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Book Review: When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

biography book recommendations book review personal development what i am reading Jun 28, 2023
Jacqueline Green Reviews When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

Book Overview

When Breath Becomes Air is an autobiography of a neurosurgeon post-resident diagnosed with lung cancer at 36. It is a powerful story of strength, resilience, and perseverance. The author walks you through his transformation from a med student to a neurosurgeon, wondering what a meaningful life is while confronted with his own mortality. 

Why I Picked this Book to Read

I am unsure if I would have picked up this book to read, although I like autobiographies and biographies. It was a gift from my son last Christmas. He had received it as a gift and read it entirely on a plane ride back from vacation. I am glad he gave it to me. I will warn you, it is a tear-jerker at the end of the book. I found myself rooting for him to live, even though I knew that wouldn’t be the situation. 

What I Learned: My Three Takeaways

This isn’t exactly a book where you learn specific strategies or tasks. However, I did take away a few interesting tidbits. 

  1. First, cancer sucks, and life is unfair. This is a given, but I find how much perseverance a person has when diagnosed to be amazing. Here is a brilliant man who worked his entire adult life to help others, yet when faced with a cancer diagnosis, he continued to help others by writing this book and sharing his experience. 
  2. Relationships are a minefield, yet some couples find a way to unite during hard times and fight a good battle together. I have one of those relationships with my husband. It was nice to read about this couple enduring the worse and loving each other dearly. 
  3. I am inspired by Paul’s strength and courage to the end of the book, but also by his wife and her strength. 

Who Should Read this Book

I find it interesting that sometimes it takes a tragedy to really bring out the best of us. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for inspiration. 

Where to Buy

You can buy it through my Amazon link or from your favorite bookstore.

Please note I am an Amazon Association earning from qualified purchases if you use my Amazon link.

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