Wednesday, February 22, 2017

When Breath Becomes Air

A lot of us spend our lives delaying gratification. Often, the reward is higher later if you can forego the pleasure today. Value investors know all about this. But there is a risk that tomorrow doesn't come. When Breath Becomes Air is written by a guy who spent his whole life deferring potential rewards, only to be cursed with terminal cancer just as he was about to graduate as a surgeon.

I was deeply affected by the author's story. He experienced death daily as a resident at the hospital, and was learning how to deal with it, when the situation was flipped and *he* became the patient. He was robbed of the rest of his life while just in his mid-30s, giving him only enough time to write a book about his experience.

This book definitely exercises the areas of the brain concerned with empathy. It makes you grateful for your own life, and reminds you how fragile it is.

It's also really short, at just over 100 pages. I highly recommend it, as it won't take up much of your time either.


Andrew said...

Hi, the book has 208 pages. There is a free version on the internet which is only first half of the book, maybe you read that one?

Saj Karsan said...

I have the electronic version, but seems to be the whole thing. It matches this TOC: but Part I to end of Part II is only 104 pages.

ShadowStock said...


Thanks, I just purchased the book.

Not to compare or complain. I can empathize with all people, its instinctual.

To quote a generous, kind person I admire Neil Cavuto (American television anchor, commentator and business journalist. CNBC/FOX).

“Having had cancer (stage IV Hodgkin's lymphoma) right before by MS diagnosis, I can honestly say MS is worse. There’s NO ENDGAME HERE, no cure here, no concoction of chemotherapy or radiation that could make it all go away here,” he told the outlet. “So I take steroids, and weekly injections, and I exercise my legs a great deal.”

My life has been dramatically changed, financially, physically, cognitively and emotionally with Multiple Sclerosis. There is no endgame, for me it’s like living daily with a bad flu. But as a natural stoic I can’t say I would have been able to change even knowing my future. I’m looking forward to reading the book.

Saj Karsan said...

Thanks, Shadow. A family member has MS so I've seen up close how difficult it can be. I hope you will continue to be ok.