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When Breath Becomes Air

By: Paul Kalanithi
Narrated by: Cassandra Campbell,Sunil Malhotra
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Publisher's Summary

The New York Times number-one best seller.

At the age of 36, on the verge of completing a decade's training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, the next he was a patient struggling to live.

When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi's transformation from a medical student asking what makes a virtuous and meaningful life into a neurosurgeon working in the core of human identity - the brain - and finally into a patient and a new father.

What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when life is catastrophically interrupted? What does it mean to have a child as your own life fades away?

Paul Kalanithi died while working on this profoundly moving book, yet his words live on as a guide to us all. When Breath Becomes Air is a life-affirming reflection on facing our mortality and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a gifted writer who became both.

©2016 Paul Kalanithi (P)2016 Random House AudioBooks

Critic Reviews

"Finishing this book and then forgetting about it is simply not an option.... Unmissable." ( New York Times)

What listeners say about When Breath Becomes Air

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Moving and powerful!

This memoir by Dr Paul Kalanithi takes the reader on a short yet powerful journey through his illness, his mental stage and the last few years of his life!
Just finished it and I have no words, so not going to write more in this review!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Truly beautiful

This book was a prescribed book by my uni and at first, I believed I would be bored by it. I was pleasantly surprised. Cried many times in the book, discovered areas in my own life where I could be doing things differently, and gave me a better understanding of what people go through when dealing with a terminal illness. Loved the story and the narration was well done.

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1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Cried it was so beautiful

Meaningful and beautifully written, moved me at my core and showed a different way of looking at life. Short and great read.

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

I am a doctor! I have cancer.

Great book in three parts. An audiobook well presented, better than the book itself.
The highlight for me was the last part by his wife. She as a ‘non’ writer captured her story in a way that the narrative stays with you, nesting deeply in your heart and mind.
Paul himself tried to hard to be a writer...a doctor with cancer. No more than my doctor friends that committed suicide, died in a car crash, those died of cancer and those died on the battlefield or mission trips. I could not get lost in HIS life story...Why not? When writing a story, biography about something with a message, it’s about the message or lesson, not about you.
The cancer in a physician suffering and deeper meaning was smothered by the ME. Thus not enough about IT and to much about the I.
Thoughts by a doctor myself...not I but it, the entity.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Too much medical jargon

I feel bad writing a negative review but this book was full of medical jargon that I am sure the average bloke on the street would struggle to understand. Paul is facing death and appears to be desperately seeking validation of his worth. He is well read and doesn't hesitate to namedrop a few literary bits and pieces. His story lacks any human connection. He skips over his marriage issues, the birth of his daughter and generally is very light on in regard to emotions. He rarely mentions the impact of his illness on his wife and family. I felt sorry for him and wanted to tell him, forget the writing, you're not very good at it. Put down the pen and go outside, sit in the sun and watch the world go by. I do have to say that the epilogue written by his wife was very moving and I believe she is a far better writer than her husband was.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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Slice of life

Would you consider the audio edition of When Breath Becomes Air to be better than the print version?

N/A

What did you like best about this story?

Paul's descriptive and inspiring quest to find personal meaning in life and battles to find self worth are topics I enjoyed.

What does Cassandra Campbell and Sunil Malhotra bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

n/a

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Opened my eye's to the physician's stresses and how much doctors truly give gifts to those in their care.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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When breath becomes air

When I was looking for my next read I came upon It and I was captured from the first paragraph. What a wonderful man, I cried many times during the book. I lost my own father to cancer but was to young and immature to realise the significance of death....forever is a long long time. Thank you Paul

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A book to treasure

Beautifully written and narrated, its like Paul is there telling you his story himself. Very corageous.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Impactful and Gripping

incredibly well written. I listened to the whole book in a day. covers some difficult territory in a beautiful way.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Illuminating perspective on mortality

This book is Well written, witty and a thoughtful dissection of life, death and meaning.
Highly recommend

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