'When Breath Becomes Air' is a memoir by neurosurgeon Paul Kalanithi who died of lung cancer in 2015 at just 37-years-old.
Published posthumously, Kalanithi uses the book to reflect on his job and think about what makes life worth living.
On his blog, Gates wrote: “I can say this is the best nonfiction story I've read in a long time.
“I’m usually not one for tear-jerkers about death and dying…but this book definitely earned my admiration—and tears.”
The billionaire added: “This short book has so many layers of meaning and so many interesting juxtapositions [including] life and death, patient and doctor, son and father, work and family, faith and reason.
Kalanithi is part of a fraternity of amazing writer doctors, including Abraham Verghese (who wrote the foreword to Paul’s book), Siddhartha Mukherjee, and Atul Gawande. Perhaps I should consult a neuroscientist to figure out whether these seemingly disparate talents are somehow linked in the brain.
I am certain I will read When Breath Becomes Air again. This short book has so many layers of meaning and so many interesting juxtapositions—life and death, patient and doctor, son and father, work and family, faith and reason—I know I’ll pick up more insights the second time around.
I don’t know how Kalanithi found the physical strength to write this book while he was so debilitated by the disease and then potent chemotherapy. But I’m so glad he did. He spent his whole brief life searching for meaning in one way or another—through books, writing, medicine, surgery, and science. I’m grateful that, by reading this book, I got to witness a small part of that journey.
I just wish the journey hadn’t been cut so short.
All the writers mentioned by Bill Gates have an Indian connection