Being Mortal - Atul Gawande

Being Mortal

By Atul Gawande

  • Release Date: 2014-10-07
  • Genre: Social Science
Score: 4.5
From 1,027 Ratings


In Being Mortal, bestselling author Atul Gawande tackles the hardest challenge of his profession: how medicine can not only improve life but also the process of its ending

Medicine has triumphed in modern times, transforming birth, injury, and infectious disease from harrowing to manageable. But in the inevitable condition of aging and death, the goals of medicine seem too frequently to run counter to the interest of the human spirit. Nursing homes, preoccupied with safety, pin patients into railed beds and wheelchairs. Hospitals isolate the dying, checking for vital signs long after the goals of cure have become moot. Doctors, committed to extending life, continue to carry out devastating procedures that in the end extend suffering.

Gawande, a practicing surgeon, addresses his profession's ultimate limitation, arguing that quality of life is the desired goal for patients and families. Gawande offers examples of freer, more socially fulfilling models for assisting the infirm and dependent elderly, and he explores the varieties of hospice care to demonstrate that a person's last weeks or months may be rich and dignified.
Full of eye-opening research and riveting storytelling, Being Mortal asserts that medicine can comfort and enhance our experience even to the end, providing not only a good life but also a good end.


  • Being Mortal

    By Pamla J.W.
    This book should be required reading, for everyone ! Thank you Doctor, for bringing a human perspective and beauty back into the difficult questions that surround the end of human life.
  • Brilliant

    By LarVerBar
    A most important message, perfectly written.
  • Lives up to the high expectations

    By fxcastellanos16
    Moving, thoughtful, honest and important.
  • Life changing

    By Bjmedd
    I am not one to read books such as this. I don't read much of anything for that matter. This book touched my life in such a profound way. The death of my mother, my own mortality, and those who are institutionalized not having control over their lives just because of disability or aging. The over treatment of those who are desperate and needing guidance from our medical establishments *must* be rethought; people and their goals of what makes their lives important must be the number one consideration in end of life or terminal illness decisions. I cannot say enough about this book and I believe EVERYONE would benefit from reading it. But it should be mandatory reading for those who are in any medical field or work in nursing homes and for those who are elderly and those with terminal illness. Thank you for writing such a beautiful, life changing book.
  • Thought provoking. Things that must be considered.

    By Johnawc
    This is not a book to hurry through. It is very well written and it draws you in. However, the reader is best served by slowing down and taking time to chew on the thoughts in each chapter rather than compressing many ideas together. There is quite a bit to think about, plan for and ponder in this book. There are many things that are actionable in advance, but most importantly, there is a guide for thinking about the final months weeks and days of one's life. Sorting what is a priority and possible from nice to have and fantasy requires thought and a good framework is presented here.
  • Being Mortal

    By MissMocha2011
    This book is a must read. I felt that Dr Gawande was speaking directly to me. My brother in law past away this past August after a month in the hospital and then three days at home on Hospice. Hospice was such a great support and I don't know what we would have done without their support. I also have a very close friend recently diagnosed with Renal Cancer and they will be experiencing many of the issues addressed in this book in the coming months or years. I have already downloaded samples of Dr Gawande's other two books.
  • Historical Book

    By Bucktrapper
    This is one of those books that will be viewed as a turning point in the human psyche on how we live and die. I have lived through some of the scenarios Atul described, (being a cancer survivor), which brings it so close to home.
  • Being Mortal

    By DLG49
    An amazing book that everyone should read. It was a soft pull into the reality of mortality and an inspiring guide of the journey we must all take. Thank you for writing this and sharing the many insights.
  • Read This Book

    By Sada55
    As a hospice nurse I watch these struggles of aging daily. A thought full book that gives me pause and helps me appreciate the unknown ahead of each of us and the choices we will face.
  • Important

    By 4488662
    The book represents a vital piece of the conversations everyone should be having and how we all define health and health care. I urge those in the real estate industry to eliminate the question on a seller's disclosure statement if someone has died in the home being sold. The question implies a very negative occurrence when in fact it is something we all strive for.