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About the Author: Paul Kalanithi

Paul Kalanithi, M.D., was a neurosurgeon and writer. Paul grew up in Kingman, Arizona, before attending Stanford University, from which he graduated in 2000 with a B.A. and M.A. in English Literature and a B.A. in Human Biology. He earned an M.Phil in History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine from the University of Cambridge before attending medical school. In 2007, Paul graduated cum laude from the Yale School of Medicine, winning the Lewis H. Nahum Prize for outstanding research and membership in the Alpha Omega Alpha medical honor society. He returned to Stanford for residency training in Neurological Surgery and a postdoctoral fellowship in neuroscience, during which he authored over twenty scientific publications and received the American Academy of Neurological Surgery’s highest award for research.

Paul’s reflections on doctoring and illness – he was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer in 2013, though he never smoked – have been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Paris Review Daily, in addition to interviews in academic settings and media outlets such as MSNBC. Paul completed neurosurgery residency in 2014. Paul died in March, 2015, while working on When Breath Becomes Air, an unforgettable, life-affirming reflection on the challenge of facing mortality and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a gifted writer who became both.. He is survived by his wife Lucy and their daughter Cady.

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Find the best price forWhen Breath Becomes Air

Goodreads rating: 4.36

Hardcover, Published in Feb 2016 by Bodley Head

ISBN10: 1847923674 | ISBN13: 9781847923677

Page count: 228

What makes a virtuous and meaningful life? Paul Kalanithi believed that the answer lay in medicine’s most demanding specialization, neurosurgery. Here are patients at their life’s most critical moment. Here he worked in the most critical place for human identity, the brain. What is it like to do that every day; and what happens when life is catastrophically interrupted?

When Breath Becomes Air is an unforgettable reflection on the practice of medicine and the relationship between doctor and patient, from a gifted writer who became both.

With a foreword by Dr Abraham Verghese and an epilogue by the author’s wife, Lucy.

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SocialBookCo User Reviews

Lisa Humphries on 02 Oct 2016

It has taken me quite some time to prepare myself for reading this book. I originally read one of Paul Kalanithi's essays called Before I Go. You can read it here. The essay really affected me, which I am sure it does everyone who reads it. Paul was a brilliant neurosurgeon, gifted, just married with his glimmering future life and success before him. He was 36 years old and then suddenly, tragically diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer.

The SocialBookCo contacted me recently which was perfect timing, I was finally prepared emotionally to spend a lot more time with Paul Kalanithi and his legacy. It was a book that I now wish I had read sooner. As you read Paul's easily devoured words knowing that he is no longer alive, and that he wrote this book right up until his final days, you really get an intimate sense of his extraordinary talents, and his humanity.

Paul shares a lot about his years of intense study, knowing that he needed to follow his passion for neurosurgery, and his incredible skills. It is only after his cancer diagnosis that Paul starts to see things from the patient's perspective. It is through this unique ability to now walk on the same side as his patients that we start to see his humanity and his heart shine.

I cried for Paul as his final pages abruptly stopped, knowing that these were his final days .. and then reading the beautiful words his widow shared after he was gone.


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