The Story Behind the Memoir with Nobel Prize Winning Scientist Dr. Louis Ignarro

Memoirs are among the most difficult books to write. How do you tell your life story so that your readers are enraptured every step of the way? And how do you make the reader feel connected enough to keep their interest, when the entire book is about your story?

Though the book is about your life, you still need to be telling it for a reason. You need a central message to send to your reader, and then you use your most compelling life stories to illustrate it.  

In episode #111 of The Author’s Corner, Robin is joined by her longtime friend and client, Dr. Louis J. Ignarro, to discuss the noble reason that he wrote his memoir, and what he learned from putting it all on the page. Dr. Ignarro shares some of the fascinating stories that he includes in the book, from a curious child of immigrants who liked messing around with explosives to winning the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, and eventually contributing to the creation of Viagra. 


Key Takeaways:

  • The importance of nitric oxide (NO) and the outcomes of Dr. Ignarro’s discovery (including the science and story behind erectile dysfunction and the creation of Viagra)
  • Why he decided to write a memoir
  • A sneak peek at some (but not all!) of the best stories that Dr. Ignarro tells in his memoir
  • What Dr. Ignarro learned from writing his memoir
  • And the exciting next step for his story…


Resources Mentioned in this Episode:


About Dr. Louis J. Ignarro:A native of Brooklyn, NY, Dr. Ignarro studied chemistry and pharmacy at Columbia University (1958-1962) before earning his PhD in Pharmacology at the University of Minnesota (1966). In 1968, he completed a postdoctoral fellowship in chemical pharmacology at the NIH. Some of his notable discoveries include the benefits and uses of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide relaxes vascular smooth muscle, lowers blood pressure, improves blood flow, prevents stroke and myocardial infarction, is the mediator of erectile function and responsible for the action of Viagra, and is responsible for the action of nitroglycerin. Dr. Ignarro has received many awards for his work, including the 1998 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, along with Robert F. Furchgott and Ferid Murad, “for their discovery that nitric oxide acts as a signaling molecule in the cardiovascular system.” A prolific scholar, Dr. Ignarro has published numerous articles and books, including his memoir, Dr NO: The Discovery That Led to a Nobel Prize and Viagra. He is the founder of the Nitric Oxide Society and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society.

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