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In this 1-minute book review, explore the insightful perspective of Dr. Atul Gawande in his groundbreaking work "Being Mortal" as he delves into the complex relationship between medicine and morality

Being Mortal: Medicine And What Matters In The End – by Dr. Atul Gawande

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Maybe you want to “live forever or die trying”, and that’s an understandable goal… But are you prepared for “or die trying” being the outcome?

This is not a cheerful book, if you’re anything like this reviewer, you will need a little towel or something to mop up the tears while you read. But it’s worth it.

Dying is one thing; fighting for life is even generally considered a noble endeavor. Suffering alone isn’t fun, losing independence can feel humiliating, and seeing someone who was always a tower of strength, now a frail shadow of their former self, reduced to begging for something that they’re “not allowed”, can be worse.

Do we want that for ourselves? For our loved ones? Can there be a happy medium between that, and the alternative to indeed “go gentle into that good night”?

Dr. Gawande, a surgeon well-acquainted with death and dying, thinks so. But it involves work on our part, and being prepared for hard decisions.

  • What is most important to us, and what tradeoffs are we willing to make for it?
  • What, even, is actually an option to us with the resources available?
  • Can we make peace with a potentially bad lot? And… Should we?
  • When is fighting important, and when is it self-destructive?

These (and others) are all difficult questions posed by Dr. Gawande, but critical ones.

We don’t usually quote other people’s reviews when reviewing books here, but let’s consider the following words from the end of a long review on Amazon:

❝If “dying as we lived” is some kind of standard for how we should go, then maybe alone and medicalized makes some sense right now after all.❞

~ Pamela J. H.

Bottom line: we all deserve better than that. And if we don’t take the time to think about what’s most important, then time will take it from us. This very insightful book may not have all the answers, but it has the questions, and it can help a lot in exploring them and deciding what matters most to us in the end, really.

Click here to check out Being Mortal, and make every day count—because nothing matters more than that.

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