• When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi - Book Summary

  • By: FlashBooks Book Summaries
  • Narrated by: Dean Bokhari
  • Length: 28 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 05-02-16
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: FLASHBOOKS, LLC
  • 3 out of 5 stars 2.8 (5 ratings)


This is a book summary of When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi.
Original book description: When Breath Becomes Air; hardcover - deckle edge; January 12, 2016 by Paul Kalanithi (author); Abraham Verghese (foreword)
Number-one New York Times best seller
For listeners of Atul Gawande, Andrew Solomon, and Anne Lamott, a profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir by a young neurosurgeon faced with a terminal cancer diagnosis who attempts to answer the question: What makes a life worth living?
At the age of 36, 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.'"
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
1 out of 5 stars
By JBW on 14-02-16

I spent a full credit on Book Summary - Unfair

If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

I spent a full credit on Book Summary - Unfair - I thought I was buying the book

Would you ever listen to anything by FlashBooks Book Summaries again?

No Never - It gave me little insight into the feel of a book that had got such reviews - I was angry to realise that Audible / Amazon made me spend my Monthly credit on a half hour book summary - This should not be allowed

Any additional comments?

Please do not force people to spend their monthly credits on a book summary -- This is therefore a criticism of Audible and Amazon more than anything else - Book Summaries may have their place but not when you pay over €10 for less than a half hour listening - The Credit system available to monthly subscribers does not seem too allow one to buy a low cost book separately without losing a monthly credit - unfair !!

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