When Breath Becomes Air Cover
When Breath Becomes Air, by Paul Kalanithi, MD

When Breath Becomes Air is the bestselling memoir by Dr. Paul Kalanithi, who, as a 36-year-old chief resident in neurosurgery at Stanford University, was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer. He died in March 2015.

Dr. Kalanithi came to national attention when his op-ed “How Long Have I Got Left?” appeared in The New York Times in January 2014.

READ THE NEW YORK TIMES OP-ED HERE (login may be required).

His work has received critical praise for his reflections on doctoring and illness and was a topic of a session at the recent 2016 American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting.

Author Paul Kalanithi, MD
Author Paul Kalanithi, MD


Before his surgical training, Dr. Kalanithi graduated from Stanford with a BA and an MA in English literature. He earned an M.Phil in History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine from the University of Cambridge. He graduated from Yale School of Medicine, and did residency in neurosurgery at Stanford with a postdoc fellowship in neuroscience.

The introduction to When Breath Becomes Air is by physician-author Abraham Verghese, MD, who invites readers to “Be ready.  Be Seated. See what courage sounds like. See how brave it is to reveal yourself in this way. But above all, see what it is to still live, to profoundly influence the lives of others after you are gone, by your words.”

What’s On Your Summer Reading List?

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