Book Review: When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi


In February 2014, I came across an article in New York Times webpage titled “How Long Have I Got Left” written by Paul Kalanithi. It was through this article that I got to read about Paul Kalanithi, a young neurosurgeon suffering from cancer and looking forward to his death. In this article, Paul wrote about discovering his cancer status and going through materials looking for how many days he had left before dying and said; “I began to realize that coming face to face with my own mortality, in a sense, had changed both nothing and everything. Before my cancer was diagnosed, I knew that someday I would die, but I didn’t know when. After the diagnosis, I knew that someday I would die, but I didn’t know when. But now I knew it acutely.”

Paul Went on to do an article for Stanford Medicine titled “Before I Go.” It was through this article that I came very close to realizing the devastating effect of cancer. Watching the video embedded in the article where Paul had the time to talk about his impending death, his new baby, Cady, and wife makes one understand the real relationship between us and time. Paul said; “Everyone succumbs to finitude. I suspect I am not the only one who reaches this pluperfect state. Most ambitions are either achieved or abandoned; either way, they belong to the past. The future, instead of the ladder toward the goals of life, flattens out into a perpetual present. Money, status, all the vanities the preacher of Ecclesiastes described, hold so little interest: a chasing after wind, indeed.”

READ ALSO: Here is The Easiest Way To Read As Many Books As You Want

And then Paul wrote this book before dying in March 2015 at age 37. I usually forget the books I read but not this one, and it seems I’m not alone. Janet Maslin of New York Times gave this review; “I guarantee that finishing this book and then forgetting about it is simply not an option. . . I recommended this book to my beautiful friend Read and till date, she never stops talking about it. Ask her about her favorite book and she wouldn’t blink before telling you it’s this book.

Get a copy of this amazing book that has been on the New York Times bestseller list for 51 weeks and counting and I guarantee it would become one of your favorite books.


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