When Breath Becomes Air - Paul Kalanithi

When Breath Becomes Air

By Paul Kalanithi

  • Release Date: 2016-01-12
  • Genre: Biographies & Memoirs
Score: 5
5
From 7,130 Ratings

Description

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • PULITZER PRIZE FINALIST • This inspiring, exquisitely observed memoir finds hope and beauty in the face of insurmountable odds as an idealistic young neurosurgeon attempts to answer the question What makes a life worth living?

NAMED ONE OF PASTE’S BEST MEMOIRS OF THE DECADE • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review • People • NPR • The Washington Post • Slate • Harper’s Bazaar • Time Out New York • Publishers Weekly • BookPage

Finalist for the PEN Center USA Literary Award in Creative Nonfiction and the Books for a Better Life Award in Inspirational Memoir

At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. And just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a naïve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain, the most critical place for human identity, and finally into a patient and new father confronting his own mortality.

What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when the future, no longer a ladder toward your goals in life, flattens out into a perpetual present? What does it mean to have a child, to nurture a new life as another fades away? These are some of the questions Kalanithi wrestles with in this profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir.

Paul Kalanithi died in March 2015, while working on this book, yet his words live on as a guide and a gift to us all. “I began to realize that coming face to face with my own mortality, in a sense, had changed nothing and everything,” he wrote. “Seven words from Samuel Beckett began to repeat in my head: ‘I can’t go on. I’ll go on.’” When Breath Becomes Air is an unforgettable, life-affirming reflection on the challenge of facing death and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a brilliant writer who became both.

Reviews

  • Interesting

    4
    By LetterLass
    I liked this man, I’m sure he was a great doctor, and it’s clear he died nobly, reflectively, with great humanity and vulnerability. But yet I didn’t love this book. It was interesting but did not affect me as much as I expected it to. I didn’t think the writing was top notch (if he’d become a writer instead of a surgeon, the writing would probably have been less self-conscious and detached). He had a great story to tell & he told it well. But I don’t think this book rose to the level of literature.
  • DY Florida

    5
    By DY Florida
    As a nurse and a wife of a medical professional who passed less than two years ago, I found this book so insightful.
  • Very moving

    5
    By seek great sound
    This was an extraordinary book. Such a prospective to have a physician as a patient , experiencing what madden medicine can achieve from the patient prospective.
  • Amazing

    5
    By kevthereader
    Sad but the best book I ever read .
  • WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR

    5
    By bolognabone
    BEAUTIFUL STORY❤️
  • Best book I’ve had the chance to read in years

    5
    By All car parts
    Crude meaning behind the importance of living a life well lived.
  • Amazing.

    5
    By Britty9102
    When I began reading this book it was only to earn extra credit in my microbiology class. After the first chapter I couldn’t put it down. Such a great read and reminder to always do what we love, among other things. Make sure you’ve got a tissue box near by, you’ll need it!
  • When breath becomes air.

    5
    By r a wood
    It lured me in to read it because I couldn’t imagine a more shocking discovery. To know that it’s happened to him and not one of his patients. Great story. God bless his family
  • Great Book

    5
    By Toppers13
    Read less than a year after having a brain tumor respected. This book is a must read for those that want to fully understand what it means to be human.
  • Moving, thrilling and sad.

    5
    By LemonadeSyrup
    This book will make you feel a lot of emotions, while also teaching you about medicine, life and suffering.