Skip to Main Content (Press Enter)


Best Seller
Ticker by Mimi Swartz
Paperback $17.00
Sep 10, 2019 | ISBN 9780804138024

Buy from Other Retailers:

See All Formats (2) +
  • Sep 10, 2019 | ISBN 9780804138024

    Buy from Other Retailers:

  • Aug 07, 2018 | ISBN 9780804138017

    Buy from Other Retailers:

Buy the Audiobook Download:

Listen to a sample from Ticker

Product Details


Amazon Editors’ “Best Books of the Month” Pick for August in History and Nonfiction

“It doesn’t take an acute interest in the human heart to be hooked after only a few pages of Ticker. And…how’s this for a reason to read it: heart disease, Swartz notes early on, is responsible for the largest number of deaths in the U.S. and worldwide.” 
-Vanity Fair

“Doctors and researchers have long recognized the need for an artificial organ, or . . . a machine of some kind that can assist a diseased heart until a transplant candidate can be found. The Holy Grail is a device that would make transplants altogether unnecessary.  The search for that grail has been, as Mimi Swartz shows in her fascinating book, as complicated as the essential organ itself. Ticker: The Quest to Create an Artificial Heart tells a story as big as Texas. . .”
-The Wall Street Journal

“A developing story about. . . innovation, daring, perceived double-crosses, competition and conflict. . . Ticker beats at an accelerated rate. . . Writer Jane Mayer compared it to The Right Stuff, with which it shares some commonalities: the tension of daredevilry in the name of research and development, and multiple characters who are brilliant, eccentric and driven.”
-The Houston Chronicle

“In bringing to life more than 70 years of medical history, Swartz often achieves a novelist’s level of telling detail, the kind that can only result from determined, painstaking reporting.. . Ticker makes achieving a truly viable version [of an artificial heart] . . . seem not just possible, but inevitable.”
-The Texas Observer

“Fast paced and meticulously researched.” 
-Houston CityBook

“A frequently hypnotic story. . . of the nexus between talent, institutional support, experimentation and money.”
-Austin American-Statesman

“[A] pacy, blow-by-blow account of the search for a viable artificial heart. . . Swartz offers a vivid gallery of the medical pioneers who have jostled for the prize.”

Ticker is beautifully and ingeniously constructed, flowing like a fast-paced science-fiction novel, engendering wide-eyed wonder at a remarkable, smart, compelling, and very human story at the busy intersection of money, politics, law, science, medicine, ethics, and philosophy.”
-Lone Star Literary Review

“A riveting medical thriller…Told in an appropriately over-the-top style, this is a quintessentially Texas story: sprawling, unpredictable, and teeming with risk and opportunity.”
-Publishers Weekly

“Even casually interested readers will become fascinated by Swartz’s vivid depiction of Frazier at work in the operating room…Swartz is a witty, savvy, seasoned journalist, and she offers a welcome history of significant medical advances.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Smart, compelling, and completely engaging, Ticker is a story about science, personality, innovation, and obsession, all in pursuit of a staggering accomplishment, the creation of an artificial heart. Mimi Swartz drives the narrative with great style and deep reporting; it’s a book anyone with a heart will love.”
-Susan Orlean, author of Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend and The Orchid Thief
“A remarkable journey through the harrowing world of heart surgery, as a brilliantly gifted and eccentric team of doctors work to develop a complete artificial heart, to save the thousands of patients a year whose hearts are failing.”
 -Bryan Burrough, author of Public Enemies, The Big Rich and Barbarians at the Gate
Ticker is like a medical version of Tom Wolfe’s The Right Stuff. Swartz takes you into the operating theater with some of the most brilliant, ingenious and driven heart specialists in the world. It’s a book full of memorable characters grappling with life-threatening crises, which is both illuminating about modern medicine, and also just a wonderful read.”
-Jane Mayer, author of Dark Money
Ticker is a page-turner, a mind-expander, a heart-pounder.  Swartz unveils a wild story of medical innovation with the keen eye of a storyteller.”
-David Eagleman, Stanford University neuroscientist and internationally bestselling author of The Brain and Incognito
“A fast paced, utterly riveting tale of the decades of effort that have gone into developing an artificial heart. The characters, many of whom dedicated their lives to this quest, are captivating, and their rivalries are the stuff of legend.”
-Bethany McLean, co-author of All the Devils Are Here and The Smartest Guys in the Room
“A thrilling and affecting account of a modern medical miracle. Ticker is not only an inspiring tale of persistence, imagination, and sacrifice, it’s also a joy to read.”
-Lawrence Wright, Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Looming Tower and God Save Texas
“Who knew that the story of the artificial heart was such a rip-roaring one, with one larger-than-life character after another, and plot twists galore?  In Ticker, Mimi Swartz has told that story with verve and elegance, and brought those characters to vivid life. A wonderful work of nonfiction by a wonderful nonfiction writer.”
-Joe Nocera, Bloomberg News columnist and author of Indentured: The Inside Story of the Rebellion Against the NCAA
“An exciting, propulsive, and at times surprisingly tender account of the swashbuckling surgeons and inventive geniuses who achieved one of the greatest medical breakthroughs—the development of the artificial heart. Mimi Swartz has done an outstanding job, and uncovered the human story behind the triumph of technology.”
 -Jennet Conant, New York Times bestselling author of Tuxedo Park and 109 East Palace

Looking for More Great Reads?
21 Books You’ve Been Meaning to Read
Get the latest updates about Mimi Swartz
And go from well-read to best read with book recs, deals and more in your inbox every week.
And go from well-read to best read with book recs, deals and more in your inbox every week.
By clicking “SIGN UP”, I acknowledge that I have read and agree to Penguin Random House’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use and understand that Penguin Random House collects certain categories of personal information for the purposes listed in that policy, discloses, sells, or shares certain personal information and retains personal information in accordance with the policy. You can opt-out of the sale or sharing of personal information anytime.
Something awesome is on its way.
Back to Top