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When Breath Becomes Air

When Breath Becomes Air

This book was recommended by another colleague. This is written by Paul Kalanithi, an American Neurosurgeon, about his life and illness, battling stage IV lung cancer.

Top three thoughts about this book I might remember forever.

  1. This book reminds me of a LOT about ‘The Last Lecture’ from Randy Pausch. If you haven’t read the book, you should read the book or at least watch the video.
  2. Even though it was clear about his outcome from the start, it was really hard while reading the epilogue written by his wife Lucy Kalanthi about life after his death.
  3. The way he wrote the book is awesome. Given his interest in literature, he was able to write so well. There were so many places where the book felt poetic.

I always assumed the right way for someone to die is to do that peacefully when they are sleeping, of course without knowing about it. But this book gave a whole new perspective. The way Paul carried things around even after diagnosed cancer felt that there is always a way around even with the worst.

Talking about fighting cancer and death, this post will not be complete if I don’t mention Steve Jobs. The following excerpt from his commencement speech is one of the best.

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

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