Title: Being Mortal
Authors: Gawande, Atul
Genre: Non Fiction
Pages: 282
Year: 2014
Language: English
Description: According to Benjamin Franklin, 'in this world nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes'. In this book American surgeon Atul Gawande addresses the first of these certainties and the death that awaits us all. Beginning with the history of residential care for the elderly and moving on to the issue of medical intervention, this is a thought-provoking analysis presenting these issues in an open and easy to read style.

Confronting the harsh realities of our mortality, this book is a springboard into examining our attitudes and expectations for our eventual demise, well supported by research and the author's professional and personal experiences in USA and India.
Categories: Non fiction, Medical/Health, Morals/Ethics, Philosophy, Social commentary/perspectives, What's Hot, Popular Book with Groups, 2017 Titles


[Please log in to write a review]
By: TAUP 010 2021-09-09 08:18:06
Depressing. Not all of us finished it. Far too much detail. Most of the group gave it a low score.

By: AUCK 255 2020-08-19 12:03:24
A must read to better understand and prepare for end of life. Written with sensitivity and honesty, with excellent case examples. Should be compulsory reading for anyone involved in caring for the elderly.

By: WHITBY 005 2020-06-15 15:00:41
Age appropriate for our group! Enjoyed by most members. Engendered animated discussion on a topic not everyone had seen as an essential preparation for their own end of life. Recommended for everyone who enjoys a bit of forward thinking. This is a well written engaging book.

By: WELL 189 2020-02-10 13:54:29
Fascinating. 1 of us is specifically interested in aging, elder care and systems having watched as her grandma moved from independent living, to nursing home care and finally, passed away. This book challenges us to rethink the way we view, discuss and approach aging, terminal illness and growing debility towards the end of life. In some senses it raises more questions – how are we doing in NZ to make sure that our older and unwell people’s last days are good days? What might good days look like for me when I reach that time of life? Highly recommended.

By: MOTUE 003 2019-07-05 14:01:04
A thoughtful, insightful and deeply depressing book. Well-written and researched, covering subject matter this reader would rather not acknowledge, preferring instead to remain ostrich like with head firmly in the sand and derriere jauntily saluting the sun, tail feathers waving nonchalantly in the air!

By: CHCH 299 2019-06-22 11:59:51
This book covers the aging process and the care of the elderly. Most of us found some parts of this book challenging, particularly those who have had elderly parents in care. But we also found it an interesting book which raised many questions and it was a good discussion book.

By: AUCK 037 2018-09-03 14:52:46
An important and timely read. Discussion centred on how the author handled the topic of dying, with many examples and anecdotes to illustrate his points about the over-medicalization of death in the West and first world countries. It made for fascinating, but at times grim reading. Yet we all agreed that it had opened our eyes to what we need to think about and prepare for.

By: WELL 007 2018-09-03 14:45:35
Whilst we thought that this book raised important issues and was very insightful, most of us thought there was too much detail - especially with the case studies. And several of us skipped some passages in the book because of this.

By: AUCK 063 2018-09-03 14:42:50
Scored very highly by our group. Especially by those who had not been as challenged with the deaths or dying of close ones. A very readable and informative look at the positives of preparing for, and managing the end of life. Confronting, but kind - and necessary!

By: CHCH 393 2018-09-03 14:40:26
An amazing book. We could all relate to it from different experiences with elderly family members. An enlightening, empowering and thought provoking account. The case histories really brought it to life. A must read!

By: CHCH 320 2018-09-03 14:38:44
"Challenging", Depressing", "Dreadful", and "Educational" were just some of the gamut of response elicited by this book. Many of us would NOT have chosen to read this book off the library shelf. However the subject matter is very important. One member even went as far as to recommend that 'Being Mortal' should be compulsory read for al "gold cardholders" and their partners and families. Emotion, melancholy, loss, hurt, tears and other deeply personal thoughts were shared during our discussion. The wine certainly tasted sweet after such a harrowing experience.

By: CHCH 420 2018-09-03 14:25:43
We really enjoyed this and it generated a lot of discussion about free choice, medical procedures and how these decisions are coloured by our own experiences and beliefs.

By: TIMARU 019 2018-04-27 11:11:32
Excellent book. Good discussion. Everyone should read it. Highly recommended.

By: TE AWAMUTU 005 2018-04-27 11:10:14
What a wonderful book. A book everyone should read and then start family 'talks'.

By: CHCH 282 2018-04-27 11:08:52
We all felt this was the most worthwhile and thought-provoking book ever. Challenging to many, and should be compulsory reading for all carers of the elderly. Many in the group are talking to family and taking action to make their old age meaningful - all as a result of reading this book.

By: WAIPUK 001 2018-04-27 11:06:19
An excellent discussion book for those who are looking for more than a light read. Challenging, confronting, encouraging and depressing. Discussion was great.

By: AUCK 240 2018-04-27 11:03:57
Excellent book. Catalyst for great discussion. Highly recommended.

By: AUCK 226 2018-04-27 11:02:59
We all enjoyed this fascinating book. Lots of moments of, "Of course, this makes perfect sense". It's time to rethink our priorities as a western society.

By: AUCK 016 2018-04-27 10:24:34
We found the book very valuable and inspirational. Several plan to purchase the book and discuss it with their families.

By: CHCH 088 2018-04-27 10:21:35
Very interesting book, well-written and a lively discussion. Very thought-provoking!

The Book Discussion 
Scheme is a member of the Federation of Workers Educational Associations in Aotearoa New Zealand
BDS is a member of the Federation of Workers Educational Associations