For most of human history, death was a common, ever-present possibility. It didn't matter whether you were five or fifty - every day was a roll of the dice. But now, as medical advances push the boundaries of survival further each year, we have become increasingly detached from the reality of being mortal. So here is a book about the modern experience of mortality - about what it's like to get old and die, how medicine has changed this and how it hasn't, where our ideas about death have gone wrong. With his trademark mix of perceptiveness and sensitivity, Atul Gawande outlines a story that crosses the globe, as he examines his experiences as a surgeon and those of his patients and family, and learns to accept the limits of what he can do. Never before has aging been such an important topic. The systems that we have put in place to manage our mortality are manifestly failing; but, as Gawande reveals, it doesn't have to be this way. The ultimate goal, after all, is not a good death, but a good life - all the way to the very end. Published in partnership with the Wellcome Collection, a free visitor destination that explores the connections between medicine, life and art.
Atul Gawande is the author of three previous bestselling books: Complications, a finalist for the National Book Award; Better, selected by Amazon.com as one of the ten best books of 2007; and The Checklist Manifesto. His current book, Being Mortal, was a New York Times Bestseller. He is also a surgeon at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, a staff writer for the New Yorker, and a professor at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health. He has won the Lewis Thomas Prize for Writing about Science, a MacArthur Fellowship, and two National Magazine Awards. In 2014, he delivered the BBC Reith Lectures. In his work in public health, he is director of Ariadne Labs, a joint centre for health system innovation, and chairman of Lifebox, a nonprofit organisation making surgery safer globally. He and his wife have three children and live in Newton, Massachusetts.