A Fun­ny Thing Hap­pened on the Way to Stock­holm: The Adren­a­line-Fueled Adven­tures of an Acci­den­tal Scientist

September 1, 2020

The rol­lick­ing mem­oir from the car­di­ol­o­gist turned leg­endary sci­en­tist and win­ner of the Nobel Prize that rev­els in the joy of sci­ence and discovery.

Discussion Questions

Cour­tesy of Robert Lefkowitz

  1. What ini­tial­ly drew you to this book? A pro­fes­sion­al career in science/​medicine or curios­i­ty about those worlds? If the for­mer, do you have any pro­fes­sion­al take­aways? If the lat­ter, what about Bob’s sto­ry have you tak­en away for your own pro­fes­sion­al aspirations?

  2. How do you think Bob’s Jew­ish back­ground shaped his career path?

  3. Many of Bob’s friends, col­leagues, and mentor’s are true char­ac­ters in the nar­ra­tive. Which relationship(s) do you feel was most piv­otal to his path to the Nobel prize?

  4. Fam­i­ly has been the one con­stant in Bob’s life, from his rela­tion­ship with his par­ents, to the birth of his first child to his five chil­dren grow­ing into adults. How has his fam­i­ly life informed his sci­en­tif­ic career and vice versa?

  5. Then there is Bob’s Sci­en­tif­ic Fam­i­ly,” which stretch­es through mul­ti­ple gen­er­a­tions” and across inter­na­tion­al bor­ders. How has Bob’s affec­tion and enthu­si­asm for his sci­en­tif­ic fam­i­ly been impor­tant for his career? In what ways has it been impor­tant for his trainees?

  6. Speak­ing of men­tor­ing, which of the ten gold­en rules for men­tor­ing” list­ed in Chap­ter 24 do you think is the most cru­cial? Which of these rules was the most sur­pris­ing to you?

  7. An impor­tant theme in the book is the impor­tance of nar­ra­tive in med­i­cine, research, writ­ing, and life in gen­er­al. How do you think atten­tion to nar­ra­tive has shaped Bob’s life and career?

  8. What most sur­prised you about Bob’s trip to Stock­holm to receive his Nobel Prize?

  9. Humor is a huge part of the nar­ra­tive and Bob’s per­son­al­i­ty. What was your favorite humor­ous anec­dote in the book?

  10. Bob is open about his quadru­ple bypass and his recov­ery. What sur­prised you about his shift from doc­tor to patient?

  11. Do you have any teach­ers or men­tors that this book remind­ed you of?

  12. If you could ask Bob one ques­tion, what would it be and why?

  13. Bob main­tains that serendip­i­ty has played a big role in his life and career. What sto­ries in the book illus­trate this good fortune?