Healthy Ideas: Improving Global Health and Development in the 21st Century
Elevation: Understanding China's Health Transition in the 21st Century.
Summary: China has achieved remarkable improvements in the health status of its large population. The progress was characterized by sustained economic growth, focus on social development, investments in health systems and expanded health intervention coverage. In parallel, the wealth of data on population health became available through the digitalization of China’s entire scientific research output. This book presents studies that documented and explored the unique health transition in a Chinese population that reduced the burden of infectious diseases, extended life expectancy, brought non-communicable diseases into focus and provided evidence to assist health policies. The last section of the book documents China’s extending of its expertise beyond national borders and supporting international efforts to improve global health by assisting much poorer countries.
The Exact Colour of the Sky: Thoughts on Science in the 21st Century
Summary: Following my interest in the unknown from my earliest youth, I have travelled the world many times in my work and witnessed a very large number of human destinies. This made it clearer to me how miraculous and completely unbelievable human life is in nature, but also how paradoxical its seeming meaninglessness, transience and limitation are. Hundreds of books I have read since my earliest youth with the hope of better understanding the world, and especially the people around me and their ideas and intentions, have only managed to conjure up the instability of everything we call human knowledge, the vastness of what remains unknown to us, and the limitations of the human mind and senses in understanding the world in which we find ourselves. But instead of a discouraging effect, these insights aroused even greater curiosity in me. The further I progressed on my path, the more I lost interest in everything that people already knew. Only the unknown would remain interesting and pure, as the only safe haven untainted by dishonorable human action. I have, therefore, devoted my life to the greatest extent to seeking and understanding the unknown and increasing our collective knowledge of ourselves and the world in which we live, and of sharing this knowledge with others. In this book, I have collected selected texts that I have published in the Croatian media over the past decade: from those I wrote for professional journals as completely anonymous young doctors, to a number of interviews with Croatian media after my election to the Royal Society in Edinburgh in March. 2016, which aroused the interest of the general public in the homeland for my scientific and professional work. I hope that by reading this collection of texts, which are intended primarily for young people who are preparing to make their first important and independent decisions, most of them will realize that to achieve any results you need to be persistent and patient. But humans were not created to be persistent and patient. For that, they need unwavering faith – in their own abilities, as well as in the value of the goals they have set for themselves, and the correctness of the decisions they will have to make every day on their life’s journey.
Evil Air: Thoughts on Health and Disease in the 21st Century
Summary: The book “Evil Air” provides an overview of advances in medicine in the 21st century in a popular way, as well as a number of interesting stories behind the most significant discoveries in biomedicine. The first two parts of the book, “Stories of Health and Disease,” and “Survival: A Story of Global Health,” through stories of researchers and their motives, explain the background to more than a hundred Nobel Prizes awarded for physiology or medicine to today. The third part, “Popularization of Global Health”, collects interviews given by the author, a Croatian scientist from the University of Edinburgh, Igor Rudan, a member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and one of the world’s most productive and cited scientists in biomedicine and global health. This section highlights his reflections on leading priorities in global health presented to the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, USA Today, Agence France Presse, Scotsman, Futurity, and others. In the fourth part, “Personal Contribution to Global Health”, the author briefly describes and shares his own experiences from a medical student at the University of Zagreb to the director of the Center for Global Health Research and the founder of the World Health Organization’s Collaborating Centre at the University of Edinburgh.
In the Land of Clans: Thoughts on Adaptation in the 21st Century
Summary: After the exceptional reception that the books “The Exact Colour of the Sky” and “Evil Air” already had with the widest audience, looking back at the progress of modern science and medicine, scientist Igor Rudan continues his popular science series about the 21st century. The title of this third book – “In the Land of Clans: Thoughts on Adaptation in the 21st Century” – certainly alludes to his second homeland, Scotland, where he is a member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and director of the Center for Global Health, and one of the world’s most cited scientists. However, the title could prove to be largely applicable to Croatia as well. The book is partly based on texts that the author published on the social network Facebook between the summer of 2017 and the summer of 2019, and which in that period provided him with about ten thousand regular followers in Croatia. However, the book also brings short stories and sketches from the lives of emigrant scientists, as well as essays on the burning issues of the 21st century. Each chapter begins with a life lesson useful in adapting to the ever-changing changes that the new century has brought and explains how it was learned and why it is important. Some examples are, “If you want to succeed like no one has succeeded before, you must have the courage to live like no one has lived before”; then, “Everyone deserves a second chance, but no one deserves a third chance”; “You shouldn’t even trust yourself, let alone anyone else”; “The bigger the idea, the smaller the competition.”; or “It’s a lot easier and more fun to solve other people’s problems than your own.”
Awaiting Fires: Thoughts on Challenges in the 21st Century
Summary: After the success of the previous books “The Exact Color of the Sky”, “Evil Air” and “In the Land of Clans”, Croatian scientist Igor Rudan ends his popular science “Tetralogy of the 21st Century” with the book “Awaiting Fires”. In the first two books he described in a popular way the development of science and medicine to the present day. In the third, he stressed the importance of constantly adapting to the changes we are exposed to. The fourth book, “Awaiting Fires,” discusses the challenges humanity will face during the 21st century. The book begins with an analysis of the viability of a number of existing trends and the likely constraints that will emerge over time. It then highlights the most significant areas of progress since the beginning of this century, as well as changes in human lives around the world. In the final part of the book, he turns to the future and makes predictions about progress, but also about the challenges that the continuation of the 21st century could bring to humanity.