This is a list of biotech-relevant books I've read and enjoyed this year. None of them are about stocks or investing specifically, but they all in some way have helped shape my thinking on biotech topics. Often this is where some of the best investing ideas come from.
  1. Brain Storms by Jon Palfreman
    Written by a journalist and Parkinson's disease patient, this one does a great job covering everything you need to know about that condition. Important ideas include the placebo effect, treating patients early, and alpha-synuclein. Tickers include PRTA and NDRM.
  2. Jonas Salk: A Life by Charlotte DeCroes Jacobs
    We all know about the discovery of the polio vaccine, and this book covers it well. However, I found Dr. Salk's life afterward to be most interesting. Topics covered include founding the Salk Institute, marrying Pablo Picasso's former muse, and focusing on cancer immunotherapy research during a period of his life.
  3. America's Bitter Pill by Steven Brill
    This is the behind the scenes story of how the Affordable Care Act was passed. Most eye opening to me was what a big role insurance companies and the pharmaceutical industry (including a big assist from an Amgen lobbyist) played in making this happen. The takeaway: during a time when there is a lot of political hot air about drug pricing and other industry topics, think again if you believe change will come easy.
  4. Being Mortal by Atul Gawande
    This book is about important end of life issues like dying with dignity and choosing hospice care when other treatments might be futile. Ironically, patient outcomes are often better that way. Medicare just agreed to pay doctors for end-of-life planning, so this is a topic that will only grow in importance in the future.
  5. The Patient Will See You Now by Eric Topol
    Dr. Topol is one of my favorite follows on Twitter because he is always tweeting such interesting news. This book is another great illustration of how ahead of the times he is. The book talks about how technology is changing medicine and empowering patients to be more active in their own care. Investing idea themes include telemedicine, wearables, and diagnostics.