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When Breath Becomes Air
     

When Breath Becomes Air

4.8 90
by Paul Kalanithi
 

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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • For readers of Atul Gawande, Andrew Solomon, and Anne Lamott, this inspiring, exquisitely observed memoir finds hope and beauty in the face of insurmountable odds as an idealistic young neurosurgeon attempts to answer the question What makes a life worth living?

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST

Overview

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • For readers of Atul Gawande, Andrew Solomon, and Anne Lamott, this inspiring, exquisitely observed memoir finds hope and beauty in the face of insurmountable odds as an idealistic young neurosurgeon attempts to answer the question What makes a life worth living?

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY 
THE WASHINGTON POST • THE NEW YORK TIMES • NPR

BOOKS FOR A BETTER LIFE AWARD FINALIST

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.

Praise for When Breath Becomes Air

“I guarantee that finishing this book and then forgetting about it is simply not an option. . . . Part of this book’s tremendous impact comes from the obvious fact that its author was such a brilliant polymath. And part comes from the way he conveys what happened to him—passionately working and striving, deferring gratification, waiting to live, learning to die—so well.”—Janet Maslin, The New York Times

“An emotional investment well worth making: a moving and thoughtful memoir of family, medicine and literature. It is, despite its grim undertone, accidentally inspiring.”The Washington Post

“Possesses the gravity and wisdom of an ancient Greek tragedy . . . [Kalanithi] delivers his chronicle in austere, beautiful prose. The book brims with insightful reflections on mortality that are especially poignant coming from a trained physician familiar with what lies ahead.”The Boston Globe

“Devastating and spectacular . . . [Kalanithi] is so likeable, so relatable, and so humble, that you become immersed in his world and forget where it’s all heading.”USA Today

“It’s [Kalanithi’s] unsentimental approach that makes When Breath Becomes Air so original—and so devastating. . . . Its only fault is that the book, like his life, ends much too early.”Entertainment Weekly

“Split my head open with its beauty.”—Cheryl Strayed

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times - Janet Maslin
…a great, indelible book…that is as intimate and illuminating as Atul Gawande's Being Mortal, to cite only one recent example of a doctor's book that has had exceptionally wide appeal…I guarantee that finishing this book and then forgetting about it is simply not an option. There is so much here that lingers, and not just about matters of life and death…Part of this book's tremendous impact comes from the obvious fact that its author was such a brilliant polymath. And part comes from the way he conveys what happened to him—passionately working and striving, deferring gratification, waiting to live, learning to die—so well. None of it is maudlin. Nothing is exaggerated. As he wrote to a friend: "It's just tragic enough and just imaginable enough." And just important enough to be unmissable.
The New York Times Book Review - Andrew Solomon
When Breath Becomes Air…has an aura of the best kind of earnest conversation that kept you up all night in your early adulthood—but it transcends that potential callowness with its Keatsian sense of impending mortality. Kalanithi died too soon to recant the insights that come with the gradual discovery of one's own consciousness, and his book is suffused with a proleptic nostalgia for a youth still in its efflorescence. That truncated youth is touched with youth's particular wisdom…[Kalanithi] is a literate, first-rate reporter in the vanguard of a modern battle, and he writes with the urgency of his looming incorporeity.
Publishers Weekly
11/02/2015
Author and physician Kalanithi had nearly completed his residency in neurosurgery at Stanford when he was diagnosed with Stage lV lung cancer at the age of 36. Despite the stubborn progression of his disease, Kalanithi was able to write, work, and delve into a number of profound issues before the end of his life, documented here (his wife provides the epilogue). As a youth in Arizona, Kalanithi was unsure whether he wanted to pursue medicine, as his father did, or if literature and writing were his calling. This inspiring memoir makes it clear that he excelled at both. Kalanithi shares his career struggles, bringing readers into his studies at Yale (including cadaver dissection), the relentless demands of neurosurgery, and the life-and-death decisions and medical puzzles that must be solved. After he begins cancer treatment, Kalanithi strives to define his dual role as physician and patient, and he weighs in on such topics as what makes life meaningful and how one determines what is most important when little time is left. He also shares the challenges of colleagues: an oncologist who walks a tightrope between hope and honest reality; a fellow doctor who commits suicide after losing a patient; Kalanithi’s wife, also a doctor, bearing witness to her husband’s decline even as she gives birth to their child. This deeply moving memoir reveals how much can be achieved through service and gratitude when a life is courageously and resiliently lived. (Jan.)
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2015-09-30
A neurosurgeon with a passion for literature tragically finds his perfect subject after his diagnosis of terminal lung cancer. Writing isn't brain surgery, but it's rare when someone adept at the latter is also so accomplished at the former. Searching for meaning and purpose in his life, Kalanithi pursued a doctorate in literature and had felt certain that he wouldn't enter the field of medicine, in which his father and other members of his family excelled. "But I couldn't let go of the question," he writes, after realizing that his goals "didn't quite fit in an English department." "Where did biology, morality, literature and philosophy intersect?" So he decided to set aside his doctoral dissertation and belatedly prepare for medical school, which "would allow me a chance to find answers that are not in books, to find a different sort of sublime, to forge relationships with the suffering, and to keep following the question of what makes human life meaningful, even in the face of death and decay." The author's empathy undoubtedly made him an exceptional doctor, and the precision of his prose—as well as the moral purpose underscoring it—suggests that he could have written a good book on any subject he chose. Part of what makes this book so essential is the fact that it was written under a death sentence following the diagnosis that upended his life, just as he was preparing to end his residency and attract offers at the top of his profession. Kalanithi learned he might have 10 years to live or perhaps five. Should he return to neurosurgery (he could and did), or should he write (he also did)? Should he and his wife have a baby? They did, eight months before he died, which was less than two years after the original diagnosis. "The fact of death is unsettling," he understates. "Yet there is no other way to live." A moving meditation on mortality by a gifted writer whose dual perspectives of physician and patient provide a singular clarity.
From the Publisher
“I guarantee that finishing this book and then forgetting about it is simply not an option. . . . Part of this book’s tremendous impact comes from the obvious fact that its author was such a brilliant polymath. And part comes from the way he conveys what happened to him—passionately working and striving, deferring gratification, waiting to live, learning to die—so well. None of it is maudlin. Nothing is exaggerated. As he wrote to a friend: ‘It’s just tragic enough and just imaginable enough.’ And just important enough to be unmissable.”—Janet Maslin, The New York Times
 
“Paul Kalanithi’s memoir, When Breath Becomes Air, written as he faced a terminal cancer diagnosis, is inherently sad. But it’s an emotional investment well worth making: a moving and thoughtful memoir of family, medicine and literature. It is, despite its grim undertone, accidentally inspiring.”The Washington Post
 
“Paul Kalanithi’s posthumous memoir, When Breath Becomes Air, possesses the gravity and wisdom of an ancient Greek tragedy. . . . [Kalanithi] delivers his chronicle in austere, beautiful prose. The book brims with insightful reflections on mortality that are especially poignant coming from a trained physician familiar with what lies ahead. . . . The narrative voice is so assured and powerful that you almost expect him to survive his own death and carry on describing what happened to his friends and family after he is gone.”The Boston Globe
 
“Devastating and spectacular . . . [Kalanithi] is so likeable, so relatable, and so humble, that you become immersed in his world and forget where it’s all heading.”USA Today
 
“It’s [Kalanithi’s] unsentimental approach that makes When Breath Becomes Air so original—and so devastating. . . . Its only fault is that the book, like his life, ends much too early.”Entertainment Weekly

“[When Breath Becomes Air] split my head open with its beauty.”—Cheryl Strayed

“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

“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

“Inspiring . . . Kalanithi strives to define his dual role as physician and patient, and he weighs in on such topics as what makes life meaningful and how one determines what is most important when little time is left. . . . This deeply moving memoir reveals how much can be achieved through service and gratitude when a life is courageously and resiliently lived.”Publishers Weekly
 
“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)
 
“[A] moving and penetrating memoir . . . This eloquent, heartfelt meditation on the choices that make life worth living, even as death looms, will prompt readers to contemplate their own values and mortality.”Booklist
 
“Dr. Kalanithi describes, clearly and simply, and entirely without self-pity, his journey from innocent medical student to professionally detached and all-powerful neurosurgeon to helpless patient, dying from cancer. Every doctor should read this book—written by a member of our own tribe, it helps us understand and overcome the barriers we all erect between ourselves and our patients as soon as we are out of medical school.”—Henry Marsh, author of Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death, and Brain Surgery

“A tremendous book, crackling with life, animated by wonder and by the question of how we should live. Paul Kalanithi lived and died in the pursuit of excellence, and by this testimonial, he achieved it.”—Gavin Francis, author of Adventures in Human Being

From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780812988406
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
01/12/2016
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
54
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)

Read an Excerpt

Part I

In Perfect Health I Begin

The hand of the Lord was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones,

And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry.

And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live?

—­Ezekiel 37:1–­3, King James translation

I knew with certainty that I would never be a doctor. I stretched out in the sun, relaxing on a desert plateau just above our house. My uncle, a doctor, like so many of my relatives, had asked me earlier that day what I planned on doing for a career, now that I was heading off to college, and the question barely registered. If you had forced me to answer, I suppose I would have said a writer, but frankly, thoughts of any career at this point seemed absurd. I was leaving this small Arizona town in a few weeks, and I felt less like someone preparing to climb a career ladder than a buzzing electron about to achieve escape velocity, flinging out into a strange and sparkling universe.

I lay there in the dirt, awash in sunlight and memory, feeling the shrinking size of this town of fifteen thousand, six hundred miles from my new college dormitory at Stanford and all its promise.

I knew medicine only by its absence—­specifically, the absence of a father growing up, one who went to work before dawn and returned in the dark to a plate of reheated dinner. When I was ten, my father had moved us—­three boys, ages fourteen, ten, and eight—­from Bronxville, New York, a compact, affluent suburb just north of Manhattan, to Kingman, Arizona, in a desert valley ringed by two mountain ranges, known primarily to the outside world as a place to get gas en route to somewhere else. He was drawn by the sun, by the cost of living—­how else would he pay for his sons to attend the colleges he aspired to?—­and by the opportunity to establish a regional cardiology practice of his own. His unyielding dedication to his patients soon made him a respected member of the community. When we did see him, late at night or on weekends, he was an amalgam of sweet affections and austere diktats, hugs and kisses mixed with stony pronouncements: “It’s very easy to be number one: find the guy who is number one, and score one point higher than he does.” He had reached some compromise in his mind that fatherhood could be distilled; short, concentrated (but sincere) bursts of high intensity could equal . . . whatever it was that other fathers did. All I knew was, if that was the price of medicine, it was simply too high.

From my desert plateau, I could see our house, just beyond the city limits, at the base of the Cerbat Mountains, amid red-­rock desert speckled with mesquite, tumbleweeds, and paddle-­shaped cacti. Out here, dust devils swirled up from nothing, blurring your vision, then disappeared. Spaces stretched on, then fell away into the distance. Our two dogs, Max and Nip, never grew tired of the freedom. Every day, they’d venture forth and bring home some new desert treasure: the leg of a deer, unfinished bits of jackrabbit to eat later, the sun-­bleached skull of a horse, the jawbone of a coyote.

My friends and I loved the freedom, too, and we spent our afternoons exploring, walking, scavenging for bones and rare desert creeks. Having spent my previous years in a lightly forested suburb in the Northeast, with a tree-­lined main street and a candy store, I found the wild, windy desert alien and alluring. On my first trek alone, as a ten-­year-­old, I discovered an old irrigation grate. I pried it open with my fingers, lifted it up, and there, a few inches from my face, were three white silken webs, and in each, marching along on spindled legs, was a glistening black bulbous body, bearing in its shine the dreaded blood-­red hourglass. Near to each spider a pale, pulsating sac breathed with the imminent birth of countless more black widows. Horror let the grate crash shut. I stumbled back. The horror came in a mix of “country facts” (Nothing is more deadly than the bite of the black widow spider) and the inhuman posture and the black shine and the red hourglass. I had nightmares for years.

The desert offered a pantheon of terrors: tarantulas, wolf spiders, fiddlebacks, bark scorpions, whip scorpions, centipedes, diamondbacks, sidewinders, Mojave greens. Eventually we grew familiar, even comfortable, with these creatures. For fun, when my friends and I discovered a wolf spider’s nest, we’d drop an ant onto its outer limits and watch as its entangled escape attempts sent quivers down the silk strands, into the spider’s dark central hole, anticipating that fatal moment when the spider would burst from its hollows and seize the doomed ant in its mandibles. “Country facts” became my term for the rural cousin of the urban legend. As I first learned them, country facts granted fairy powers to desert creatures, making, say, the Gila monster no less an actual monster than the Gorgon. Only after living out in the desert for a while did we realize that some country facts, like the existence of the jackalope, had been deliberately created to confuse city folk and amuse the locals. I once spent an hour convincing a group of exchange students from Berlin that, yes, there was a particular species of coyote that lived inside cacti and could leap ten yards to attack its prey (like, well, unsuspecting Germans). Yet no one precisely knew where the truth lay amid the whirling sand; for every country fact that seemed preposterous, there was one that felt solid and true. Always check your shoes for scorpions, for example, seemed plain good sense.

When I was sixteen, I was supposed to drive my younger brother, Jeevan, to school. One morning, as usual, I was running late, and as Jeevan was standing impatiently in the foyer, yelling that he didn’t want to get detention again because of my tardiness, so could I please hurry the hell up, I raced down the stairs, threw open the front door . . . and nearly stepped on a snoozing six-­foot rattlesnake. It was another country fact that if you killed a rattlesnake on your doorstep, its mate and offspring would come and make a permanent nest there, like Grendel’s mother seeking her revenge. So Jeevan and I drew straws: the lucky one grabbed a shovel, the unlucky one a pair of thick gardening gloves and a pillowcase, and through a seriocomic dance, we managed to get the snake into the pillowcase. Then, like an Olympic hammer thrower, I hurled the whole out into the desert, with plans to retrieve the pillowcase later that afternoon, so as not to get in trouble with our mother.

Of our many childhood mysteries, chief among them was not why our father decided to bring his family to the desert town of Kingman, Arizona, which we grew to cherish, but how he ever convinced my mother to join him there. They had eloped, in love, across the world, from southern India to New York City (he a Christian, she a Hindu, their marriage was condemned on both sides, and led to years of familial rifts—­my mother’s mother never acknowledged my name, Paul, instead insisting I be called by my middle name, Sudhir) to Arizona, where my mother was forced to confront an intractable mortal fear of snakes. Even the smallest, cutest, most harmless red racer would send her screaming into the house, where she’d lock the doors and arm herself with the nearest large, sharp implement—­rake, cleaver, ax.

Meet the Author

Paul Kalanithi was a neurosurgeon and writer. He grew up in Kingman, Arizona, and graduated from Stanford University with a BA and MA in English literature and a BA in human biology. He earned an MPhil in history and philosophy of science and medicine from the University of Cambridge and graduated cum laude from the Yale School of Medicine, where he was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha national medical honor society. He returned to Stanford to complete his residency training in neurological surgery and a postdoctoral fellowship in neuroscience, during which he received the American Academy of Neurological Surgery’s highest award for research. He died in March 2015. He is survived by his large, loving family, including his wife, Lucy, and their daughter, Elizabeth Acadia.

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When Breath Becomes Air 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 90 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This reveals and rips the vain between Now and Forever. Thank you for writing and sharing. And God bless.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Inspiring, heartbreaking, and uplifting...all at the same time. Thank you for letting the world learn of this incredible journey. A beautiful and powerful book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Being a wife who's husband is dying of a terminal illness and working in medicine this book hit home. An amazing view on life and death, filled with compassion and hope as well as reality and truth. Tears and smiles, I read this book in one sitting and wished I knew more of this man.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book let me open my mind up to the other world - death. It's something we all think about and have to go through. This book touched my heart and made me realize what I take for granted. This doctor will never be forgotten. All the sacrifices he made in his last couple years alive is truely humbling and inspirational. To the other review that was disappointed that he never found God: No one should judge or expect another person to think the way you do. He overcame what he had to do and found his own way to cope through this tragedy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Beautifully and honestly written account of a thinking man's experience in dealing with his own mortality. Add to this, his being a neurosurgeon struggling with helping his patients and their families through this process of dying, makes this memoir so unforgettable. Read it. Make it a reading requirement for all medical students.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A thread of life and the incredible mysteries that accompany it run through every page. Bravery, vulnerability and end of being human while knowledgeable, loved and loving. This is a must read for anyone in the medical field who has recognized, "there by the grace of God go I."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was incredibly moved by this story, thinking of recent losses and my own future. Very moving and written so well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one book that I will never forget. Thank you to Paul for sharing the most precious part of life....and death.
Penmouse More than 1 year ago
When Breath Becomes Air is a elegantly written and moving book about the life and death of Dr. Paul Kalanithi. Kalanithi. could truly be called a renaissance man as he loved both arts and science. Thanks to his love of writing and science we are left with his legacy of how he learned to view life and death. Kalanithi left his earthly bounds too soon as his gift for medicine and writing will be greatly missed. Recommend. Review written after downloading a galley from NetGalley.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A profound and inspiring read....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A beautiful and unforgetable book. I loved it. A book everyone should read.
Anthony_Positively_Fil More than 1 year ago
I just finished the book yesterday. In a few days, I’ll move beyond the immediate heartbreak of the loss of a talented, brilliant surgeon and scientist who was prepared to make a great difference in medicine. Dr. Paul Kalinthi writes so that you care about him, his dreams and his family. Beyond the grief, you’ll appreciate his example of bravery in the face of diminishing odds of survival about which he is always candid. He tells us of how his medical knowledge and experience working with patients influenced him to experience Kubler-Ross Five Stages of Grief in reverse. He is a realist but also a man with faith. The latter ― faith or God ― may appear antithetical for a scientist, but he manages to eloquently show the fatal flaw in an all-encompassing empirical view, even factoring in Occam’s razor. If we believe in only things we can see, then emotions, love and meaning have no place. This memoir covers more than just religion. Paul tackles many ideas on life and death in this short book he dedicated to his daughter, Cady, whom both he and we regret was too young to remember his time with her. Every moment is heartfelt and relevant for us mortals who soldier on. I don't normally comment on books, but for this one, I had to say something.
Anonymous 4 months ago
I was drawn to this book because I am battling cancer, not terminal. This book defies comparison. To have the perspective of patient and Doctor so brilliantly and beautifully described is gift to us all. Thank you Paul and Lucy! Your love conquers all.
feather_lashes 9 months ago
When Breath Becomes Air has changed my life. No, that's not an extreme statement. When your perspective is broadened, your thinking changes, and your own way of living opens up for self-examination. All of this impacts how you move forward with your life...thus the change. Paul Kalanithi's memoir offers perspective about living in regards to the detached medical science of function, the philosophy and theology of being present, and the desperate need we all have to process and feel human emotion. I am urged to view my physicians as emotional human beings and not the white coats with all (or none) of the answers. I am urged to show love and appreciation daily to my family. I am urged to confront my discomfort and make every effort to spend time and unfiltered conversation with the terminally ill. What true perspective we miss out on when we withdraw from the dying, but the true tragedy is how avoidance negatively impacts quality of life and authentic human connections. I loved this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a beautiful testament of life and facing death. It truly defines a human being facing the only guarantee in life which is death.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A powerful book, beautifully written. Tears fell as I read this amazing story. Paul was a brilliant physician and inspiring person. A must read for everyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is the story of a courageous individual who fought to the end. Great example of human life and the process as we know it, yet at times don't want to sccept! My condolences to Lucy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A must read for anyone who has loved another person whether it be a spouse ,parent , child ,kin, or friend
Andrea Hall More than 1 year ago
I am speechless. I don't know what I can say about this book other than it is a must read for anyone and everyone. It has becomes one of two books that I keep on my night stand that have truly inspired me to not just do better, but be better. This and "When God Stopped Keeping Score," by Author R.A. Clark. Again, buy them both, if you can, or borrow them. But, read them.
CC95835 6 days ago
A beautiful and powerfully written book that’s inspirational, heart-warming and riveting. Also, Dr. Paul Kalanithi provides true insight into his daily reality, bravery and his truth and view on life and death that’s filled with compassion and hope. Thanks for sharing and may God bless you, your family and friends.
Anonymous 23 days ago
It is a fast read. I read it on the plane from NYC to Texas and only stopped to wipe away my tears. I will never forget this book. Heartbreaking yet extreamly uplifting. You have to read it!
Anonymous 3 months ago
When Breath Becomes Air is an amazing story of neurosurgeon Paul Kalanithi, who is retelling the events of his life up to and after being diagnosed with cancer. The story takes us through the tale of a man who had nothing until he gained every form of success in the medical field only to be brought to the forefront of life itself, facing death head on. Paul writes that he has always had a passion for literature and this is proven by his 'matter of fact' writing style (as one would expect from a doctor!) as well as his multiple references to writers and philosophers. More than anything else, this book illustrates the struggle of a man to understand the human condition, to make sense of the differences between life and death; all while experiencing the fluidity of morality first as a doctor and then as a patient. No matter what turns the story takes, Paul always brings the reader's attention back to the idea that he is exploring, what it means to be alive and more importantly what we can learn from death. An amazing read for anyone but especially those who want to think and reflect upon the intermingling of life and death. A must read!
Anonymous 4 months ago
This book is so touching and makes you want to search for the importance of life.
Anonymous 4 months ago
Anonymous 4 months ago
I am battling cancer and I thank Paul, Lucy and Cady for affirming so much of what I've been feeling. There is no false hope presented here and no focus on the afterlife....something I think Paul must have believed was beyond knowing until we get there. The man simply lived in the time he had and appreciated what he had been given. I don't think any of us should expect to do more than that when we find our time is running short. It's no more profound than that. I highly recommend this book.