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Download When Breath Becomes Air Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample When Breath Becomes Air, by Paul Kalanithi Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Paul Kalanithi Narrator: Sunil Malhotra, Cassandra Campbel Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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For readers of Atul Gawande, Andrew Solomon, and Anne Lamott, a profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir by a young neurosurgeon faced with a terminal cancer diagnosis who attempts to answer the question: What makes a life worth living?

At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. And just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a naïve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” 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 in the face of death? What do you do when the future, no longer a ladder toward your goals in life, flattens out into a perpetual present? What does it mean to have a child, to nurture a new life as another fades away? These are some of the questions Kalanithi wrestles with in this profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir.

Paul Kalanithi died in March 2015, while working on this book, yet his words live on as a guide and a gift to us all. “I began to realize that coming face to face with my own mortality, in a sense, had changed nothing and everything,” he wrote. “Seven words from Samuel Beckett began to repeat in my head: ‘I can’t go on. I’ll go on.’”

When Breath Becomes Air is an unforgettable, life-affirming reflection on the challenge of facing death and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a brilliant writer who became both.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Rattling, heartbreaking, and ultimately beautiful, the too-young Dr. Kalanithi’s memoir is proof that the dying are the ones who have the most to teach us about life.”

    Atul Gawande, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Thanks to When Breath Becomes Air, those of us who never met Paul Kalanithi will both mourn his death and benefit from his life. This is one of a handful of books I consider to be a universal donor—I would recommend it to anyone, everyone.”

    Ann Patchett, New York Times bestselling author

  • "The result of his experience is not just a look at what living is and how it works from a scientific perspective, but the ins and outs of what makes life matter.”

    Amazon.com, editorial review

  • “A moving meditation on mortality by a gifted writer whose dual perspectives of physician and patient provide a singular clarity…Writing isn’t brain surgery, but it’s rare when someone adept at the latter is also so accomplished at the former.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “In an eloquent and deeply moving memoir, Kalanithi recounts the moment when his future evaporated and life became intensely focused on the here and now.”


  • An Amazon Best Book of January 2016
  • A BookPage Top Pick for January 2016
  • A Kirkus Reviews Pick for 11 Books That Grad You from Page One
  • A New York Times Bestseller
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