Book Review: When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

The memoir of an idealist neurosurgeon who was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer at 36 gains poignancy from deep reflections on mortality and existence.

After a long study of medicine and specializing in neuroscience, English literature graduate Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with lung cancer that has metastasized. The diagnosis came as a shock and left him with a profound identity crisis. Being a strong physician, now he was left being a patient and being a strong pastoral figure, he was a sheep. A devoted Christian, medicine was not merely a job, it was a calling that provided an answer to his metaphysical questions. His profession defined who he was, and he had not lived to the fullest during the training as a neurosurgeon. Now that he was finally ready, he was preparing to die.

A strong and poignant memoir by a polymath whose deep thoughts can move mountains and readers’ hearts. True lessons about living from a dying man.

— A book review by

Book Details:

Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir
Publisher: Random House
Publish Date: January 12, 2016
Pages: 256
Reviewed: January 16, 2017
Author’s Site: Paul Kalanithi