Read My Book Notes

Hi there! My name is Latish Sehgal, and I am a programmer living in Dallas, Texas. This site contains notes from some of the books that I have read over the last few years.

The book notes and ratings are rather subjective, based on where I was in my life when I read that book. These are not meant as a replacement for reading but perhaps they can help in giving you a few recommendations to add to your reading list.

You can reach me on Twitter. @latish.

When Breath Becomes Air

Author: Paul Kalanithi
Publish Date: January 12, 2016
Rating: 10/10
Amazon Amazon Link: Affiliate, Non-Affiliate

Summary

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.

Thoughts

This is a very short read, yet I think we’ll all walk away with different lessons from this book. Rather than try and summarize it, I recommend that you go ahead and read the whole thing yourself. Among other things, I was reminded about how much hard work and sacrifice is involved in a doctor’s life. And that Life is not fair. And short. So make the most of what you have, and try to focus on things that are truly important and mean something to you. I loved the message that Paul left towards the end of the book for his daughter:

When you come to one of the many moments in life where you must give an account of yourself, provide a ledger of what you have been, and done, and meant to the world, do not, I pray, discount that you filled a dying man’s days with a sated joy, a joy unknown to me in all my prior years, a joy that does not hunger for more and more but rests, satisfied. In this time, right now, that is an enormous thing.

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