When Breath Becomes Air – Book Notes

When Breath Becomes Air
Paul Kalanithi and Abraham Verghese

Nabokov, for his awareness of how our suffering can make us callous to the obvious suffering of another.
LOCATION: 373

Literature not only illuminated another’s experience, it provided, I believed, the richest material for moral reflection.
LOCATION: 374

If the unexamined life was not worth living, was the unlived life worth examining?
LOCATION: 378

brains give rise to our ability to form relationships and make life meaningful. Sometimes, they break.
LOCATION: 440

this is how 99 percent of people select their jobs: pay, work environment, hours. But that’s the point. Putting lifestyle first is how you find a job—not a calling.)
LOCATION: 710

of time passing, then surgery felt like the opposite: the intense focus made the arms of the clock seem arbitrarily placed.
LOCATION: 1035

Lucy and I both felt that life wasn’t about avoiding suffering.
LOCATION: 1360

the defining characteristic of the organism is striving.
LOCATION: 1361

The privilege of direct experience had led me away from literary and academic work, yet now I felt that to understand my own direct experiences, I would have to translate them back into language. Hemingway described his process in similar terms: acquiring rich experiences, then retreating to cogitate and write about them. I needed words to go forward.
LOCATION: 1407

Because I would have to learn to live in a different way, seeing death as an imposing itinerant visitor but knowing that even if I’m dying, until I actually die, I am still living.
LOCATION: 1416

Moral duty has weight, things that have weight have gravity, and so the duty to bear mortal responsibility pulled me back into the operating room.
LOCATION: 1432

person. It grows from the relationships we create between each other and the world, and still it is never complete.
LOCATION: 1619