Being Mortal : Illness, Medicine and What Matters in the End, Hardback

Being Mortal : Illness, Medicine and What Matters in the End Hardback

Part of the Wellcome series

4.5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


New York Times Number One bestseller Longlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize 2014 In Being Mortal, Gawande examines his experiences as a surgeon, as he confronts the realities of aging and dying in his patients and in his family, as well as the limits of what he can do. And he emerges with story that crosses the globe and history, exploring questions that range from the curious to the profound: What happens to people's teeth as they get old?

Did human beings really commit senecide, the sacrifice of the elderly?

Why do the aged so dread nursing homes and hospitals?

How should someone give another person the dreadful news that they will die?

This is a story told only as Atul Gawande can - penetrating people's lives and also the systems that have evolved to govern our mortality.

Those systems, he observes, routinely fail to serve - or even acknowledge - people's needs and priorities beyond mere survival. And the consequences are devastating lives, families, and even whole economies.

But, as he reveals, it doesn't have to be this way. Atul Gawande has delivered an engrossing tale of science, history and remarkable characters in the vein of Oliver Sacks. Published in partnership with the Wellcome Collection, a free visitor destination that explores the connections between medicine, life and art.

Atul Gawande will deliver this year's BBC Radio 4 Reith Lectures on the subject of The Future of Medicine.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Profile Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Popular science
  • ISBN: 9781846685811



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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

Not quite the book about coping with mortality that I was expecting, but an interesting and thought provoking analysis of what matters to people who are approaching death.

Review by

Powerful and poignant, thought-provoking, Atul Gawande's book examines issues surrounding care of the frail and dependent elderly and at the end-of-life. Several key learning points: needing the courage to conduct hard conversations, with our loved ones, about what we or they truly want as they approach the end of life; whether we can love and respect them enough to respect their choices and let them go.

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