Being Mortal: Atul Gawande’s Rx for How to End Our Lives – Facts So Romantic

Rose Lincoln / Harvard News Office

Atul Gawande sits across from me in a cafe in Berkeley, California, sipping an Izze fruit drink and trying to catch his breath. He just came from an appearance across the Bay, in San Francisco, and is soon headed to a radio interview down the street, followed by a drive via the Golden Gate Bridge to Marin County, where he’ll give a reading of his new book. Then it’s off to the airport for a red eye to Chicago, where he’ll start over again, perhaps a bit blearier in the eyes.

Gawande—a Harvard surgeon and researcher, New Yorker staff writer, and author of four highly acclaimed and best-selling books—is a man on an existential mission of sorts. His newest book, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, is his most ambitious project to date, tackling what perhaps is (though it may be hard to see during the worst Ebola outbreak in history), the thorniest medical and public-health question we have to face: What does it mean to live a good life, and is it worth sacrificing longevity for quality and meaning, even during our frailest or sickest years?

Q: You…
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