When Breath Becomes Air When Breath Becomes Air

When Breath Becomes Air

    • 4.7 • 624 Ratings
    • $16.99
    • $16.99

Publisher 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?

“Unmissable . . . Finishing this book and then forgetting about it is simply not an option.”—Janet Maslin, The New York Times

ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: The New York Times Book Review, People, NPR, The Washington Post, Slate, Harper’s Bazaar, Time Out New York, Publishers Weekly, BookPage

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

Biographies & Memoirs
January 12
Random House Publishing Group
Penguin Random House Canada

Customer Reviews

MaryJolie614 ,


This is the book that makes you think about what’s important in life and make you appreciate everything about it. Paul took us in his journey of his quest to become a doctor, the most difficult kind, a neurosurgeon and a scientist. With his love of literature in which he studied thoroughly before becoming a doctor, he was trying to understand the philosophy around death. Then the unimaginable happened. He got cancer at the end of his neurosurgery fellowship training. The fatal kind with tumors all over his lungs and brain. He got to be in a weird fate, the patient of whom he would have counsel for treatment. In this book he present the before, full of potential and our belief to defy death by making plans for the future we take for granted as most of have in youth. Then he present after diagnosis, how do you find meaning and purpose to live when you don’t know if tomorrow is going to come. It’s very intriguing with depth and his own thoughts facing death courageously right in the center. I don’t take for granted the time I have in this earth and I try my best to live in the moment. This book illuminates life in its fragility. It’s great that he had an awesome supporting wife and family. This makes the difference when cancer hits an individual.

Rodmart ,

Please, we don’t know each other, but you have to reas This book

Thanks for this amazing book. Thanks for sharing this part of your life. I will keep it in my heart .

Fahedy ,

I usually don’t read but wow

I usually don’t read but I saw a linknd in post saying it’s a must read so I did while this covid stuff goes down. MAN was it good! Strongly recommend :)

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