In National Geographic’s ‘Fauci: Expect the Unexpected,’ America’s Doctor Encourages Us to Help Our Fellow Man [REVIEW]

Dr. Anthony Fauci
Dr. Anthony Fauci as featured in Fauci (Photo courtesy National Geographic)
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By this time, I think most Americans recognize Dr. Anthony Fauci as the face of the White House Coronavirus Task Force. Soon after the virus first hit American shores in 2020, he was there at President Trump’s side at nearly every press conference, eager to help us through one of the scariest—and deadliest—time periods in recent memory. Every day he approached the microphone to speak, it became increasingly evident that he was intelligent, knew his science, and that we could trust him to tell us the truth, even if it terrified us.

But what drove Fauci, 80, to pick up this torch when many of his colleagues have already retired? Where did he get enough confidence to be so brutally honest with the American people, even if it meant contradicting the president on national television? And who taught him to have such unmitigated compassion for his fellow man? All of these questions are answered in National Geographic’s new book, Fauci: Expect the Unexpected: Ten Lessons on Truth, Service, and the Way Forward.

National Geographic's FAUCI: EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED
National Geographic

I truly enjoyed reading this book. It provides us with new insights into “America’s doctor,” as The New Yorker called Fauci in April 2020. Here we discover how he went from being a bright second-generation Italian immigrant growing up in post-World War II Brooklyn to working in his father’s pharmacy and ultimately becoming an award-winning expert in infectious disease and adviser to six U.S. presidents.

Filled with anecdotes about both his home life and career, we watch as Fauci blossoms over time. We learn how one of history’s most defining moments in 1945 taught him compassion. Then we see how his passion for medicine gave him the chutzpah necessary to work at one of the nation’s top schools as a bricklayer’s assistant one year, only to become a student there the next. But we also find out how he cut his teeth in the 80s on the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and why that helped shape the trajectory of his career.

Fauci may only stand 5-feet 7-inches tall, but the lessons he has learned over time—treating individuals with everything from AIDS to Ebola and now COVID-19—have made him a giant in his field, until he sometimes seems like Atlas, carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. As a result, he’s deservedly become one of the most respected men on the planet today and has much to teach us as both a physician and a man whose primary purpose in this world is to heal the suffering of others.

I read this book in one sitting. Admittedly, I already respected Fauci for all he has done to guide us through the coronavirus pandemic and for maintaining grace under fire. But now, reading how he has helped the world though numerous plagues before now, my admiration has grown tenfold. This book is much like Fauci himself, it comes in a small package but definitely packs a punch!

Reading this book makes us look not only at our own attitudes toward COVID, but at our attitudes toward our fellow man. By the time you close this slim volume, I think you will come to see Fauci as an empathetic man with a terrific sense of humor, a tremendous intellect, and unflagging persistence. And through his fine example, he raises the bar for the rest of us, encouraging us to step up and help our neighbors the best way we can.

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Anthony Fauci is one of the most celebrated doctors in the world. Appointed director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in 1984, he has advised six presidents on HIV/AIDS, as well as many other domestic and global health issues, and frequently testifies before Congress.

Dr. Fauci is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Medal of Science. In 2020 he was the Federal Employee of the Year (considered the Oscars of government service).

The father of three daughters, he lives with his wife, Christine, in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Anthony Fauci
Dr. Anthony Fauci
(Photo courtesy NIAID)

FAUCI: EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED: TEN LESSONS ON TRUTH, SERVICE, AND THE WAY FORWARD
Edited by National Geographic
96 pp. National Geographic. $18.

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Purchase Fauci: Expect the Unexpected direct from Jathan & Heather Books or from one of these fine online retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Half Price Books, Hudson Booksellers, IndieBound, Powell’s, Target, or Walmart.

Fauci: Expect the Unexpected is brought to you in association with TLC Book Tours.

Be sure to watch Fauci by National Geographic Documentary Films on Disney+.

About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

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