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The Emperor of All Maladies Summary – Siddhartha Mukherjee

Arthur Worsley
by Arthur Worsley
M.A. Psychology, Oxford. McKinsey Alum. Founder & Editor at TAoL.
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One-Sentence Summary

The Emperor of All Maladies is a rich and deep biography of cancer, from its first documented appearance to our modern battles to understand and cure humanity's (current) second biggest killer - by physician, biologist and author, Siddhartha Mukherjee. (571 pages)

Note: This The Emperor of All Maladies summary is part of an ongoing project to summarise the Best Health Books and Best Self Help Books of all time.

Note: This The Emperor of All Maladies summary is a stub. I'll write a full summary later. For now, you'll find enough meta-data here to help you decide if it's worth reading the book.

The Emperor of All Maladies Summary

This publisher’s blurb comes from the Simon & Schuster paperback edition of The Emperor of All Maladies

The Emperor of All Maladies a magnificent, profoundly humane “biography” of cancer—from its first documented appearances thousands of years ago through the epic battles in the twentieth century to cure, control, and conquer it to a radical new understanding of its essence.

Physician, researcher, and award-winning science writer, Siddhartha Mukherjee examines cancer with a cellular biologist’s precision, a historian’s perspective, and a biographer’s passion. The result is an astonishingly lucid and eloquent chronicle of a disease humans have lived with—and perished from—for more than five thousand years.

The story of cancer is a story of human ingenuity, resilience, and perseverance, but also of hubris, paternalism, and misperception. Mukherjee recounts centuries of discoveries, setbacks, victories, and deaths, told through the eyes of his predecessors and peers, training their wits against an infinitely resourceful adversary that, just three decades ago, was thought to be easily vanquished in an all-out “war against cancer.” The book reads like a literary thriller with cancer as the protagonist.

Riveting, urgent, and surprising, The Emperor of All Maladies provides a fascinating glimpse into the future of cancer treatments. It is an illuminating book that provides hope and clarity to those seeking to demystify cancer.”

The Emperor of All Maladies Contents

The Emperor of All Maladies has 8 main chapters…

  1. Prologue
  2. Part One: “Of blacke cholor, without boyling”
  3. Part Two: An Impatient War
  4. Part Three: “Will you turn me out if I can’t get better?”
  5. Part Four: Prevention Is the Cure
  6. Part Five: “A Distorted Version of Our Normal Selves”
  7. Part Six: The Fruits of Long Endeavours
  8. Atossa’s War

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Read More: 5 Books Like The Emperor of All Maladies

Enjoyed this The Emperor of All Maladies summary? You might enjoy the rest of the books on these lists of the Best Health Books and Best Self Help Books of all time.

And in the meantime...

Here are 5 top books like The Emperor of All Maladies...

Books Like The Emperor of All Maladies: Being Mortal
1. Being Mortal - Atul Gawande (FREE Summary)
Medicine and What Matters in the End
Being Mortal is an uncomfortable yet enlightening exploration of how treating terminal disease (especially linked to ageing) as a purely extend-life-at-all-costs medical problem is destroying the final moments of our lives - by surgeon and best selling author, Atul Gawande.
Published 2014 // 282 pages // Rated 4.4 over 155,700 reviews on Goodreads
Books Like The Emperor of All Maladies: Why We Sleep
2. Why We Sleep - Matthew Walker (FREE Summary)
Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams
Why We Sleep is a fascinating and accessible guide to what sleep is, why sleep matters and how to optimise your sleep habits to live longer, feel happier and set your life up for success - by sleep scientist and best-selling author, Matthew Walker.
Published 2017 // 368 pages // Rated 4.4 over 125,800 reviews on Goodreads
Books Like The Emperor of All Maladies: How Not to Die
3. How Not to Die - Michael Greger (FREE Summary)
Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease
How Not to Die is a deeply researched and compelling primer on the promise and importance of whole food plant-based nutrition in preventing and reversing disease - by medical doctor and nutrition expert, Michael Greger.
Published 2015 // 576 pages // Rated 4.4 over 31,000 reviews on Goodreads
Books Like The Emperor of All Maladies: Born to Run
4. Born to Run - Christopher McDougall (FREE Summary)
A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen
Born to Run takes takes running back to its roots in this critically acclaimed analysis of evolution, injury and recovery that is filled with compelling insights, great story telling and practical tips - by best-selling author and journalist, Christopher McDougall.
Published 2009 // 287 pages // Rated 4.3 over 186,300 reviews on Goodreads
Books Like The Emperor of All Maladies: The Body
5. The Body - Bill Bryson (FREE Summary)
A Guide for Occupants
The Body is a fantastically-written and awe-inspiring 23-chapter tour through the 30 trillion cells that (literally) make you who you are - by best-selling author, Bill Bryson.
Published 2019 // 450 pages // Rated 4.3 over 58,200 reviews on Goodreads
Books Like The Emperor of All Maladies: The Obesity Code
6. The Obesity Code - Jason Fung (FREE Summary)
Unlocking the Secrets of Weight Loss
The Obesity Code gives an amazing look at how the body uses food to create the perfect conditions for obesity and how to disrupt the cycle to create a healthier future - by kidney disease specialist, best-selling author and MD, Jason Fung.
Published 2016 // 328 pages // Rated 4.4 over 24,200 reviews on Goodreads

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Arthur Worsley
I founded TAoL to discover and share the best wisdom on how to live long and prosper. Before that I studied Psychology, Philosophy & Physiology at Oxford and consulted at McKinsey. Still curious? Learn more or take my FREE productivity quiz.

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