Decoding the World is a buddy adventure about the quest to live meaningfully in a world with such uncertainty. It starts with Po Bronson coming to IndieBio. Arvind Gupta created IndieBio as a laboratory for early biotech startups trying to solve major world problems. Glaciers melting. Dying bees. Infertility. Cancer. Ocean plastic. Pandemics. Arvind feels he needs to leave IndieBio to help startups do more than just get started. But as his departure draws near, he struggles to leave the sanctum he created. While Po has to prove he can keep the "indie" in IndieBio after Arvind is gone. After looking through their lens, you'll never see the world the same.
Po Bronson, the managing director of IndieBio, and Arvind Gupta, the San Francisco company’s founder, like big, striking analogies ... Their experiences fuel interesting discussions about pressing issues and trailblazing science ... But they have blind spots ... Gupta talks of 'breaking every rule of biotech,' repeating the stalest of Silicon Valley bromides. We see many screenshots of the co-authors’ text exchanges; only a few are edifying. Bronson and Gupta say this is the first title in their “convergence trilogy.” That sounds grandiose, but these two don’t lack for big ideas — or attention-getting analogies to explain them.
Biotech entrepreneurs Bronson and Gupta take a largely unrewarding look at big questions in science and tech, from how artificial intelligence will impact jobs, to how genetic engineering will reshape demographics. The disorganized format wanders from one topic to another, with little or no connection between them ... Their conclusions are unsatisfying ... Readers interested in a thoughtful guide to serious questions can give this a pass.
... the authors serve up an alphabet soup of scientific terms that may deter anyone who hasn’t memorized the periodic table. The paradoxical result is a book—the first in a trilogy—that may daunt low-tech readers while proving too glib for the more scientifically literate. Let’s hope Bronson returns to form in the second volume. An awkward mix of hard and soft science from the frontiers of genetics and other fields.