Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

Being Mortal

Medicine has triumphed in modern times, transforming the dangers of childbirth, injury, and disease from harrowing to manageable. But when it comes to the inescapable realities of aging and death, what medicine can do often runs counter to what it should.Through eye-opening research and gripping stories of his own patients and family, Atul Gawande, a practicing surgeon, reveals the suffering this dynamic has produced. Nursing homes, devoted above...

Details Being Mortal

TitleBeing Mortal
Release DateOct 7th, 2014
PublisherMetropolitan Books
GenreNonfiction, Health, Medicine, Science, Medical

Reviews Being Mortal

  • Will Byrnes
    (Added a link - 4/18/15 - at bottom) In the past few decades, medical science has rendered obsolete centuries of experience, tradition, and language about our mortality and created a new difficulty for mankind: how to die. Being Mortal is completely irrelevant for any readers who do not have elderly relations, do not know anyone who is old or in failing health, and do not themselves expect to become old. Otherwise, this is must-read stuff. Life ...
  • Lilo
    This is going to be a very short review. I just simply say:If you think you might get older as time goes by and/or think you might even die at some time (or have relatives or other loved ones to whom this might apply), I urge you to read this book. And if you happen to be over 50 (or care about someone over 50), read this book now.--You heard me. I said NOW!For more detailed evaluations and descriptions of this book, I recommend to read the follo...
  • Trish
    10/27/17 The most remarkable discussion of this book takes place between Atul Gawande and Kristin Tippett in the 10/26/17 podcast posted on the OnBeing website. In the discussion we learn that Gawande went to medicine through politics which may not surprise some of you. I had a radical insight as I listened: that doctors, by oath, are meant to provide life-giving care to rich and poor alike, without discrimination. Does that lead almost directly ...
  • Elyse Walters
    Update: $3.99 kindle download today. If you missed this book… And I can’t imagine that many people have missed reading it..... it’s an extraordinary book to read. I’ve been a fan of Atul Gawande since reading “Complications” with my local book club many years back --where 35 people showed up to 'express'. Our monthly Saturday's meetings are limited to 25 members of our 500+ Bay Area Book club --but members were didn't care --they were...
  • Petra-X
    This is brilliant. I'm having a good run of 5* books at the moment. Atul Gawande refers several times to The Death of Ivan Ilych so now I have to read that. I like it how one book leads to another sometimes.
  • Bionic Jean
    I read this book a fortnight ago, by my brother's bedside, at a time when both he and I knew he was dying. Any book one reads in such a situation has to be absorbing, perceptive and worth the read. This one was; it was both relevant and pertinent. I read it all."We know less and less about our patients but more and more about science."The author of Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End is Atul Gawande. He is an eminent American surge...
  • Yun
    Being Mortal tackles the all too uncomfortable subject of mortality, and what it means to live and die well in life's last moments. In our modern world of medicine and technology, hospitals and doctors can always do more, but is more surgery or therapy always the right step at the end of life when positive outcomes are unlikely and severe side effects are guaranteed?For me, the most eye-opening and useful parts of the book are those comparing the...
  • Debbie
    If you’re not afraid of dying, you’re either lucky or lying.Meanwhile, this book gave me the heebee-jeebees! Did I really need to know that as I age my aorta will get crunchy and my shrinking brain will rattle around in my skull? Or did I need to know (and perhaps forever visualize) the disgusting details of the downhill spiral of my teeth and feet, and what I’ll have to show for them? Don't worry, the author does not dwell on these things,...
  • Michael
    A clear, uplifting, and eloquent education on the deficiencies of the medical establishment in end-of-life care and promising progress toward improvements. This Boston surgeon has already authored accessible books on the human art behind the science of medicine with his “Complications” and “Better”. He is a master at using stories of his cases to address disparities between our expectations and the reality of medical practice and drawing ...
  • Debbie
    This is probably the most important book on mortality I've ever read. It is packed full of information and written in easily comprehendible language, in fact, very personal language. There is so much information here I had a hard time reviewing as I want to share it all! Promise, I won't, but will try to stay with just a few important highlights.First, this book looks at nursing homes and the rise and fall of assisted living. You may think, what?...
  • Genevieve
    * Originally reviewed on the Night Owls Press blog here. *I was first introduced to Atul Gawande's writing in his "Annals of Medicine" column for The New Yorker magazine. He wrote a thrilling piece about a woman with an itch—an itch so strong, so persistent, it was beyond belief. It stumped all of her doctors. Medications didn't work. MRIs and nerve tests revealed nothing conclusive. One night, the woman woke up to fluid dripping down her face....
  • Hamad
    This Review Blog Twitter Instagram “We’ve been wrong about what our job is in medicine. We think our job is to ensure health and survival. But really it is larger than that. It is to enable well-being.” During one of my latest classes, the instructor divided us into groups and gave us controversial topics to discuss. My group discussed Euthanasia and although this book does not discuss that. It focuses on some of the subjects that ...
  • Jen
    Simply put: This is a book about dying. But, on one's own terms. Gawande boldy argues that the medical world has got it wrong when it comes to the treatment of the dying. The objective of medicine should not be to ensure health and survival; rather it should be about the quality of life and what it means to die with dignity, a sense of purpose, and most importantly, control over one's life. It's about being able to write the final chapter the way...
  • Holly
    Depressing, but necessary to consider and talk about. What's the one unfortunate thing everyone on this planet has in common right now? We will all eventually die one day. So knowing that eventuality, why do we not plan for and discuss how we want to spend our final years/months/weeks/days? If we are fortunate enough to go the way of a steady decline via old age, how can we maintain our enjoyment of life as we become less able to meet our own nee...
  • David
    This excellent book is about how medicine treats patients as their lives come to an end. Today, Western medicine is all about keeping the patient alive, no matter the cost. The problem is that all too often, treatments at the end of life have limited value; they have little potential to prolong substantially, and even if they do, the quality of life is degraded significantly. Gawande, a practicing surgeon argues that the waning days of our lives ...
  • Diane
    It took me months to find the courage to read this. I know it is silly to be scared of a book, but the topic of mortality is so depressing that I dreaded reading it. I had even checked out the book from the library several times, read a page or two, and then promptly returned it, thinking I would try again at some undetermined date, when I was a more evolved human being and better able to cope with illness and death and dying. (Future-Diane is ve...
  • Diane S ☔
    A very eye opening book on aging, what happens as we age, and where do we go, when we can no longer take care of ourselves. This book asks some very interesting questions, makes one really think about the importance of making these decisions while one is still able. What is important to us, what are we willing to give up, are some of those questions.The writing is clear, and concise, the information extensive but not at all confusing. The people ...
  • Jenna
    Not many of us relish the idea of growing old, our bodies slowly breaking down, becoming weaker and weaker. Losing your teeth and your eye sight dimming. Having aches and pains and trouble getting out of bed. Your memory and thought processes declining, becoming less and less clear. There is not much fun in this and yet far fewer of us would prefer the alternative -- to not age, to die young. Depressing but important and informative, Being Mortal...
  • Caroline
    ***NO SPOILERS***The average lifespan of human beings today is around age 80, which means Being Mortal is an essential read for everyone. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the U.S., and that also makes Being Mortal an essential read for everyone. Even if someone isn’t affected by the infirmities of old age or by cancer, at some point she’ll likely know at least one person who is. Whatever the case, everyone dies eventually, and e...
  • Cathrine ☯️
    Remember the scene in The Matrix when Laurence Fishburne asks Keanu Reeves whether he wants to swallow the red pill or the blue pill? In his very excellent book Dr. Gawande uses that analogy to discuss the manner in which a physician attempts to discuss treatment options with a patient facing a life threatening/ending illness. As he points out, neither choice is really what the patient needs to hear, especially an aged one. So what about a third ...
  • Lynne King
    I learned a lot of things in medical school, but mortality wasn’t one of them. Although I was given a dry, leathery corpse to dissect in my first term, that was solely a way to learn about human anatomy. Our textbooks had almost nothing on aging or frailty or dying. How the process unfolds, how people experience the end of their lives, and how it affects those around them seemed beside the point. The way we saw it, and the way our professors sa...
  • aPriL does feral sometimes
    Many people avoid the subject of what should be done when the elders in their family become too frail or sick or demented to live by themselves or if a family member, whether old or young, is told they have a fatal disease such as cancer. When such news happens, and it will happen, the fraught, sometimes guilty, sometimes extremely distressed, yelling and arguing which follows the diagnosis can produce wrong incompetent rushed decisions that can ...
  • Rebecca
    An essential guide to decision-making about end-of-life care, but also a more philosophical treatment of the question of what makes life worth living. When should we extend life, and when should we concentrate more on the quality of our remaining days than their quantity? Most of the book weighs the plight of the elderly (it’s not just grim nursing homes out there), but there are also plenty of illustrative cases about the terminally ill. The ...
  • Caroline
    This is a superb book for which we should all be grateful....I have no doubt that the wisdom it holds has now been widely read by people working with the elderly, in all sorts of different fields. Gawande has done us all a great service.There are some superb reviews of the book here on Goodreads. Rather than writing one myself I will just point you to David's marvellous review.... will also point out an ex...
  • Jim
    This is very well read, amazingly relevant, & accessible. It's filled with real world examples as well as a few statistics. It is a must-read for everyone young (teens up) or old because we don't think about our end days properly or even ask the right questions. Worse, we don't understand what others are thinking or what their goals are.- Doctors fix. If they can't fix, they often still try to do something. That's why they became doctors & have e...
  • Ahmad Sharabiani
    Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, Atul GawandeBeing Mortal is a meditation on how people can better live with age-related frailty, serious illness, and approaching death. Gawande calls for a change in the way that medical professionals treat patients approaching their ends. He recommends that instead of focusing on survival, practitioners should work to improve quality of life and enable well-being. Gawande shares personal stori...
  • Darlene
    Not long ago, I read a book entitled The Cost of Hope: A Memoir. This book was written by 'Wall Street Journal' reporter, Amanda Bennett about her family's very personal struggle with navigating the health care system during her husband, Terence Foley's battle with Kidney cancer. In the end, Mr. Foley succumbed to this disease and Ms. Bennett's book took an honest look at the lengths her family went to and the cost they incurred to battle this di...
  • Erika
    This is a brilliant, fascinating, and extremely important book. I wish I had read it before my mother died because I would have asked her more probing questions about her priorities in the last couple of months of her life. Yet while Being Mortal made me regret the conversations I didn't have with my mom, I also came away feeling optimistic about the possibility for much-needed change in the way we think about age and dying in our culture. Gawand...
  • Dan
    Being Mortal by Atul GawandeGawande, as a surgeon, steps us through the reality of life’s waning moments. There is a heavy focus on cancer and old age and decisions around hospice care. Not easy subject matter but very useful information. I didn’t get choked up until the end of the book when the author takes us through the last few months of his father’s life as he battled cancer. The US is different from nearly all other countries in the w...