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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin. 

'It's a foreboding,' she said. 'A knowing that something is looming around the corner. Like how when the seasons change you can smell fall in the air right before the leaves change and the wind turns cold.'

In January 2020, as people started dying from a new virus in Wuhan, China, few really understood the magnitude of what was happening. Except, that is, a small group of scientific misfits who in their different ways had been obsessed all their lives with how viruses spread and replicated - and with why the governments and the institutions that were supposed to look after us, kept making the same mistakes time and again.

This group saw what nobody else did. A pandemic was coming. We weren't prepared.

The Premonition is the extraordinary story of a group who anticipated, traced and hunted the coronavirus; who understood the need to think differently, to learn from history, to question everything; and to do all of this fast, in order to act, to save lives, communities, society itself. It's a story about the workings of the human mind; about the failures and triumphs of human judgment and imagination. It's the story of how we got to now.

©2021 Michael Lewis (P)2021 Penguin Audio

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

great story let down by bad narration

Another classic by Lewis, who somehow seems to unearth the most interesting characters and unsung heroes.

Unfortunately this audiobook is let down by subpar performance, with the narrator frequently placing emphasis on the wrong words, altering the meaning of the story. It's so poorly done it makes me wonder whether they had a text-to-speech AI narrate it. Michael Lewis gave a far better performance when he read a chapter of this book on his own podcast - I wish he'd done the whole thing.

2 people found this helpful

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Narration needs to be re-recorded

This is, first of all, a phenomenal book - and I hope as many people as possible read or listen to it as we seek to understand what has really happened to the world in the last year or so. However, the narration is absolutely not up to the standard of the writing. The narrator doesn't seem to have read the book before attempting to perform it - meaning there are many distracting slip-ups, and something in the way that it was recorded (it sounds like it was recorded over zoom!) is sub-par. I think the narrator has a great voice, and I'm sure she could do a great second take - but that's what this brilliant book deserves.

1 person found this helpful

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terrible voice artist

haven't got 10% through it and can't...sounds like Google or Alexa is narrating...horribly off-putting and not disclosed before buying

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It this one is made into a movie then it will need

Haven't read the Big Short or Moneyball but enjoyed the films, however this Lewis effort falls way short. Completely US-centric.
Scratch that. 95% California-centric. It feels like a vindictive mega-tweet against various people in the US medical establishment that I personally had never heard of. It also tries to canonise another bunch of people who again I had never been aware of and who I doubt were particularly ahead of the game compared to their contemporaries in Europe.
It actually feels like the Lewis has talked to 4 or 5 people and has decided that they are the heroes of the pandemic, but you are left wondering if that is primarily in their minds.
What I could not judge was whether the book was truly poor or lack of awareness in the narration was the real culprit. It was woeful.
To be balanced there were some interesting stories in the book and I am sure many of the people concerned played positive roles in the management of the pandemic. The co-morbidity role of Donald Trump is well portrayed as is the lack of a cohesive CDC response but Lewis misses the mark in producing a compelling story of the last year. It this one is made into a movie then it will need a couple of rewrites.

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not his best but worth reading

the content has some interrsting people but the narrator sounds too much like an automated phone voice meaning that the mind wanders