How Contagion Works

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Audiobook Downloadable / ISBN-13: 9781474619318

Price: £3.99

ON SALE: 23rd March 2020

Genre: Biography & True Stories / Memoirs

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The Covid-19 pandemic is the most significant health emergency of our time.

Writing from Italy in lockdown, physicist and novelist Paolo Giordano explains how disease spreads in our interconnected world:

why it matters

how it impacts us

how we must react

By expanding his focus to include other forms of contagion – from the environmental crisis to fake news and xenophobia – Giordano shows us not just how we got here but also how we can work together to move forward.


Sublimely elegant, provocatively simple, deeply troubling. In one short hour, in the midst of this difficult moment, Giordano reinforced my sense of hope in humanity, in the one and the many.
Philippe Sands, author of EAST WEST STREET
A timely, vital and inspiring read.
Andrea Wulf, author of THE INVENTION OF NATURE
Part analysis, part journal, perhaps the first from the new world we all share. It is modest, lucid, calm, informed, directly helpful in trying to think about where we are now... The literature of the time after begins here.
Evening Standard
'Potent and original'
Sunday Times
A slim guide to understanding this virus and preparing ourselves for what comes next... Taking a breather from bewildering statistics and terrible tales of contagion to read Giordano's book was a jolt of brevity and simplicity... Giordano's short book takes concepts that have been dancing away in our minds, just out of reach, and lines them up neatly.
The Times
Paolo Giordano's HOW CONTAGION WORKS is a lodestar for all of us seeking to find our way through this pandemic. Giordano, a mathematician, seamlessly combines lyrical prose and epidemiologic concepts in a clear and compassionate way, recalling at times the work of Jorge Luis Borges. HOW CONTAGION WORKS illuminates a clear and calm path forward as we navigate this strange new world.
Dan Werb, author of CITY OF OMENS
The urgency behind Giordano's book is of a different kind, stemming more from the need to preserve the present than to explain it... Much like Sigmund Freud wrote down his dreams when he woke, before they faded, Giordano sought to document, in real time, his experience of the pandemic.
New York Times
The stark and poetic prose of Paolo Giordano's essay How Contagion Works conveys the existential angst of an Italian intellectual as he comes to terms with quarantine: the vulnerabilities, missed opportunities, loneliness, fear of annihilation and the realisation that humanity's supporting structures are 'a house of cards'.
Urgent, powerful writing... I could have folded the corner on every page.
John Sutherland, author of CROSSING THE LINE
Brilliant...[Giordano] urges us to be kind and see the pandemic not as an accident or a scourge, but as foreseeable, and proof of how our world has become inextricably interconnected. The outbreak's origins reside with us, the planet's most invasive species