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Being Mortal

Illness, Medicine and What Matters in the End
Narrated by: Robert Petkoff
Length: 9 hrs and 3 mins
5 out of 5 stars (149 ratings)

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Summary

For most of human history, death was a common, ever-present possibility. It didn't matter whether you were five or fifty - every day was a roll of the dice. But now, as medical advances push the boundaries of survival further each year, we have become increasingly detached from the reality of being mortal. 

So here is an audiobook about the modern experience of mortality - about what it's like to get old and die, how medicine has changed this and how it hasn't, where our ideas about death have gone wrong. With his trademark mix of perceptiveness and sensitivity, Atul Gawande outlines a story that crosses the globe, as he examines his experiences as a surgeon and those of his patients and family, and learns to accept the limits of what he can do.  

Never before has aging been such an important topic. The systems that we have put in place to manage our mortality are manifestly failing; but, as Gawande reveals, it doesn't have to be this way. The ultimate goal, after all, is not a good death, but a good life - all the way to the very end. 

Published in partnership with the Wellcome Collection. 

Wellcome Collection:

Wellcome Collection is a free museum and library that aims to challenge how we think and feel about health. Inspired by the medical objects and curiosities collected by Henry Wellcome, it connects science, medicine, life and art. Wellcome Collection exhibitions, events and books explore a diverse range of subjects, including consciousness, forensic medicine, emotions, sexology, identity and death.  

Wellcome Collection is part of Wellcome, a global charitable foundation that exists to improve health for everyone by helping great ideas to thrive, funding over 14,000 researchers and projects in more than 70 countries. 

©2019 Atul Gawande (P)2014 Macmillan Audio

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Simple, yet brilliant

The author tries to pass the idea that instead of trying to exceed ones life employing any medical service necessary, we shall focus on the quality of the time left and help people to get the best of their days/weeks/months remaining.
However, the main take for me from this book are these simple truths:
- Perspective can change everything (your goals, ambition, hapiness is totally different if you have a month to live vs 20 years to go);
- listen to what my parents/loved oned want when it comes to the end of life journey (be it a mortal disease or an old age);
- I am not immortal, I should not forget that :)
- and finally - there’s a business opportunity in my country to expand assisted living concept + help the old people.

3 people found this helpful

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a must read

A vitally important book for us all, whether in facing our own mortality or that of a loved one. Gwande brings to the fore difficult but real issues that need addressing by medics and each one of us in this medically 'curing ills' age

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A must read

Glad I bought this. It will stand me in good stead in the future.

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Must read

If you are a health care professional, or have any other human you care about.

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Great and moving

Thought provoking
Difficult subject well told
Moving
A really great book
What more can I say ?

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A Must Read

This book's importance cannot be overstated.
Knowing how to care for our aging community is becoming a more and more important topic of conversation. Greater numbers of people are aging together and consequently dying together, as a society we need to ask the hard questions that make that transition easier for everyone. This book discusses how and why it is vital to all our wellbeing, and does so in such a way that one's left wondering how we've got it so wrong for so long.

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Essential reading for health professionals everywhere.

Excellent thought provoking book. Written with sensitivity, compassion and wisdom. The writer, a doctor looks beyond ‘keeping alive at all costs’ and role of doctors as instructors rather than fellow travellers.
I hope that someone with the skill of Gawande will be around for me when it’s time to move on. Should be read with Sue Black’s book ‘All That Remains’. Now to read something lighter!

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Beautifully written

Beautiful written story narrated well. Elegantly crafts the story of how precious life, a good life can be honoured with a good death as defined by each person. Asks us to question who should be making these decisions at the end of a life and how we don’t quite have it right yet!

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A must for any physician and healthcare profession

It talks eloquently about how we view aging frailty and terminal illness as a profession and as society.

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worth reading

Hard won knowledge given with clarity.
Changed my attitude and actions immediately for the better.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 31-10-19

Fantastic book

Everyone has their thoughts on dying, and as it is something we will all face. This is a book we should all read!

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  • Andrew
  • 02-10-19

Comfort in care...

A must read for clinicians, carers and layman alike. A view of quality of life and dignity of end of life... Our mortality, approach to care and the respect that palliative care deserves.

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  • Hamza Van Der Ross
  • 24-07-19

Thought provoking about death, aging and medicine

An honest and thought provoking exploration of aging, dying and what means most to us in the end. Palliative care is not just a growing medical need but an inevitable aspect of our modern lives.

I am a doctor myself and I believe that this is a must read for all medical practitioners. The author very earnestly tries to examine truths that most doctors are too uncomfortable to acknowledge: the limits of modern medicine, the certainty of death and difficult conversations that we need to be having with our patients and loved ones.