Apollo’s Arrow Book Summary - Apollo’s Arrow Book explained in key points
Listen to the Intro
00:00

Apollo’s Arrow summary

Nicholas A. Christakis

The Profound and Enduring Impact of Coronavirus on the Way We Live

3.6 (71 ratings)
26 mins

Brief summary

In 'Apollo’s Arrow', Nicholas A. Christakis examines how pandemics have shaped the course of human history and what we can learn from them. He explores the biological, social, and economic impacts of pandemics, providing insights into how we can better prepare for the next one.

Table of Contents

    Apollo’s Arrow
    Summary of 8 key ideas

    Audio & text in the Blinkist app
    Key idea 1 of 8

    SARS-2 began with a few infections in Wuhan but quickly got out of control.

    December 26, 2019. Dr. Jixian Zhang, a doctor at the Hubei Provincial Hospital in Wuhan, China, reports a troubling trend. There’s been a sudden surge in cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS. By the end of the month, there are 104 SARS patients. And there have already been 15 deaths. 

    At first, the Chinese health authorities are reluctant to raise any alarms. But patients keep being admitted, and the doctors are soon overwhelmed. In January, Beijing sends teams of expert epidemiologists to study the outbreak and orders local governments to close schools, businesses, and other public spaces. By January 25, nearly all of China shuts down to stop the spread of the disease.

    On January 27, the Chinese Center for Disease Control identifies the culprit behind all this chaos: a new strain of coronavirus, dubbed SARS-CoV-2 or SARS-2 for short. In a few months, it will transform the world.

    The key message here is: SARS-2 began with a few infections in Wuhan but quickly got out of control.

    The first people to catch SARS-2 were most likely infected at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, a “wet market” in the heart of Wuhan. Like many markets around the world, this bustling bazaar offers freshly butchered wildlife. This close contact between humans and animals makes it easy for diseases to jump from one species to another. 

    The SARS-2 virus likely originated in bats. However, it only became a threat to humans when it evolved the ability to infect people. This small mutation enabled it to spread among human populations with incredible speed. This type of person-to-person transmission is dangerous because the virus causes a sometimes deadly disease named COVID-19. 

    Scientists are still studying exactly how COVID-19 works. Its varied symptoms include cough, fever, fatigue, and – strangest of all – anosmia, the loss of one’s sense of smell. For some patients, the virus attacks the alveoli, a part of the lungs responsible for oxygen exchange, which can lead to severe breathing problems and, ultimately, death. Around 50 percent of patients display no symptoms at all, while an estimated 1 to 1.2 percent of people die from the virus.

    Since its initial outbreak, SARS-2 has spread to nearly every country on earth. Along the way, governments have tried to control the spread with rigorous regulations while everyday people have adapted their work and social lives to accommodate the new threat. Still, as of July 1, 2020, more than a million people have died from the disease worldwide, and there’s no end in sight.

    Want to see all full key ideas from Apollo’s Arrow?

    Key ideas in Apollo’s Arrow

    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    What is Apollo’s Arrow about?

    Apollo’s Arrow (2020) is an illuminating and timely overview of the current COVID-19 pandemic. Backed by rigorous research, this account examines the origins of the virus and the implications it has for society going forward.

    Apollo’s Arrow Review

    Apollo’s Arrow (2020) is an insightful exploration of the COVID-19 pandemic, its impact on our society, and the lessons it teaches us. Here's why this book is definitely worth reading:

    • With rigorous research and clear explanations, it provides a comprehensive understanding of the virus and its spread, empowering readers to make informed decisions.
    • The book delves into the societal and psychological effects of the pandemic, offering thought-provoking insights on topics such as social distancing, trust, and resilience.
    • Nicholas A. Christakis skillfully weaves personal stories, historical context, and scientific evidence to create a captivating narrative that keeps readers engaged and invested.

    Best quote from Apollo’s Arrow

    A new pathogen has been introduced into our species, and in some form, it will now circulate among us forever.

    —Nicholas A. Christakis
    example alt text

    Who should read Apollo’s Arrow?

    • Amateur scientists wishing to understand the coronavirus
    • Engaged citizens concerned with the future of society
    • Anyone who is or has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic

    About the Author

    Nicholas A. Christakis is a sociologist, medical doctor, and the Sterling Professor of Social and Natural Science at Yale University. His previous works include the best-sellers Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society and Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks.

    Categories with Apollo’s Arrow

    Book summaries like Apollo’s Arrow

    People ❤️ Blinkist 
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    People also liked these summaries

    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    31 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    10+ years
    Experience igniting personal growth
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 7,500+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial

    Apollo’s Arrow FAQs 

    What is the main message of Apollo’s Arrow?

    The main message of Apollo’s Arrow is understanding the nature of infectious diseases and how they affect societies.

    How long does it take to read Apollo’s Arrow?

    The reading time for Apollo’s Arrow varies depending on the reader's speed. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Apollo’s Arrow a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Apollo’s Arrow is a thought-provoking book that offers valuable insights into the history and impact of pandemics. It is definitely worth reading.

    Who is the author of Apollo’s Arrow?

    The author of Apollo’s Arrow is Nicholas A. Christakis.

    What to read after Apollo’s Arrow?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Apollo’s Arrow, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Chernobyl by Serhii Plokhy
    • American Crisis by Andrew M. Cuomo
    • A Planet of Viruses by Carl Zimmer
    • Read People Like a Book by Patrick King
    • Red helicopter by James Rhee
    • Super Human by Dave Asprey
    • New Cold Wars by David E. Sanger
    • The Interpretation of Dreams by Sigmund Freud
    • Orientalism by Edward W. Said
    • How the World Really Works by Vaclav Smil