Paul Kalanithi, a neurosurgeon in his sixth year of residency at Stanford, sits before a hospital computer looking at scans. "The lungs were matted with innumerable tumors, the spine deformed, a full lobe of the liver obliterated. Cancer, widely disseminated," he recalls. "I was a neurosurgical resident entering my final year of training. Over the last six years, I'd examined scores of such scans, on the off chance that some procedure might benefit the patient. But this scan was different: it was my own."

When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a naïve medical student 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? What do you do when the future flattens out into a perpetual present? These are some of the questions Kalanithi attempts to answer while sharing his experiences. Despite its grim undertone, the book is emotionally moving and a poignant reminder of what it means to be fully alive.


When Breath Becomes Air is available on Kindle, Fully Booked, and Book Depository


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