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In tijden van besmetting

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  2,053 ratings  ·  281 reviews
Een urgent, elegant en uiteindelijk hoopvol essay van de auteur van De eenzaamheid van de priemgetallen en over het virus dat ons allen in zijn greep houdt.

De corona-epidemie dreigt de grootste gezondheidsdreiging van onze tijd te worden. Het legt de verschillende niveaus bloot waarop wij tegenwoordig met elkaar verbonden zijn - het maakt niet uit wie of waar we zijn, wat
Published March 30th 2020 by De Bezige Bij (first published March 26th 2020)
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Let’s say that every bit helps to deal with the strange Covid-19 period that we are going through. The Italian author Paolo Giordano must have thought that too. This booklet bundles some musings that he wrote down in late February and early March of this year, when the epidemic was just in its early stages in Europe. In retrospect, it are very pertinent considerations, including how intertwined our world has become, and how much we all form a collective organism vis-à-vis such viruses. Near the ...more
Jul 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Highly recommended! Written in late February, early March 2020, Giordano's short essay makes a lot of sense out of the mess we're in months later. His explanation of contagion is good & simple plus he makes sense out of the conflicting experts & policies. Not much was new to me, although the olive tree example was, but it was nice to have it all repeated in one concise dose. He didn't get into face masks at all, but did show very well how this isn't about me, but all of us & how anyone can exace ...more
Charlotte Jones
*Disclaimer: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I thought that this book would be too much to read at this moment in time but it turns out that this is the perfect time. By explaining how contagion works, and in particular how the climate crisis and living in an increasingly globalised world has led to this coronavirus pandemic, the author manages to deliver a message of hope based not on wishing for miracles, but on scientific fact. For a naturally anx
Apr 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
interesting and reasoned essay and made an insight into the growing issue of the covid19 pandemic as this was written in the early days of the virus in Italy. this essay should be read by people as we could learn things.
May 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, essays
Giordano, an Italian physicist, wrote this essay at the start of the lock down in Italy. It is a short, concise, clear and, most important, rational view on how contagion works. It is a little jewel. At some point it goes into his personal views on an united world, but that's understandable, seeing as we're indeed connected. Highly recommended. ...more
Mar 25, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A disappointment

I am not a specialist in Public Health but I found this book to be less than informative. It did not tell me how contagion works. For instance, nothing about how R(zero) works, why it might be crucial in the Covid-19 outbreak, nothing about testing (neither for infectious nor post-infection).
I was disappointed.
Megan Randall
This book was boring and basically described what I was doing in lockdown.
Hestia Istiviani
I read in English but this review is in Bahasa Indonesia

Epidemics are mathematical emergencies first and foremost. Because math isn't the science of numbers--not really--it's the science of relations: it describe the bonds and the exchanges between different entities, regardless of what these entities might be made of, abstracting them into letters, functions, vectors, points, and planes.

Jujur saja, warna sampul yang merah muda itu cukup membuatku tertarik untuk membaca premisnya. Setelah me
Dec 30, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting to read about the pandemic as we saw it in late February/early March. Reading this now, when COVID and mask wearing has become semi-normalised, and being recently struck with the news of the new, highly transmissible COVID strains, I feel again as we all did back then: what will the future hold, when will real 'normality' return etc etc. This is an interesting little book that solidifies all those feelings of uncertainity and anxiety, and tries to help ground us in the now, the possi ...more
Grada (BoekenTrol)
I liked this essay. Interesting to read how the author pairs his thoughts, science, news to the circumstances in Italy during the first days of the pandemic.
It is not really a book that brings news or new insights, but it certainly is contemporary :-)
Sep 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Must-read of only 59 pages
Jun 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written in Rome in March 2020 by an Italian novelist this was a nice meditation on how contagion is met by medical science and social community. At the time of publication much remained unknown about the reach of the SARS-Cov-2 virus and the COVID19 pandemic, as it does still at the time I’m reading it, but it’s such a general pondering of human nature that it’s heartening to read. As much a general explainer as it is a hopeful encouragement. Recommend.
Jul 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A short, yet powerful, depiction of the way that this pandemic is, and will, forever change not just the public health landscape, but the way the global population must approach disease and destruction. To experience this unpredictable pandemic in my final year of university studying health science, Giordano dictates the truths that we know are fact - we can no longer predict the way in which climate change, man-made destruction, and our disruption of nature will impact the world on a fundamenta ...more
Miitta Takvam
Apr 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting and I should have read this already a few months ago when it all began.
Apr 21, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a quick read by a physicist in lock down in Italy at the beginning of the pandemic. We are now where he was when he wrote this but with far, far more people infected and dead from COVID-19.

Giordano wrote this to make use of the void, the emptiness in his schedule with all the cancelations, the halting of our society. He wrote this essay because he didn't "want to lose what the pandemic is revealing about ourselves."

Thus, it resonated deeply with me. As he writes, "This is the time of a
Apr 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Normally, I love books that teach me something new. Very occasionally a book like this one comes along. I love how Giordano put into words the thoughts that I couldn't express myself. A message for humanity: of fear, of hope, of wanting, needing, to be better.

(It's not actually about math though, which is sad. 4.5 stars)
Felicity (☞゚∀゚)☞
(3.5) A very interesting compilation of very short reflections on the current pandemic, however, it sort of left me feeling a little empty. It was too short, too brief, not enough meat or grit to truly make me satisfied. I love Paolo Giordano's writing style (or more his translator) and it really hits home how this sort of event has happened and will continue to happen to us. We need to realise and be prepared for anything at this point. Anything. ...more
Behzad Ezzati
Mar 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
That's perfect in the age of covid19 ...more
Jul 13, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I was texting with my childhood friend a couple of months ago* when he said "I blame this whole pandemic thing on China. Damn them."
I was so shocked and then my head went blank with anger. I didn't know how to put this emotion into words so I just said "Well, it may seem like it started in China, but I don't think you can blame China for the worldwide pandemic." with a laughing emoticon. His reply: "WHERE it started is the most important thing isn't it?"
I just snapped after that. I said some nas
Apr 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This young author, with his aptitude for both numbers and eloquent language, tackles both the modelling of the Covid-19 epidemic as well as some of the philosophical implications for the way we look at our place as individuals in society. He does so with an intellectual calmness (in contrast to the mental ‘chaos’ he avers to having experienced as a child) and humility that draws the reader in — reminiscent of another, older physicist turned author, Carlo Rovelli.

For the reader not ready to tack
Mariafrancesca Ierace
With the precision of a scientist and the sensitivity of a novelist, Paolo Giordano takes on the task of making sense of the contagion, as a physicist and as a human being. Those numbers and formulas might seem cold, but they are not: they tell the story of a world interconnected - from the smallest organism which can be the end of the most intelligent one; the story of our arrogance that started it all. But most of all, those numbers tell us how it’s solely our responsibility as a species to st ...more
Super short hit list of many aspects of the Covid-19 pandemic, written early in its course, including how it's hard for humans to conceptualize exponential growth rates, various aspects affecting our ability to self-isolate and why it's necessary to protect the super-susceptible. Then it spreads to much farther reaching concepts, including climate change and the environmental impact of 7.5 billion humans on the planet that will inevitably lead to future crisises. Just a giant ray of sunshine, an ...more
Steve Streeter
May 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This short and considered essay strips away the hysteria and media hype back to basics-a clear discussion about the impact of covid-19 and how we as humans need to recognise its overall impact and how all our lives and choices in “western society” have played a part in the current situation. The science is clearly explained and for myself I concluded that the individual has to have a mindset to care for the greater community or we will find ourselves perpetually within these conditions of crisis ...more
Jun 17, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
Not really an awesome reading, but I do like this quote: "But now that we are at the mercy of this new microscopic force that has the audacity to decide for us, we find ourselves under pressure, angry, as if stuck in a traffic jam but with no one else around us. In the invisible grip of the virus, we yearn for a return to normal life; we feel like we have the right to go back to normal. All of a sudden, normality is the most sacred thing we have – even though we had never given it so much import ...more
Dominic Thompson
May 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: next-to-read
Paolo Giordano’s short essay deserves pride of place on your bookshelf alongside Greta Thunberg’s ‘No One is too Small to Make a difference’. Written during his containment in Italy, Giordano dissects the turbulent, historical moment we are living in with a tenacity you‘ll rarely find in Covid-19 discourse.

“We can tell each other that Covid-19 is an isolated incident, a calamity or a scourge, cry that it’s all ‘their’ fault. We’re free to do so. Or we could try making sense of the contagion.”
Jon Brady
Physicist Paolo Giordano promises to show us how to work together to create change but How Contagion Works doesn’t quite achieve this goal. It does, however, remind you of how pandemics take hold, how they spread, and how we endure throughout lockdown. It reminded me of what to be grateful for, and at a time like this that’s unarguably important.
Jim affleck
Jun 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Italian physicist with a whole lot of home truths about the covid 19 virus

Reads like a well structured, carefully analysed scientific essay. It chronologically marks the destructive pathway that this terrible virus has taken, and sticks simply to fact and not over exaggerated fiction.
Jul 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Everybody should read this, if only to understand a little about how a virus works, about how we are all responsible for each other, to keep others safe. You don't have to wash your hands, keep your distance for your own sake, but for everybody's sake. And we all should try to understand the importance of that. ...more
Rachel Bonnington
Jul 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting and accessible, with nice short chapters which make this a quick and easy read to dip in and out of. It's a thought provoking essay that helps unpick the covid-19 crisis and searches for connections and meaning amongst all the chaos. It doesn't have all the answers, and lacks insight in places, but its certainly worth a read if you get the chance. ...more
Arnoud De Meyer
Jan 13, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A delicious short essay on all the questions raised by a simple but well educated citizen about the pandemic, in the ealry days of March. It is still enjoyable reading because many of the questions about the spreading of the virus, the purpose of confinement, etc. are discussed in a very rational manner. It made the situation a bit more rational and provided hope.
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Paolo Giordano is a professional physicist and is currently working on a doctorate in particle physics. The Solitude of Prime Numbers, his first novel, took Italy by storm where it has sold over a million copies. It is being translated into twenty languages and has sold all

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“Ne bojim se, da bi zbolel. Česa pa potem? Bojim se, kaj vse bi se lahko spremenilo. Bojim se spoznanja, da so temelji civilizacije, kakršno poznam, kot hišica iz kart. Bojim se izničenja, pa tudi njegovega nasprotja: tega, da bi strah minil, ne da bi nas spodbudil k spremembam.” 1 likes
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