Picture of author.

Paul Kalanithi (1977–2015)

Autor(a) de When Breath Becomes Air

2 Works 5,476 Membros 311 Críticas 1 Favorited

About the Author

Image credit: Paul Kalanithi at the Stanford Hospital and Clinics in 2014. (Norbert von der Groeben/Stanford Hospital and Clinics)

Obras por Paul Kalanithi

When Breath Becomes Air (2016) 5,475 exemplares


Conhecimento Comum



Yeah, this was definitely a tough one to read (for the right reasons, obviously). I will say that I preferred the first half of the book to the second half, though. The first half is just so raw, insightful, and depressing. Paul's journey through medical school and residency has genuinely made consider whether or not I really want to go down the same route (for context, I'm currently applying to medical school and am also considering doing neurosurgery after graduating). It is just so blunt. Paul did not hold back with his choices of patient interactions to include; furthermore, the sheer number of work hours, the razor-sharp precision required, the enormous responsibilities held by the doctor, and the monumental risk of causing harm all contribute to making neurosurgery seem extremely daunting. The story of one of Paul's surgeon colleagues committing suicide after the death of one of his patients was unbelievably depressing to me. Worst of all was Paul's story: going through hell and back with medical school and residency, reaching the promised land of graduation, and getting offered a dream job with an insane salary, only for cancer to take it all away. The last few paragraphs written by Paul almost made me tear up, man.

Of course, I can't review this book without discussing its philosophical side. Now, just so you know, my reading literacy is atrocious; I suffer from certain mental health problems that give me a lot of issues with focus and critical thinking; consequently, my brain power is extremely low. If you're looking for insightful analytical reviews from people who are good at this stuff, my reviews (of any form of media) are not for you. Anyway, I found Paul's thoughts to be quite interesting. I don't agree with all of them (mainly because of my existential crises and lack of meaning in life), but it was quite intriguing reading about a dying man's search for meaning. I also love how it all fit together. Paul's motivations to understand the brain, meaning, life, and death were what drove him to enter medical school. Eventually, he wanted to put his patients at the forefront of his care and become a guider through their futures; he didn't want them to just be "boxes to tick off". Ultimately, the roles would reverse, and he would have to be guided through the last years of his life by his doctor. It was quite mesmerizing to read about, honestly.

I did find Paul's writing style somewhat weak, unfortunately. It wasn't bad by any means, but it wasn't that great either. The constant literary references and overlong descriptions did slow the pace of book quite a bit. Furthermore, while I found Lucy's epilogue to be poignant, I felt that it dragged on for a bit too long. Maybe, I'm a really impatient reader. I don't know. Though, I will say that I found her writing style to be easier to read than Paul's.

At the end of the day, this is going to be a tough one to get through, no matter which way you look at it. It is definitely not for the faint of heart. You'll come out of it realizing the cruelty of life. Paul and Lucy's thoughts on living and dying may give you some comfort, but you'll end up just wishing that things went a different way. It is insanely difficult not to feel that way after spending so much time in this great man's thoughts and perceptions.
… (mais)
Moderation3250 | 310 outras críticas | Feb 24, 2024 |
KIRKUS REVIEWA neurosurgeon with a passion for literature tragically finds his perfect subject after his diagnosis of terminal lung cancer.Writing isn?t brain surgery, but it?s rare when someone adept at the latter is also so accomplished at the former. Searching for meaning and purpose in his life, Kalanithi pursued a doctorate in literature and had felt certain that he wouldn?t enter the field of medicine, in which his father and other members of his family excelled. ?But I couldn?t let go of the question,? he writes, after realizing that his goals ?didn?t quite fit in an English department.? ?Where did biology, morality, literature and philosophy intersect?? So he decided to set aside his doctoral dissertation and belatedly prepare for medical school, which ?would allow me a chance to find answers that are not in books, to find a different sort of sublime, to forge relationships with the suffering, and to keep following the question of what makes human life meaningful, even in the face of death and decay.? The author?s empathy undoubtedly made him an exceptional doctor, and the precision of his proseas well as the moral purpose underscoring itÂ¥suggests that he could have written a good book on any subject he chose. Part of what makes this book so essential is the fact that it was written under a death sentence following the diagnosis that upended his life, just as he was preparing to end his residency and attract offers at the top of his profession. Kalanithi learned he might have 10 years to live or perhaps five. Should he return to neurosurgery (he could and did), or should he write (he also did)? Should he and his wife have a baby? They did, eight months before he died, which was less than two years after the original diagnosis. ?The fact of death is unsettling,? he understates. ?Yet there is no other way to live.?A moving meditation on mortality by a gifted writer whose dual perspectives of physician and patient provide a singular clarity.… (mais)
bentstoker | 310 outras críticas | Jan 26, 2024 |
Heartbreaking and thought provoking. Paul Kalanithi died in his thirties from lung cancer. He was an accomplished and talented surgeon and author. It's so difficult to accept that such a bright light was turned off when there was so much potential there. It's especially hard to realize that he was nearly ten years younger than me when he passed. I still feel young now so I can't imagine dealing with this when even younger.

Amazingly, this book is not depressing in the least. Learning about Kalanithi's career in neurosurgery/neuroscience and how he came to understand death, meaningful life, and the plight of his patients. Even more revelatory was how, when he became a patient, he realized he did not even begin to understand their situation. With this book he helps us all to understand both sides of the equation and I feel better for having read his words.… (mais)
hmonkeyreads | 310 outras críticas | Jan 25, 2024 |
Wow. I really didn’t know what this book was about but a friend had reviewed it saying that it was phenomenal and I thought the title was intriguing so I decided to read it. This book was so well written. It is incredibly sad but I also didn’t want to put it down. The author truly wrote from a place of deep thought, experience, and reality. The things he confesses to struggling with as a doctor and all the questions he had about life as well as his description of surgeries and life as he had experienced was written so well that I had a picture in my mind at all times of what he was talking about. When reading the epilogue written by his wife I definitely shed a few tears.… (mais)
Kayleigh_Martin | 310 outras críticas | Jan 7, 2024 |



You May Also Like

Associated Authors


Marcado como favorito

Tabelas & Gráficos