Paul Kalanithi lives on, even after death.
The Indian-American doctor has found a new admirer in Microsoft founder Bill Gates who has said that he was moved to tears by Kalanthi’s memoirs, ‘When Breath Becomes Air’ – a poignant tale of a man who was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer in 2013 and passed away two years later.
“It’s an amazing book. I was super touched by it…In fact, I can say this is the best nonfiction story I’ve read in a long time... I’m usually not one for tear-jerkers about death and dying…But this book definitely earned my admiration—and tears,” Gates wrote in a review of the book.
Kalanithi died in March 2015 before he could finish his book and ‘When Breath Becomes Air’ was published ten months later. It stayed on the New York Times bestseller list for the rest of the year.
Gates warns readers against being put off by the sad theme and highlights other aspects of the book that drew him to it.
“I was also drawn in by Kalanithi’s eloquent writing...This short book has so many layers of meaning and so many interesting juxtapositions—life and death, patient and doctor, son and father, work and family, faith and reason...”
Gates is certain that he would pick the book again to read.
“I don’t know how Kalanithi found the physical strength to write this book while he was so debilitated by the disease and then potent chemotherapy. But I’m so glad he did.”
Kalanithi, whose wife Lucy is also a doctor, was just 15 months away from being a trained neurosurgeon when he died.
Kalanithi had degrees in human biology, English Literature, and history and philosophy of science and medicine from Cambridge and Stanford Universities before he graduated from Yale School of Medicine.