 2022 while working in Rwanda. He was 62. This is a huge loss for humanity.biography nonfiction public-health226 s Miguel12

I am not really sure where to begin when it comes to this book. Let us just say that Tracy Kidder writes a mean biography/account of perhaps one of the most influential people of our (Generation iPod/big box stores) time. This book really encapsulates what I imagine Paul Farmer's credo is; that is to say, fuck the idea of appropriate technology, sustainability and cost-effectiveness this is human suffering that we are flapping our tongues about...get real.

Sheer eloquence I know...

I am sure that this appeals to many a PCV out there and particularly Health Volunteers because it advocates and condones what we feel every time we run into Djeneba who is sick with Sumaya or Traore Chekoroba who's got Amoebic dysentery,that "wish I could ease your suffering feeling", part of it can very well be empathy, because I know a great deal of us have been in similar situations while in country. But it always seems to me,empathy never gets us anywhere with out the proper training or funds to make a true difference in people's lives (I imagine Dr. Farmer would probably say that that feeling was half an accomplishment, the rest comes later :) ).

Yet, Paul Farmer realizes the healing of suffering on what seems every scale, from the creation of health policy at the highest echelons of international bodies to the curing of the individual sick right in their very homes.

Reading this made me feel inspired and motivated...don't mean to gush too much though, people might start to think I am kissing both the author's and Paul Farmer's culo.

Also I believe this book has given me the inclination to read others it, whether it be novels with strong social commentary (Graham Greene) to papers that describe the tenets of liberation theology. So if any of you rapscallions out there have any books to recommend, please shoot those suggestions my way! 79 s1 comment Elyse Walters4,010 11.3k

Update... this is another book that I read before I joined Goodreads. I still own it and it’s a treasure.

It’s a Kindle special $1.99 today. I’m only mentioning it because sometimes people are looking for one of those great books that they’ve missed....at a great price to boot: this is one of them!

EXCELLENT........(read it along time ago —it inspired me!!!)

Sarah14 7

For anyone who yearns to "make a difference" but feels overwhelmed at where to start, this book will inspire you, maybe even shock you. Doctor Paul Farmer decided at the age of 23 to devote his life to treating the poor. He established a clinic in one of the most impoverished parts of Haiti called Zanmi Lasante. Over the next twenty years, he treated not just the poor in Haiti, but expanded to treat the poor in Peru and prisoners in Russia, leading efforts to address "impossible" diseases multi-drug resistant TB and AIDS. His attitude from the beginning has been "the current way's not working. I'll do it my way." When he first encountered the corrupt and ill-run Haitian clinics, he decided, "I'm going to build my own fucking hospital. And there'll be none of that there, thank you." At an international AIDS conference in South Africa where a banker commented that Africans must learn to curb their sexual appetites, Farmer responded, "I want to talk about other bankers, not the World Bankers, but bankers in general. My suspicion is they're not getting a lot of sex, because they spend a lot of time screwing the poor"
Farmer allows one to believe that one can "follow one's heart" AND be effective. Of course, he had more than ideals. He also has a medical degree from Harvard and a level of commitment few of us can even imagine. He still makes house calls to the poor in Haiti, trekking for hours up and down mountains. He loves Lord of the Rings and maybe this is what inspires him! But now, vivified in this book, he's a symbol to inspire others. There's so much to take away from his story. For me, it speaks largely to the power of purpose and a commitment to action in the name of that purpose. Ignoring those who would question and discourage, the "Are you sure that's a good idea?" questions and trust one's inner bidding. We are all so well-trained in being cynical, in doubting. But if we want change, we have to bring something of our own to the table to believe in. And start focusing our energy on that, not on the crap that already exists that we don't . Farmer has done that and it's really, really worked. 47 s1 comment Cait444 16

I lived on the Dominican Republic/Haiti border for a few years as a child, so the initial description in this book of how Haiti is fucked doesn't come as a surprise. I mean. Just about everything that could possibly go wrong on the road to becoming a self-sustaining country has just been ripped from them. (ASK ME MY FEELINGS ON THE LATEST COUP THERE AGH, AGH, OH MY GOD, AGH.)

Haiti: fucked. CHECK.

The book then goes on to describe the life and training of Paul Farmer. Paul Farmer, who managed to commute to the clinic he was running in rural Haiti while in medical school. On an apparently weekly/monthly/VERY OFTEN basis. As some one who is contemplating medical school- I kind of hope to cook some of my own meals, while studying. Perhaps I will play a game of soccer or two in the four years I spend hunched over textbooks, but my mind is completely blown by the idea of maintaining practical work (in a foreign country) while taking classes (LET ALONE GETTING A PHD CONCURRENTLY). I honestly can hardly wrap my head around it.

Paul Farmer: the kind of great-hearted genius we hold up as an example, but do not actually emulate. CHECK.

(I am coming to terms with the fact that this review is all about me, me, me.) This is the kind of work I want to do, this "preferential option for the poor" that Kidder details in this book. This is absolutely what I want to do, but I reached the half-way point in this book (You know, the point at which this tiny three-person-single-man-funded-non-profit takes on multi-drug resistant TB in Peru.) totally discouraged. Evidently, it takes super-human commitment, brains, understanding, courage, gumption and craziness to take on the worlds' ills. I can't be that person. Honestly, I don't even want to be that person.

That isn't what the book is saying, obviously, but that's absolutely what I was reading. The book goes on to talk about the expansion of the crusade against MDR in Russian prisons, the expansion of the Haitian clinic (now with operating theater!) and it was interesting, if ultimately discouraging. Then I got to this line, where Paul Farmer is frustrated at some student email and says (I'm paraphrasing) "I'm the model for what needs to be done, not for how to do it."

I am really not sure how I managed to miss that, three quarters of the way through the book, but the sigh of relief when I finally, finally figured it out was profound. Of course this isn't the only way to do it. "It" here being leveling the playing field of medicine, or caring for the poor, or being a decent human being in the world, or some combination thereof. But it's important, and it needs to be done, and there's really no excuse for not being part of it.

Mountains Beyond Mountains: Depressing, but wildly inspirational for a wanna-be rural doctor. CHECK.

I finished this book sitting backstage for the dress rehearsal of the show I'm in- and I could hardly go on and talk about atomic energy. It is a book exactly written for me, and this was the exact moment to read it. true-stories-that-are-amazing39 s bruin105 44

in my opinion our construction of heroes in this world leaves a lot to be desired. and while paul farmer might indeed being doing incredible work with an incredible attitude/perspective, i tired quickly of this book's idolation and unquestioning worship.

this is *not* how we will create more heroes among ourselves and others. this is precisely how people dr. king have been removed from the people and pedastalized to the detriment of our movements and our visions for change.

get a grip tracy kidder and drop the holier than thou personifications.health sustainability34 s Catherine3 2

I wish I had known. Paul Farmer, the subject of this book's adoration, spoke at Columbia's commencement ceremony this past May. At that time, I had never heard of him. If I had known, I would have gone and been able to see first-hand who he is.
"Mountains Beyond Mountains" is neither biography nor non-fiction, but is more a commentary on the author's time spent with Dr. Paul Farmer. It briefly browses through his life story: very unusual upbringing, extremely well-educated genius, quirky but charismatic personality. It also browses through each of the projects Dr. Farmer has been involved in: TB and later AIDS in central Haiti, TB in Peru and Russia.
too many quasi-biographies I've read, this one glorifies its subject while simultaneously de-personifying him. I have no idea what Dr. Paul Farmer is really , but now at least I can imagine that he's a heroic, driven, relentless, brilliant, caring, wonderful doctor and advocate for the poor around the world. The author may want us to believe that Farmer is completely selfless, and perhaps he is, but I must admit that in his appearance, personality, and actions, the description of Farmer in this book reminded me most of Ayn Rand's perfect, ideal egoist hero. I wish I could know what he is really , because people the man idolized by this book don't exist.
Perhaps I should have read this by choice instead of because it was assigned. Perhaps I should have read it before spending two months in Guatemala instead of after. Perhaps I should have read it in a single afternoon (which is perfectly feasible - it's a decent read) instead of spread over 10 days. But I just couldn't get into it because I felt the whole time that I was being sold a vision that I don't share. Whatever problems there may be with world-wide health, a lot more could be accomplished by everyone doing a little than by one man driving himself beyond all reasonable limits.
My overall view: an interesting narrative of Dr. Farmer and his ideas and work around the world, but not one that I'd choose to read again for fun30 s Steph | bookedinsaigon1,080 444

You’re not supposed to love this book. To do so would be to fall to the seduction of blind idolatry, and Farmer, the book’s subject, even points out that this is not his goal: the goal isn’t to convince more people to BE Farmer, but rather to think him, to believe in what he believes. As a fiction reader/writer who only sporadically dabbles in nonfiction, I find it hard to consolidate the opinions of the two types of readers in me: the one who reads to learn the craft of writing, and the one who wants to be moved by new, eye-opening reading experiences.

Research aside, Kidder’s writing style and his way of creating “characters” is simplistic. He basically throws a million details, PIH-er vocabulary, Farmer quotes, and anecdotes at you and essentially commands you to be convincingly immersed in their world. And, if you don’t actually feel immersed, because the words and details on the page are basically deliberately arrhythmic, Kidder and Farmer will give you the steady “are-you-stupid” stare—you don’t get it, do you, because you’re not smart enough to get it, you will never be able to truly understand and get the inner workings of Farmer’s mind and soul.

Actually, Kidder addresses this in his book. I think it’s partly the reason for why he actually writes himself as a character into his book: because Paul Farmer is so easy to deify, with his nerdily bemused made-up vocabulary and quips, his grand visions, his inexplicable endless resource of energy, that we mere mortal readers need someone in the book with whom we can connect and empathize. Kidder is not especially likable in the book: he essentially takes on the role of Devil’s advocate and asks Farmer all the questions that we readers are thinking but would never dare admit that we’re thinking: Can you really do what you envision? How can you exist without a solid flow of monetary support? Is it really worthwhile for you to use your time and money to help someone with just a 5% chance of living past age thirty? Kidder places himself as the dumb normal man because that’s how we’re all feeling in the shadow of Farmer. And this leads to one of the ongoing emotional contradictions we have regarding this book: Farmer makes us feel guilty for not ourselves being a part of his cause, and then we feel angry that Farmer is making ourselves feel guilty by example, etc.

The debate over the best way to portray Farmer and his work aside (is a print book, with all its limitations and the conscious/subconscious selectivity of language, the best medium through which to convey Farmer’s beliefs and dreams?), the book’s message is one that grows on you, to ultimately become something you go back to, again and again. It doesn’t smack you over the head with itself: for most of the book, I was still struggling between what it is that Farmer and Kidder were trying to make me feel, and to believe in the feasibility of Farmer’s vision, not only as a reader believes in a book’s world but as a frustrated individual believes in the vision’s place in our real world.

There are many different things that many different readers can take away from MOUNTAINS BEYOND MOUNTAINS. You could feel ridicule masking insecurity over Farmer’s and PIH’s actions. You could take the book as an inspirational call to arms—and then be stranded because you don’t know how to make the best use of your arms. You can say, that’s nice, this is a nice biography about a nice, good man, and then move on to the next book in your TBR pile. (The book—Farmer and Kidder—also preempts any seemingly original emotional and intellectual responses to itself because it works all these different possible responses into its narrative. The self-awareness of this book is super annoying at times!)

What I took away from this book, however, is this: the world is a sucky place, and most of the suckiness is the result of our—humans’—interferences with the natural state of things, by imposing structures and systems on everything and creating disparities. As Farmer says, suffering is a human creation, and then we devise ways to ease that suffering, but only for the people who contributed to the creation of that suffering in the first place. And it’s really easy for us individuals to feel frustrated and helpless in the face of such systems that claim, but fail, to benefit humanity (see: the big mess that is the United States congressional system).

But rather than wrap ourselves in that helplessness and frustration, we should believe, first and foremost, in the power of the individual to help others, and then in the power of a collective of -minded individuals to enact even greater changes, essentially beating the system and establishing their own system that is based upon actual observation and experience at the individual level. This is why Farmer continues to trek seven hours into the central plateau of Haiti in order to call on just one patient: without that focus on the individual, PIH’s system will become every other system in history and the world that has failed in its missives, tangled up in bureaucracy and financial economy and the .

Focusing on the individual is doable, and essential, and I can do it, and you can do it, and everyone can do it, and this dream that the world can be an inexplicably better place, however opaque the path there is.life-changers26 s Rose80 8

Mountains Beyond Mountains is a biography of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Harvard educated physician who, in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds, set out to bring life-saving, 'first-world' medical practices to the desperately poor in rural Haiti. This book has almost become essential reading for those who have even the most cursory interest in fields often referred to as global health, social medicine, or public health.

Paul Farmer is a unique doctor who seems genuinely called to a life of service to the poor. He grew up in an unusual family and environment and is undoubtedly a brilliant man. While an undergrad at Duke he first visited Haiti and this experience changed him profoundly. During medical school at Harvard, he spent half his time working in a clinic on the island. Later, he had the good fortune to meet a Boston millionaire who, over the course of a couple decades, has given nearly his whole savings to Farmer to use in Haiti and various other countries where Farmer's organization, Partners in Health (PIH), sponsors community medical projects. He was also surrounded by several close friends who have also dedicated their lives to Paul and his vision (one of whom was Ophelia Dahl, daughter of British author Roald Dahl, who plays a fascinating part in the story; I wish the book told us more about her).

I think a reader can safely say that Farmer is a visionary. He saw the shocking state of healthcare in rural Haiti and dreamed of raising the standard of care in that area. Since then, he has devoted his life to building a sustainable healthcare network in the Cange and erradicating the area of infectious diseases long since cured in the first world. Haitians hardly experience an equitable standard of care to what we have in the United States, and perhaps never will, but this hasn't stopped Farmer from trying. For example, the most rampant infectious disease in the Cange was tuberculosis (TB), which was expensive to treat because of a low supply of pricey first-line drugs. The drug companies didn't make many of these drugs because there was little to no demand for them by those who could afford to pay. Farmer and PIH worked to convince the drug companies to increase the supply and drop the prices, while simultaneously convincing the World Health Organization (WHO) to purchase and distribute the supply and treat those in impoverished countries who were suffering from a treatable disease. This was no easy task, but PIH proved to the world that it is possible to successfully provide the poor with quality medical care.

The book is painfully long but, I think, ultimately worth the struggle. I applaud the author, Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy Kidder, for taking on such an enormous subject. The book breaks down medical terminology and practice, while also tackling some pretty enormous political and social issues. And as if that were not enough, Farmer himself is a larger-than-life character. Half the time I can't tell if Kidder loves him or loathes him, and Kidder himself probably doesn't even know. Farmer's life is inspiring because he has accomplished so much in very little time. But at the same time, the man is no saint, despite the fact that people regularly call him such to his face. He is absolutely infuriating. He seems to have an answer to everything. At one point, Kidder writes several pages about the "language" of PIH, which incorporates unique acronyms, words, and made-up phrases. Kidder explains that one "could hang around the inner circle of PIH for a long time without understanding what the rules were and feeling excluded" (Kidder 217). Famer responds that "'If so, it's surely the most inclusive damn club in the world, being full of people with AIDS, WL's galore, tons of students, church ladies, lots of patients, and it's a club that grows and never shrinks" (217). Sure, Farmer has a memorable response ready, but it's total bullshit. If you weren't in PIH, you wouldn't know that "WL's" stands for "white liberals," a group upon which he reluctantly relies for funding and regularly mocks. Farmer preaches humility, but says things "Every account is partial [...] except mine" (252).

What seems most tricky about Paul Farmer, however, is that his model for building PIH and creating large-scale community health projects is not replicable, but he has become one of world's most sought-after experts in global health. What I mean is that, when starting PIH, Farmer happened to have a non-restricted, ready supply of cash from a generous private donor, a truly rare situation for a non-profit start-up company with no established organizational structure. When the money ran out, he stole medical supplies from Boston's most wealthy hospitals. He literally stole hundreds of thousands of dollars in medications. For a good cause? Sure. What this proves is that sometimes the people with power don't need a little push, but need to be shoved off a cliff, to make the world change. But how can someone who built a medical treatment program around theft lecture others on building sustainable global health projects? I'm sure Farmer would have a memorable response to my complaint, something that made me feel a real jerk and used some cryptic acronyms to make me feel excluded from his inner circle. But these complexities are what make him so provocative and, thus, the subject of a biography worth reading.21 s HBalikov1,910 759

One person can make a difference. Kidder finds another superb subject for examination. Should be a great book for discussion. Dr. Farmer is not one-dimensional, but he is almost mono-maniacal in his dedication. Kidder is not afraid to give us enough to consider whether the ends justify the means. A well told story that, with luck, will inspire others to similar dedication.21 s Gary the Bookworm130 131

“We want to be on the winning team, but at the risk of turning our backs on the losers, no, it is not worth it. So we fight the long defeat.”

Paul Farmer, Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World

Reading Tracy Kidder's engrossing portrait of Dr. Paul Farmer, a doctor and anthropologist, I came to understand that the above words weren't meant to be pessimistic or sentimental, they were simply a way of explaining the resolve which animates his extraordinary efforts on behalf of his patients. A brief glance at the titles of a few of Dr. Farmer's books gives you a sense of his worldview - and his penchant for pithy alliteration - AIDS and Accusation: Haiti and the Geography of Blame; Infections and Inequalities: The Modern Plagues; Pathologies of Power: Health, Human Rights, and the New War on the Poor; Haiti After the Earthquake.This is a man who believes with all his heart that the "idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong with the world" and that "a social justice approach should be central to medicine and utilized to be central to public health....the well should take care of the sick."

Kidder spent a great deal of time with Farmer. He accompanied him on hospital rounds in Boston, Siberia and, particularly in Haiti, Farmer's home-of-choice, partly because it was - and is - so neglected and needy - which included day-long hikes across rugged terrain on house calls to assess living conditions as part of a patient's treatment plan. They shared grueling transcontinental flights for a brief meeting on behalf of Partners in Health, a global health organization founded by Farmer and Kidder came to an understanding of Farmer which goes far beyond admiration. There is a great deal to savor in his ode to this marvel of medicine "who would cure the world." His prose is provocatively persuasive: “I think Farmer taps into a universal anxiety and also into a fundamental place in some troubled consciences, into what he calls "ambivalence," the often unacknowledged uneasiness that some of the fortunate feel about their place in the world, the thing he once told me he designed his life to avoid.”

One of the many ironies is that Farmer's own childhood was anything but privileged. His family lived for years in a converted bus or on a boat captained by an unconventional father who knew almost nothing about maritime navigation. Reading about this heroic man may not change your life, but, at the very least, it may lead you to reconsider many myths about the origins of poverty, and its devastating consequences when it comes to basic health care access.for-wine-club18 s Carmel HanesAuthor 1 book155

I was unaware of Paul Farmer until he recently died and a GR friend mentioned their admiration for him. My curiosity led to an audio listen of this book, written by Tracy Kidder, who followed Farmer around for months, capturing the essence of the man and his work. What a remarkable human, although to call him human seems a disservice. I pale in comparison.

We see Farmer through Kidder's eyes, traipsing up mountains to visit a sick or injured Haitian, traveling to Russia to address prison TB outbreaks, creating health clinics in one of the poorest nations in our world, arranging free care out of the country for those suffering rare conditions that can't be addressed at home, creating new treatment regimens when the old ones failed. A man more comfortable squatting on dirt floors to see patients than being put up in ritzy hotels. A man who sacrificed personal relationships in favor of a telephoto focus on helping people; his hierarchy of focus being the poor, prisoners, then everyone else. A man who took the words "It can't be done" or "It's not cost effective" and made things happen anyway.

This was a man who left life-sustaining ripples in his wake. Our world and medical practices are richer as a result of his steadfast determination and medical brilliance. And bobbing along on that wake are all those inspired by him, and who learned from him; who use his treatment protocols to this day to save lives and improve quality of life.

Farmer's foundational value--that no life was worth less than any other--directed him through life. If I could turn that into fairy dust and sprinkle it around the world, I would. Truly a stellar individual and one who left a beautiful legacy behind. 19 s Phyllis Runyan333

I wish there were more people in this world Paul Farmer, a doctor who specializes in medical anthropology and infectious diseases. Tracy Kidder followed him around the world for parts of three years to research this book. Paul Farmer brought treatment for TB, AIDS and Malaria to thousands of people in Haiti, Russia, and Peru. He would hike for seven hours to remote areas in Haiti to treat people. There are so many inspiring moments in this book. His philosophy was "the only real nation is humanity." This book was published in 2003 and the epilogue in the copy I have was from 2009. The last sentence sums it up for me which the author says "Now that I am no longer scrutinizing him, I think of him simply as a friend. I don't idolize him, but I am grateful that he is living on this planet." What a remarkable person. It gives me hope that maybe the human race has a chance. 13 s Anna97 79

This is required reading for all PC health volunteers. Just remember “If Paul is the standard, we are all fucked.” Farmer is a doctor working in rural Haiti, a land that many have forgotten and others are willfully ignoring. Tracy Kidder is a journalist who runs across Farmer while on assignment covering the political turmoil of Haiti in 1994. Kidder unexpectedly finds a man many would call (and have called) a saint. A enigmatic figure in jeans and a black shirt, Paul Farmer has taken on crippling rural poverty, institutionalized racism (or classism), TB and HIV and largely won. By focusing on the individual patient and with a clear understanding that the poor deserve no less than the rich, he has surpassed every expectation of what can be accomplished.
A TB patient stops his treatment. Instead of trusting the axiom that the poor believe they are cured once the symptoms stop, he investigates deeper to find their family was starving. TB medication is important, but feeding your children will always be a priority. Faced with a new challenge, he decided to treat the malnutrition by providing food for the families of his patients, and went further to provide a floor and a roof for their homes, potable water systems to avoid water born illnesses, and basically anything any of his patients asked of him. His methods are far from what we to call sustainable. What would Farmer say to that? “Fuck You.”
Paul Farmer did not set out to change the world. He just wanted to help people, and he has, millions of them. He did not design his project for imitation or broad appeal. He just viewed every person individually and tried to picture each one as himself. Using this simple method of human decency he has created one of the best clinics in the world, in a country with no health care to speak of and no governmental support. He has moved on to other projects internationally, in Peru, Mexico, and Russia. Lauded by all who know him personally, and attacked by those whose worldview he disturbs.
Tracy Kidder has strong presence in his book. It is the first time, says the reader’s guide, that he has chosen to write in first person narrative. In doing so he allows himself personal bias. He connects us to the characters and gives us a strong sense of how amazing and unique Paul Farmer is. He lets us know its okay to feel annoyed at Farmer for his disregard for the norms. He lets us know its okay to feel guilty for not being able to dedicate our lives so fully to the poor.
Despite having spent the last year working in Public Health, I never really understood it and its global implications until I read this book. For Farmer healthcare for all is a moral imperative. It makes me feel a little bit better about the work I’m doing, while at the same time making me feel I could never quite do enough.
13 s El1,355 497

I have about a decade's experience of working in the medical field - the first couple working on a patient floor in a hospital as a unit clerk putting in orders so inpatients could get the tests they needed, calling codes and doctors during emergencies, that sort of thing. I thought that was stressful. (And it was, but I was also younger and had less perspective.) I wound up leaving that job and going back to the book store world because there are no book emergencies and that was greatly appealing to me.

For the past eight years I've worked in a hospital, but not with direct patient care. I do a lot of the things behind-the-scenes, stuff that (if you've ever been sick or needed surgery) you might not think about because on your end it's sort of all magic - one minute you're talking to the doctor and then the next you're having surgery. I guess you could say what we do behind-the-scenes is being leprechauns. We make the magic happen, as I to say.

What I've seen in the past eight years (that I didn't see the first couple when I first started in the medical field) is the business end of healthcare. I've worked with a variety of surgeons - some who are more interested in where the money is coming from than where it is going, and some who are the opposite. And the rare some (okay, I can think of one) who didn't think that the money should be considered at all. He didn't care where the money was coming from or where it was going. If he had his druthers, there'd probably be no exchange of money at all. It's why he retired on his own terms after spending years doing the things his partners wouldn't do because none of it made them any money. It wasn't glamorous, what he was doing, but he felt it was important and he helped people keep their legs and feet on occasion, which is pretty admirable. He was the guy who would go to church on Sunday where members might come up to him and say "Hey, can you take a look at this real quick?" while pulling off their shoes. He never said no.

I thought that was pretty great.

Then there's this whole other issue in healthcare that people are even less familiar with, especially many who live in North America where the healthcare system is decent, even when it's corrupt or political. Third world countries don't get the same healthcare, not even a little bit. Dr. Paul Farmer recognized that and for him, it wasn't about providing medical attention and making money off of it. It is solely about providing medical attention. People are people, right? Doesn't matter what color they are, where they live, how much money they have, what they can do for me or you or that other person.

Dr. Farmer's focus has been infectious diseases (tuberculosis and HIV primarily, at least as detailed in this book) in Haiti, Peru, and Russia. Kidder spent years traveling and working with him and learning of his quirks and his personality and his, apparently, unceasing energy and drive. I work with surgeons who cry that they have 100 emails in a day whereas Dr. Farmer (at the time of this publication) would receive over 200. And he'd answer them all. And, as far as I know, he never responded with "I don't have time for this".

I am always slightly wary of books these, the kind that glorify one person because no one person is 100% saintly, 100% perfect. People are people and all people have flaws. Even my mentor who used to look at the wounds of his fellow church-goers. He has flaws and he'll be the first to point them out.

Kidder points out Farmer's flaws too, which I found refreshing. He's not perfect, though he aspires for his work to be as close-to-perfect as possible because imperfection leads to spreading infection or, worse case scenario, death. He wants to reach and touch and save as many people as possible. As far as I can tell from Kidder's book, Farmer has gotten to where he is without stepping on people on the way. He seems to have always recognized people for their worth and has been a respectful and compassionate person throughout his life. He recognized in himself a skill in medicine and chose to use that skill in the best way he knew how, he's one of those who genuinely shot for the moon and landed among the stars. As far as I know, he's still at it too. He might just reach the moon one day after all.

He's a human who has made and will continue to make mistakes, but learns from those mistakes and tries not to repeat them. He understands the politics and the bureaucracy of his profession but tries to work within it, use that towards not his benefit, but for the benefit of the people he is trying to help. And it seems, for all intents and purposes, that his enthusiasm is contagious in a pay-it-forward sort of way.

I was pleasantly surprised by this book and was touched, just the blurb on the cover said I would be. I'm always aware that there's probably a lot left out of books these, but for what it is (a biography), it hits all the right marks.
"Paul has created technical solutions to help the rest of us get to decency, a road map to decency that we can all follow without trying to imitate him... Paul is a model of what should be done. He's not a model for how it has to be done. Let's celebrate him. Let's make sure people are inspired by him. But we can't say anybody should or could be just him... Because if the poor have to wait for a lot of people Paul to come along before they get good health care, they are totally fucked."
(p 244)21st-centurylit cultural-studies-and-other science-and-medicine10 s Fred Forbes1,045 60

If I were to judge the content of this book by the actions of the main subject, Dr. Paul Farmer, I would naturally award it 5 stars. This is an amazing individual - one gets tired just reading about him as the travels the world - Haiti, Peru, Russia - aiding the impoverished by treating infectious diseases TB and AIDs. How he ever finds time to write, publish, and address conventions is beyond me. But, Kidder's prose gets a bit wearying, repetitive, and plodding at times. Unusual for so accomplished a writer ( I enjoyed several of his other books, especially the Pulitzer winner, "Soul of A New Machine"). Still, a book worth reading if only for learning some Haitian history, the operation of the Cuban health care system and the sad state of the medical care to which the world's impoverished masses are subject.12 s carrie12 3

If you would to feel you are self-centered and haven't accomplished much, read about Doctor Paul. I was going to try to cure Africa of TB, but I just haven't had time lately. I need to meet this guy, if only to hear more stories about growing up on a bus. This book unfolds in a grabbing way, and reads easily despite a telling of facts and events.11 s Chris793 148

WOW!! We need more people Paul Farmer.!!! Someone who is driven by purpose, has unflagging energy & commitment to the cause, is brilliant, visionary, and just gets things done!! Dr. Paul Farmer, an infectious disease specialist and medical anthropologist by education, one of the founders of the non-profit Partners in Health had a quirky upbringing and I would say he continued to be a quirky character as Kidder illuminates in his travels with him over the years. I have to admit, I was exhausted after finishing the book. Whether it was from the frequent long & arduous treks in the countryside to see a patient, or the jetting to another country for a 2 hour meeting and then jetting back, all the while not using flying time for sleeping but for working.

There is much one could focus on in the book, but I will just highlight a couple of things.

Farmer had an experience in Haiti during his college years which changed the course of his life and world view. Liberation theology and social justice mixed into the medical desire for cure. His life seems dichotomous at times. He became a medical Robin Hood ("redistributive justice") and a powerful fundraiser, he loved caring for the individual, yet became an icon in global health arenas, especially in the areas of multi-drug resistant TB, and AIDS. He focus is on the least among us: the poor, prisoners, & other disenfranchised groups. "The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong with the world."

Kidder explores Farmer's upbringing and life's journey to the point of when they met and then narrates his time with Farmer spent primarily in Haiti, but also Peru, Russia, & Boston. He is the Joe Normal to Farmer's almost saintly portrayal, and sometimes plays the Devil's advocate. He brings us into Farmer's world and how progress was made in improving the lives & health in one of the most impoverished locations in Haiti.

Many times, in reading about the work, I'd think what have I done? or even feel guilty that I am not as selfless as Dr. Farmer appears to be...and then late in the book a sign is found on the wall of a Partners in Health worker that said something this: If you try to be Paul Farmer, you are fucked. It made me feel better.bookclub2 nonfiction science-or-medicine10 s Anna-karin101 1 follower

I find it difficult to describe this book. There is a line in it that says something to the effect of: Don't let perfect get in the way of good. That describes the book as well as the doctor that the book is about. The good that this doctor has brought about and continues to bring about, and the good that the book has brought about by publicizing this, is hard to overestimate. While there are mistakes made by those who are working to bring about good, when we criticize their mistakes and hide our own guilt behind that criticism, we are the hypocrites. Dr. Farmer has unreal dedication and cuts through the intellectual fluff that we as a privileged society often hide behind, and shows that curing the world is not only possible, but even probable, if enough people make the goal to do it. This book makes me re-evaluate my life's purpose and what I am doing to help others. I have far to go. Read the book. It's life-changing.10 s JulieAuthor 6 books2,087

Journalist Tracy Kidder offers a complex portrayal of Dr. Paul Farmer, founding member of Partners in Health and tireless advocate of health care and social justice for the poor. Kidder struggles to retain subjectivity as he inserts himself directly into Farmer's life. He strives to not present Farmer as a Messianic figure, yet resists focusing on Paul's flaws and the sacrifices he has forced his loved ones and colleagues to make in his quest to save the lives of the least of us.

The frequent first-person narration (interspersed with the typical third-person exposition of Farmer's life before he and the author met) is perhaps what I most appreciated about this biography- that Kidder doesn't distance himself from Farmer. By being a central character in this story, Kidder allows us our natural tendency to compare our lives with Farmer's- which can't help but to come up hopelessly short in compassion and action. By revealing his affection for and occasional irritation with Farmer, he acknowledges the awe and the self-indulgent guilt nearly all of us would feel in the presence of a man who is changing the world.

The book is also a fascinating account of the politics and the personal of global health organizations. The story of how Partners in Health began in a one-room office in 1987 with a handful of very young, very talented visionaries, including Farmer and his then-girlfriend, Ophelia Dahl, who remains PIH's Executive Director, is a testament to the power of belief in and dedication to social justice. PIH has grown in relevance and effectiveness to become one of the most world's respected and influential NGO's. It should and has served as a model to international development organizations of how to structure an agency that can move nimbly and effectively according to need and partnership opportunities.

Paul Farmer is an exceptional human being- there is simply no denying that he walks in the steps of humanitarian geniuses who precede him: Albert Schweitzer, to name but one. Perhaps he lacks the charisma of Dr. Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. or Mahatma Gandhi, but certainly not their intellect (not surprisingly he was awarded the MacArthur Fellowship (or "Genius Grant") in 1993; certainly the Nobel Prize for Medicine and/or Peace will follow). He has an astonishing stamina and is relentless in his pursuit of his beliefs. Yet, the point of this biography is not to deify a great man.

One of my favorite quotes of this book, delivered by Jim Yong Kim, who has been with PIH nearly from its beginning: "If Paul is the model, we're fucked." Jim continues, "Paul is the model of what should be done. He's not a model for how it should be done. Let's celebrate him. Let's make sure people are inspired by him. But we can't say anybody should or could be just him. Because if the poor have to wait for a lot of people Paul to come along before they get good health care, they are totally fucked."

None of us can be Paul Farmer. Each of us can DO something to alleviate suffering. It is the doing of the thing that Paul Farmer exemplifies; he has never let the Sisyphean hopelessness of disease and poverty stop him from working to seek their end. The challenges have made him work all the harder. What an inspiration.

best-of-2010 bio-autobio-memoir read-2010 ...more9 s Hans848 327

Though I am sure that Dr. Paul Farmer has flaws the rest of us, he does have something that makes him stand apart, a powerful dedication to others. Certainly there may be ways to criticize this book, either by focusing on the trivial writing style or the implausibility of replicating what he has done, but the overall message is what is so powerfully compelling. It is more than a story about one man's struggle to make the world better for the less fortunate. It is a reflection and analysis of our own excessive culture and how we easily write off the suffering of others, how our biases, cultures and bureaucracies make us not only blind to the suffering of others but numb as well. Dr. Paul is living the Higher Morality that we all should aspire, and maybe him and people him will help usher in a new global morality built on compassion.

A day may come many years from now when future generations will look back, after they have cleaned up our messes, and be shocked by the shear apathy of our and previous generations. If Compassion ever becomes the norm in the future how will history judge our time? When men Dr. Farmer are considered mad because they work so hard for others? May we all be lucky enough that our posterity will not have to look back on us with shame.inspirational political6 s Cara780 67

I had to seriously think for a long time about why I hated this book. It's not that I hate Paul Farmer, though I think I'm not going to read Haiti: After the Earthquake until I get the rancid taste of this book out of my mouth. Paul Farmer seems he's actually a pretty great person doing some great work. And I certainly Haiti - I've been there twice and those experiences were extraordinarily memorable for me. And I also find books about epidemiology and especially infectious diseases to be really interesting in general.

This book has all the right ingredients. It's just that it is so... boring. Yes, that's the word for it. Utterly and completely boring. I don't know why. I've thought about it, and I can't figure it out. I could spend more time thinking about it, but I don't care that much.

Two stars instead of one, for Paul Farmer being a good guy.9 s Brandi152 19

Had to read this for a first year university thing, and greatly resented this first uni experience. What I got out of this book was that, basically, if you weren't helping the sick in Haiti, then you suck. I felt Tracy Kidder didn't appreciate the valuable work of anyone else in any other field - or, honestly, anybody but Dr. Farmer. Then Dr. Farmer came to speak to my school, and I hated the book even more after being forced to listen to him. I rarely hate books, but Kidder's uncritical praise of Farmer made me see Farmer as an egotistical jackass. Helpful in the grand scheme of things, sure, but I don't want to hear about him. 9 s Erin Sorensen12 4

This book was amazing. Dr. Paul Farmer is my hero. This story really gives you a new perspective, it is very inspiring.9 s Karen Hogan890 53

Dr Paul Farmer was selfless; tirelessly doctoring and advocating for the poor in Haiti, Peru, and Russia. He was an amazing example of a person who cared for others before himself; living and working amongst the poorest of the poor. This book makes you question why you don't do more to help the poor. At least it did for me.8 s Rebecca McPhedran1,226 80

I just finished this amazing account of the work of Paul Farmer. Farmer is a medical anthropologist, who travels the world (including Peru, Russia and Haiti). His name is one of the best known in international medical circles. He is a champion for the poor, and not just the American poor, but those who are oppressively, chronically poor-with barely any hope of ever seeing a doctor in their lives. Tracy Kidder dos an amazing job of chronicling his time spent with Farmer, traveling back and forth to Haiti and all over the globe. Farmer has been working in Haiti for over 30 years, since before he started medical school, and as Kidder writes in his book, "Farmer is a compass-one leg swinging all over the world, and one firmly planted in Haiti. Farmer's mission is to help as many people as possible, medically, and then help them in any way to make their lives a bit more comfortable. Maybe, even pull them out of their poverty in the tiniest bit. Kidder's account of Farmers work, makes the reader want to do something, anything to help those who are less fortunate. I believe him to be one of the most giving individuals on this planet, and in truth, he sees himself as not doing enough. He has truly dedicated his life to helping those less fortunate. Those individuals, who, who, we as Americans, probably don't give a second thought to. I feel I could never measure up to his standards. A truly amazing person, who I think we could all learn a small lesson from.

I think this would be a great book for a high school sociology class, or even a world history class. I think that the topic will only get more and more relevant as time passes. Kidder does an amazing job of showing the different points of view of the poor, of Farmer, and the POV of the observer to such amazing selflessness. book-of-substance favorites non-fiction7 s kevin23 8

Haiti is a complex nation with a heroic history often sullied and distorted by former colonial powers. Kidder's book is as much a profile of the struggling communities of Haiti's central plateau as it is a biography of the tireless Doktè Paul Farmer.

Kidder offers a balanced view of Farmer's astonishing work for the reader to honor, question, criticize, and admire without didactic hand-holding. I particularly enjoyed the details of Farmer's day-to-day life. Following the doctor's relentless travel schedule, Kidder describes the powerful contrast of Farmer's time spent among international policymakers with the days and weeks he spends serving the people of Haiti.

Farmer's dedication to "Areas of Moral Clarity" and bulletproof idealism are an inspiration to a post-industrial world mired in the inertia of relativism.non-fiction8 s Bam cooks the books ;-)2,034 272

Dr Paul Farmer, co-founder of Partners in Health, deserves all our praise, admiration and support for his humanitarian healthcare efforts in poor and disease-ravaged countries such as Haiti. As Margaret Mead once said, "Never underestimate the ability of a small group of committed individuals to change the world. Indeed, they are the only ones who ever have."

This book is rather dated, having been published in 2003, and one might do better to read one of several more recent books co-written by Farmer himself, in a effort to raise money and awareness for his humanitarian projects. But still this particular book is an eye-opener, informing the reader of the true state of infectious diseases such as drug-resistant TB, HIV and malaria in poorer parts of the world and what is being done to battle them. It is also a much-needed reminder that "the only real nation is humanity."2015-reads biography book-club ...more7 s D79 1 follower

How to rate a mind-numbingly long, adulating, repetitive book about an inspiring, dedicated, and apparently effective foot soldier and general in the fight to improve public health world-wide?
I read very quickly, finishing most non-fiction books in about 3 days. Determined to read it to the end, wanting to understand more about the subject and his passions, it took me weeks to plow through this book. Sometimes I could only tolerate about 15 minutes at a time.
Do I now know who Dr. Paul Farmer is? yes. Do I judge him to be and exceptionally effective change agent for international public health? yes. Does the overall subject interest me? yes. Were I looking for someone to tell his story, would I have [having read it] chosen Tracy Kidder? Lord, no.secular-biography-memoir8 s Debs111 4

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