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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

What listeners say about Being Mortal

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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.

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I got a new perspective of medicine.

I read it over a couple of weeks. It's a highly inspiring and, at times, emotional book. The narrator is a great story teller.

1 person found this helpful

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Required reading

Everyone should listen to this book, explores in depth the conflicts of medicine for the final years of a persons life.

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Astonishing

Wonderfully written. It reaffirms the importance for yourself, your loved ones and for health care professionals to talk about death.

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thought provoking

interesting well balanced book. sad in places and thought provoking to the very end.

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a must read

I am a health care professional. interesting evidence and patient stories to illustrate his points. a book which has had a significanr effect on me. I am looking at life and out approach to aging and cancer with fresh eyes. fabulous book

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Really insightful

Loved it start to finish. A really insightful book about our approach to end of life and ageing.

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profound quality listen

loved it! searching, emotional, informative, thought provoking. we all die one day so we all need to think about that approaching - this book really helps

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awesome book

The book is so insightful and is really a useful guide to the most difficult of topics. I can't recommend it enough. It is one those books that just flows so well for audible. It is well read and so on.

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Interesting perspectives on growing old and death

I enjoyed Atul's take on this and I imagine could open a dialogue in many families. As a doctor myself I didn't find any new information (think palliative care in the UK is more common than the USA by the sound of it) but still interesting to read and think about how to frame end of life conversations.

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  • Swathi Eashwer
  • 14-07-20

A must-read for everyone. EVERYONE.

There are very few books that I'd categories as must reads for everyone. This book is certainly one of them.

We are all going to make end of life choices - maybe for ourselves but likely also for our loved ones. Gawande uses well narrated stories to help readers step into the shoes of those making end of life decisions - both good and bad decisions are explained in a way that highlights what's truely important and how easy it is to be guided by fear and sqander the precious opportunity for a good end to a life well lived.

This book addresses this very difficult topic with sensitivity, clarity and clear headed objectivity. Death is inevitable. In today's world terminal illness is increasingly a common precursor to it. We all need to learn how to handle this extremely important period of our lives better. This book will start the right conversations.

It is not an easy listen though - I found myself in tears at multiple parts. But it's certainly a worthwhile read.

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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.