When Breath Becomes Air

Paul Kalanithi

In March 2015, Paul Kalanithi died at age 36.  He was married to Lucy, another physician, and they had one eight-month-old daughter.  He was a brilliant neurosurgeon at Stanford University, having done his education at Stanford, Cambridge, Yale Medical School and then neurosurgical residency at Stanford.

As a neurosurgeon he dealt with life and death continually and he thought deeply about issues of death.  Then, when he neared finishing his residency in neurosurgery, he was diagnosed with severe lung cancer.  In the final two years of his life he continues for a time in neurosurgery while he battles cancer, but he also writes this book about his battle.

He is a superb writer – he had been an English major at Stanford.  He was a deep thinker and a good man.

In the book he talks about how the cancer helped save his marriage because they had been drifting beforehand.

This is a poignant, though powerful, book.  Highly recommended.