Being Mortal - Atul Gawande

Being Mortal

By Atul Gawande

  • Release Date: 2014-10-07
  • Genre: Social Science
Score: 4.5
From 1,336 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.


  • Thought provoking

    By fewcando
  • 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.
  • Being Mortal

    By Archie's boy
    Grim but crucial reading. Goes deeply into matters that most Americans are frightened to even mention among family members. Prepares us for when life comes to its end.
  • Being Mortal

    By 062856
    An outstanding book that opened my eyes to life, death and the choices we make in between. Read it for yourself and all you love. Especially your aging parents as they meet the crossroads of aging, disease and choices to make along the way.
  • Ms

    By FeelingGreyt
    I have spoken to family about the resuscitate/do not resuscitate and similar end of life decisions. But, had never thought about or understood the importance of the questions that might lead up to making those decisions. Introducing me to those questions, with real life examples of there ultimate impact on the lives of those left to make the final end of life decisions, is why I gave this book a five stars.
  • 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.
  • Simple but brilliant!

    By Alisonmaryxx
    Dr. Gawande has captured the essence of life and death and how doctors,families and patients can and will make their last days stand out and be remembered as fulfilling not dreadful.