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When Breath Becomes Air Summary

Paul Kalanithi

When Breath Becomes Air

by Paul Kalanithi

When Breath Becomes Air

Paul Kalanithi

Clock Icon5 min
Insight Icon3 key insights
Audio IconVisual, audio & text

When Breath Becomes Air helps you see what's really important by diving into Paul Kalanithi's life of loving neuroscience, literature, meaning, and his family that ended from cancer in his mid-thirties.

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When Breath Becomes Air

by Paul Kalanithi

When Breath Becomes Air

Paul Kalanithi

Overview

Life is short. But we go about most days not thinking about our inevitable death. It might not be a pleasant thing to dwell on, but maybe if we did we would try to live more meaningful lives. Maybe we would spend less time working and more time with family or helping others. Maybe we would leave some sort of wisdom for those who come after us.

When neurosurgeon Paul Kalanithi got the news that he was going to die of cancer in his mid-thirties, he wanted to make sure he left his piece of wisdom in writing.

Writing to a friend about his diagnosis he said, "The good news is that I've already outlived two Brontës, Keats and Stephen Crane. The bad news is that I haven't written anything."

Writing it wouldn't be easy because of his fragile and worsening health.

In When Breath Becomes Air, Kalanithi shares his feelings on being diagnosed with terminal cancer at the peak of his life and career with so much potential in front of him.

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Favorite Quote

"There is a moment, a cusp, when the sum of gathered experience is worn down by the details of living. We are never so wise as when we live in this moment."

Paul Kalanithi and Abraham Verghese

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When Breath Becomes Air

Paul Kalanithi

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