None of it is maudlin. Nothing is exaggerated. As he wrote to a friend: "It's just tragic enough and just imaginable enough. A vital book.
Elegantly written posthumous memoir Should be compulsory for anyone who intends to be a doctor A profound reflection on the meaning of life. The real question we face, Kalanithi writes, is not how long, but rather how, we will live - and the answer does not appear in any medical textbook.
Searingly intelligent, beautifully written, and beyond brave, I haven't been so marked by a book in years. Paul Kalanithi lived and died in the pursuit of excellence, and by this testimonial, he achieved it. Kalanithi writes very well, in a plain and matter-of-fact way, without a trace of self-pity, and you are immediately gripped and carried along It is a work of philosophy and morality, a reconciliation of science and religion. There is even plot and excitement It was only with the restrained, elegant epilogue written by his wife Lucy Kalanithi that I found myself weeping helplessly When Breath Becomes Air tells us what means to live a good life, by giving us a glimpse into an exceptional one.
This is a remarkable book by a man who was driven by his passion for his life, his loves and his career. His death is undoubtedly a tragedy but in writing this memoir he has guaranteed that his voice and the important story it tells will resonate for years to come. The sheer exuberance of Kalnithi's intellectual curiosity shone through in his writing. He learns lessons about the reality of illness and the doctor-patient relationship that most doctors only learn in old age but Paul Kalanithi died at the tragically early age of His view of medicine remained deeply idealistic and not yet tempered by the sometimes bitter lessons and need for painful moral compromise that come with responsibility.
Towards the end of the book, he and his wife, knowing that he is soon to die, decide to have a child, and he returns to the religious faith in which he was brought up. He was clearly a deeply thoughtful and compassionate man, and his death is a great loss to medicine, but at least he has left this remarkable book behind.
Dr Henry Marsh is a neurosurgeon and the author of Do No Harm , which was shortlisted for the Guardian first book award in Topics Biography books Book of the day. Reuse this content. Order by newest oldest recommendations. Show 25 25 50 All.
Book Summary: When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
Threads collapsed expanded unthreaded. Loading comments… Trouble loading? Most popular. First of all it's so easy to read you just can't stop. Second you learn so much from Paul's work as a neurosurgeon, and thirdly this book will give you a completely different outlook on life and death. Everyone should read this book, it's absolutely beautiful. Date published: Rated 4 out of 5 by Leesa from Heart wrenching, honest, and memorable "I began to realize that coming in such close contact with my own mortality had changed both nothing and everything.
But now I knew it acutely. The fact of death is unsettling. Yet there is no other way to live ". This memoir had me on the edge of my seat, rejoicing over good news and bawling alongside Paul and his family with each bit of hardship that his journey faced. Paul, spent his whole life chasing answers about the ever imminent presence of death, but it was only when his own life was given an expiration date of sorts that he realized that life is not exceptional if you don't LIVE IT!
In this time, right now, that is an enormous thing. Rated 5 out of 5 by Jojo from have Kleenex handy This is an inspirational book and a book that broke my heart. The book stayed with me for a long time. Read it Rated 5 out of 5 by Needhi from This books does not need ratings This is a brilliant memoir and a humbling piece of work.
Rated 5 out of 5 by Nadine from What An Amazing Book Poetically, Kalanithi shares his thoughts about death and medicine through his personal journey. He did not paint a perfect picture of his life. Instead, he shared the raw truth of his diagnosis and his life in general. The epilogue written by his wife gripped my heart.
She shared her perspective as she described Kalanithi's strength, will, and bravery as he left this world. Rated 5 out of 5 by Staci from Amazing! Absolutely loved this book! Emotional, powerful, and inspirational. Loved the different perspectives from doctor to patient Date published: Rated 5 out of 5 by Melissa from Speechless If you are wondering whether or not to read this book, all I can say is, yes yes yes. This book is so inspirational in so many ways.
I laughed, cried and felt like I knew this man by the end. Would recommend this to anyone.
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi – Book Notes, Summary, and Review
Rated 5 out of 5 by shubes from Effortlessly Impactful A profound insight into the mind of a brilliant man. Rated 5 out of 5 by kris from Insightful Read Picked this up based on a recommendation and have no regrets. Heavy read that is very insightful and deep. Something you will think about even after you are done reading. Rated 4 out of 5 by Heather from a different view.
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As a cancer patient, I loved this story. It gives insight to a care givers mind. Beautifully written. Rated 4 out of 5 by Gforce from A heart-wrenching perspective Heartbreaking even though I knew what would happen in the end. Amazing that he put the book together at such a difficult and sad time for him and his family. Grab a tissue box.
Rated 5 out of 5 by Whitney from Amazing Book I bought this story to read while in the process of applying to medical school and I loved it so much. It is truly breathtaking and so hard to put down! Rated 5 out of 5 by Monica from Working in the medical field This book is so well written with references to literature and pulling on life lessons.
Working in the medical field. You can truly relate and feel emotion in the words of the author. I even started a non fiction book club at work and this was our first book choice. Rated 5 out of 5 by Kare from couldn't put it down Such a beautiful read. So inspiring and yet sad. Made me cry. Life is so short.
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Loved this book and will read it again. Rated 5 out of 5 by Joanna from Captivating, Deeply Profound. This book might be the first book to have moved me to tears. It was beautifully written in addition to being so deeply honest, reflective and raw. It is a must read, you will not regret it. Rated 5 out of 5 by Aurora from Speechless This book made me look at my life and my choices in a whole new light.
Thank you, thank you, thank you. Rated 4 out of 5 by Becks from Deep and Insightful Read Not typically the type of book I'd read, but I heard such good things about it that I went ahead and picked it up and I'm glad to say it was a great decision. Paul Kalanithi has such an amazing way with his words that a lot of his passages were so deeply invoking that it almost seemed poetic.
A lot of times I would go back an reread a passage and just ponder about what he was conveying. The book was so insightful and deeply moving as we followed Paul's journey and learned about life, death, and what gives meaning and purpose to ones' life. As someone who works in the medical and health sector, I really enjoyed all the medical aspects that were incorporated in the book. It was very profound reading the two perspectives - one as a neurosurgeon, and one as a patient.
Overall, a great read that really invokes some deep reflecting. Rated 5 out of 5 by KaylaMor from Stunning book about death -- and life. A profoundly moving book about life, love, doctors, diagnoses, and death. It's a book about living, purpose, and meaning. About the passage of time, and what that really means or doesn't mean. As affecting as the novel itself was, it was the afterward by Kalanithi's wife that moved me the most.
Shook me, really. Everyone should read this book. Rated 5 out of 5 by RedPanda from Breathtaking Written from the perspective of someone who spent their life trying to save others, Paul Kalinithi reminds us all that life is short, and that we should be grateful for every moment we are given. Rated 5 out of 5 by Donna from Well written I really enjoyed this book. It really makes you think about life and how precious and short it can be! Rated 5 out of 5 by Katrina from Captivating! This book captivated me!!! So touching and insightful and raised a lot of great questions that I hope researchers continue to seek answers to!
Rated 5 out of 5 by Kenzie from Incredible This memoir is so full of love and life in the face of death. A heartbreaking read but one that everyone should read nonetheless. This beautiful story definitely made the tears run down my cheeks! Rated 5 out of 5 by Jessica from Beautiful Memoir Beautifully written memoir, a reminder of how fragile the human race really is. Rated 5 out of 5 by codeblue from Excellent book! Rated 5 out of 5 by Kate from Beautiful Memoir The writing pulled me in right away and the epilogue written by his wife had me in tears through the end.
Rated 4 out of 5 by Jamie from Beautiful Memoir by someone around you Sad but real. Heavy but hopeful. A real human story about life of diminishing light with a hint of romanticism. Rated 4 out of 5 by Shruti from Wonderful Given the premise, you know what's coming and that is sad but overall, it was a moving and interesting book. Reading it as a nursing student was interesting as Paul comes with the perspective of a health care practitioner as well as a patient. A very good read that I am very happy was shared to the world.
Very touching and real. Rated 5 out of 5 by Marie from Beautiful rendition of a sad story A book you can't put down - perfect words for a imperfect story Date published: Rated 5 out of 5 by Daffers from My favourite book of This book will stay with you for ages. I had tears streaming down my face at the end. So powerful.
I can not say enough good things about this book! Rated 5 out of 5 by Gail from Beautiful! A beautifully written telling of the best and worst times of a man's life. I can truly say that it was an honour to read Dr. Kalanithi's words. Must read for everyone! Rated 3 out of 5 by Elena from Great writing The writing is very seductive and I got right into the book.
However I found myself too involved with the terminal cancer and did not want that kind of energy around me. For that reason I did not finish the book actually gave up on it very early. Rated 5 out of 5 by Maggie from plumreview This was such a great book! Rated 5 out of 5 by Johanna from A must-read Beautiful and devastating. I had high expectations for this book, and it far exceeded them. Cannot recommend this highly enough! Rated 5 out of 5 by TheOverlady from This broke my heart. I could not recommend this enough. Rated 5 out of 5 by Chris from Read in a day Heartbreaking look into the emotional experience of dying.
Rated 4 out of 5 by Natalie from amazing great beginning middle and ending plus the writing is beautiful Date published: Rated 5 out of 5 by alvla from Amazing read Really interesting read about a neurosurgeon becoming a neurosurgeon and eventually dealing with his own diagnosis. Rated 5 out of 5 by Mendy from Heartbreakingly beautiful I read this book probably 10 times already since it came out in And I still smile and cry each time I read it. This book is surprisingly funny and I can relate to Paul's personalities, it's raw and touching, it's insightful, it makes you introspect your own life and being.
It's one of the absolute best. Rated 5 out of 5 by Courtney from Sincere and Heartfelt This was a gentle yet powerful and touching book. I was fascinated by this man's life story and perspective on the world.
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Very well written and heartfelt. As some of reviewers stated, raw, heartbreaking and inspiring. Rated 5 out of 5 by Ramita from Insightful I started reading this when I pulled it off the shelf at chapters and I couldn't put it down. I am not a doctor, but the medical terms worked in well and did not take away from his story. His insight into the how the mind works was fascinating and his passion was clear from the pages.
I am so glad to have read about this complex character. Rated 5 out of 5 by Nicole from Amazing One of the best books I've read. Despite the complex content, it is easy to read and fascinating. One of the few books that I want to read over and over again. Rated 5 out of 5 by Angele from Beautiful and Genuine The most gentle yet powerful book to give you perspective on life and the incredible people that we lose too soon.
A must read. Rated 5 out of 5 by Sarah from heartbreaking and motivating makes you really think about how you want to live your life, very inspiring and well written Date published: Rated 4 out of 5 by Mlerp from Thoroughly enjoyed it I bought this one a week ago and read it in one sitting. Really good Date published: Rated 5 out of 5 by Bell from Beautiful An honest and raw account of a mans battle with cancer. A tear jerking read Date published: Rated 5 out of 5 by Samantha from Probably one of the best books about life I recently read this book and I found it truly amazing, I felt that it was well written and had a great message to it.
Live life to the fullest and love your family and friends. Again, I couldn't put this book down and I highly recommend it to anyone because of how beautiful it is. Rated 5 out of 5 by Vicky from Sad and uplifting I loved this autobiography. It is essentially a father's love letter to his daughter, a husband's love letter to his wife, a man's love letter to science and humanity. I was utterly moved. Rated 5 out of 5 by Mishie from Spectacular Hauntingly sad while also mercilessly beautiful. An ode to his future daughter. Amazing to see a doctors perspective on life, death and ultimately cancer.
Rated 4 out of 5 by Ariane from Inspiring This is a book about resilience an the human spirit.
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It is kind and smart. Keep tissues near Date published: Rated 5 out of 5 by rjess from Very moving This book is thought provoking and moving. It puts aspects of life into perspective. Rated 4 out of 5 by Suzanne29 from Amazing An awesome read and very thought provoking. Rated 5 out of 5 by Kristin from Loved it Took my breath away, very thought provoking Date published: Rated 4 out of 5 by Erin from Amazing Beautifully written.
Very inspiring and heartbreaking. Rated 5 out of 5 by Amanda from Tragic and Beautiful There is no way to prepare yourself for this book, an absolute must-read. Rated 5 out of 5 by Hargun from Beautifully written, but heartbreaking Dr. Kalanithi's story is exceedingly sad, but he approached it and wrote about it with such grace. I appreciate that he shared even the messy parts of his story. This was a difficult but important read. Rated 5 out of 5 by Evaa from Wonderful read This book is very well written. It will definitely put life into perspective and make you appreciate life and everyone around you.
Cherish the little things in life because you never know what life has in store. Rated 5 out of 5 by Bookworm from An amazing book A powerful read. I would highly recommended it.
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Rated 5 out of 5 by Julie from An Amazing Read Read this book within a week, it is a heavy read and will leave you in tears. A beautifully written book that makes you appreciate and value life Date published: Rated 2 out of 5 by Monica from too heavy I couldn't get through it. It is heart-breaking-ly sad. Rated 2 out of 5 by Astoria from ok It was okay, but not on my recommendations. Rated 4 out of 5 by Frank from great I really enjoyed this - what a great story - it really makes you think!
Amazing that Dr. Kalanithi had the desire and willpower to tell his story with such power while fighting the fight of his life. Inspirational Date published: Rated 5 out of 5 by SopZ from Wonderful read! Really great read and heartwarming to the very end. Rated 5 out of 5 by Kristie from Incredible read! This book was an extremely powerful read. It really provides a person with a whole new perspective for life and its little details that we often take for granted. Rated 5 out of 5 by Christina from absolutely beautiful Such an amazing read!
Even if you're not an avid reader, I would suggest you to give this a go. I felt all kinds of emotions after reading this book - inspired, inadequate, thankful for life and fired-up passion for literature. Tear jerker, seriously cannot recommend it enough.