Robin Cook - AEI Speakers Bureau

Robin Cook Biography

Robin Cook

Robin Cook was born on May 4, 1940 in Brooklyn, New York, and spent his early years in Woodside, Queens. At the age of eight he moved with his parents and older brother to Leonia, New Jersey. His sister arrived two years later, changing him from the baby of the family to the middle child.

In middle school, Dr. Robin Cook became fascinated with archeology and selected it as a career goal. By the time he reached tenth grade however, he realized, humorously, he'd been born a century too late as far as the great, major buried cities were concerned. When Robin Cook graduated from high school as the valedictorian of his class, his interests had switched to medicine. Putting himself through school, he graduated from Wesleyan University summa cum laude with a major in chemistry and a distinction in government. Robin Cook then went on to attend the Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons while he worked full time running a blood/gas chemistry laboratory in support of the cardiac surgery team at the Columbian Presbyterian Hospital during nights and weekends. The bright side of those difficult years was that he’d been invited as a consequence of his mandatory gainful employment to spend his medical school summer electives setting up a similar blood/gas lab for the Jacques Cousteau Oceanographic Institute in Monaco.

After surgical residency training, Dr. Robin Cook was drafted into the Navy, where he attended submarine school and navy diving school. Following a tour of duty in the South Pacific on the USS Kamehameha, a ballistic missile submarine and flagship of the Pacific submarine fleet, he was transferred to the Deep Submergence Systems Project (Sea Lab), where he trained as a navy aquanaut medical officer. In that position Robin Cook participated in research diving, and published his first book: A Medical Watch Standers Guide to Saturation Diving.

Following his completion of his military service and subsequent discharge from the navy as a Lieutenant Commander, Dr. Robin Cook undertook a secondary residency. This was in ophthalmology at Harvard. Upon its completion, he then matriculated as a full time student at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government while at the same time opening a private practice of ophthalmology in Marblehead, Massachusetts, and accepting a clinical position at Harvard Medical School to teach residents and see patients at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.

Robin Cook's literary career began with his first novel, The Year of the Intern, which he wrote underwater while on board the Kamehameha. It was followed five years later in 1977 with Coma, which had been written at night while he was a senior ophthalmology resident and which was published while Dr. Robin Cook was a student at the Kennedy School of Government. Both ended up as bestsellers. Twenty-five other bestsellers have followed, all of which have been translated into some forty languages. To date he has sold over one hundred million books worldwide, most of which have been written to elucidate various medical/biotech ethical issues. It had been Dr. Robin Cook's intention to use entertainment as a method of exposing the public to public policy conundrums such as organs for transplantation (Coma), stem cells and egg donation (Shock), the collision of politics and bioscience regarding therapeutic cloning (Seizure), food poisoning (Toxin), bio-terrorism (Vector), xeno- transplantation (Chromosome 6), managed cure (Fatal Cure), and the impact of the decipherment of the human genome on the economics and sociology of medicine (Marker) to name a few. The most recently published book (Critical 2007) deals with the specialty-hospital debate and the unhealthy fusion of medicine and big business. His twenty-eighth novel, Foreign Body, deals with the growing issue of medical terrorism.

There have been almost a dozen theatrical movies, television movies, and mini-series made from Robin Cook's work.

In the business arena Dr. Robin Cook is a cofounder and chairman of the board of an Internet software company, is a partner of a New Hampshire sports complex, and he has significant real estate holdings. His relatively unique investment strategies were recognized in a lengthy article on the front page of the business section of the New York Times. In the past Robin Cook has owned a restaurant and a small construction company.

Dr. Robin Cook's hobbies mainly involve interior and architectural design, period renovation, and athletics. The athletic endeavors include basketball, tennis, and skiing, and when waves are accessible, surfing.

In May 1998 Robin Cook was married to Miss Jean Reeds in Venice, Italy. In September 1999 the couple joyously welcomed a son, Carmen Jones Cooks who was immediately and somewhat humorously offered a first book contract by Robin Cook's polish Publisher. The family divides its time between Naples, Florida; New York, New York; Boston, Massachusetts; Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts; and Waterville Valley, New Hampshire.

Recent Awards include the 2002 “Author of Vision” presented by the RP International organization. In 2004 Robin Cook was appointed by President George W. Bush to the Woodrow Wilson Center's Board of Trustees.

Robin Cook Topics

  • Medical and Social Issues
    Robin uses entertainment (books and movies) to promote these issues.
  • The Process of Writing Medical Thrillers
    This is based on a genre that he essentially created
  • Issues Based on Books
    Robin discusses issues raised in the twenty seven books that he has written


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