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Summary of Being Mortal 

What’s inside

Unveil the reality of dying and understand how to accept it. Discover a new way of looking at mortality to make the most out of life from this moment on.

Key points


Coming to terms with the receding curtains of life

In medical school, Atul Gawande and his classmates rarely talked about mortality and how people experience death. After all, medical school aims to teach students to prevent premature death, not to expect it.

From his student years, Atul Gawande recalls exploring mortality during a discussion of The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy. It is a story about a lively, intelligent man who suffers a significant injury, which leads him to depression. He felt that people around him weren’t giving him the support he needed because they couldn’t accept the possibility of his demise. Most of us think we’d be able to show compassion, but facing mortality can be quite shocking.

Modern scientific discoveries in medicine have proven pivotal in the contemporary realities of human life. Longevity has become a thing, and people are trying to make the best of their lives instead of simply surviving. However, this scientific enlightenment has put human aging and dying into the hands of medical professionals.

The reality of death often seems almost mystical due to the enigmatic nature of the final stage of human life. Alongside other societal changes, the final moments of life have also undergone a huge transformation. For example, as far back as 1945, it was customary for most people to take their last breath at home. Fast forward to the 1980s, and only a meager 17% were privileged to die within familiar walls, with many dying in hospitals.
Humans gravitate toward familiarity. The loving embrace of home can help you find solace even during stressful times.
Do you want to learn more about what awaits us in the twilight years and how to conquer the fear of an impending end? S tick around to find out how modern medicine changed our view of death and how to accept our finitude without fear.

In pursuit of an independent life

Recently, older adults seem less emotional about their children leaving to start their own lives. Historians believe the older generations are better off economically and seldom unhappy going about the rest of their lives in relative seclusion.
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The natural degenerative tendencies of health


Dependency is inevitable in old age


Understanding and adjusting to the impending realities of death


Courage is the key to coping with an impending end



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You’ll learn

How medicine has vastly transformed the aging process
The modern view of mortality
Why and how we age
Priorities in the face of impending death

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