Taming the Beloved Beast

  • by Daniel Callahan
  • Narrated by Xavier Paul Cadeau
  • 10 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Technological innovation is deeply woven into the fabric of American culture, and is no less a basic feature of American health care. Medical technology saves lives and relieves suffering, and is enormously popular with the public, profitable for doctors, and a source of great wealth for industry. Yet its costs are rising at a dangerously unsustainable rate.
The control of technology costs poses a terrible ethical and policy dilemma. How can we deny people what they may need to live and flourish? Yet is it not also harmful to let rising costs strangle our health care system, eventually harming everyone?
In Taming the Beloved Beast, esteemed medical ethicist Daniel Callahan confronts this dilemma head-on. He argues that we can't escape it by organizational changes alone. Nothing less than a fundamental transformation of our thinking about health care is needed to achieve lasting and economically sustainable reform. The technology bubble, he contends, is beginning to burst.
Callahan weighs the ethical arguments for and against limiting the use of medical technologies, and he argues that reining in health care costs requires us to change entrenched values about progress and technological innovation. Taming the Beloved Beast shows that the cost crisis is as great as that of the uninsured. Only a government-regulated universal health care system can offer the hope of managing technology and making it affordable for all.

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What the Critics Say

"This excellent overview of reaching the goal of universal health care is a good resource for anyone concerned with the future of health care and its economics." (Library Journal)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Nice topic

The author has raised excellent points on the subject of health care economics. The book is generally useful. His attempt to formulate strategies and philosophy of the health care system are very good.

No technical arguments on the medical technology subject. This could have been a positive addition. He could have compared use of the low cost ultrasound to the very expensive MRI in some overlapping applications or CT to MRI. More rational use of PET CT.

I would love to hear a comparison between the low cost of gamma radiation therapy to hyper costly proton therapy in non-exclusive applications. An ironic example is use of protons to treat prostate cancer where the much lower cost IMRT is routine.


The audio reader did not do a good job. His style of breaking or almost laughing was quite distracting to me. To be fair, stating numbers is a difficult task.
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- Jihad

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-06-2009
  • Publisher: Audible Studios