May 7, 2018

Book Recommendation- Being Mortal - Atul Gawande

Atul Gawande is an American surgeon and writer. He begins this book with a very interesting and important question- 'How long should we go on prolonging life?'. While the subject itself might sound morbid, Atul takes us through real life cases of patients with terminal illness and builds his case very positively and convincingly.

The main theme of his philosophy in tackling this important question is 'autonomy'. He defines autonomy as the ability of a person to live life as per his/her terms. Atul uses live research in support of his thesis. I'm just listing some of his findings (this is from memory and not comprehensive)-

1. We define 'living' as our ability to make choices (however trivial!). We generally prefer to increase our choices rather than reduce them. 
2. We make better decisions when we know and prepare for the worst outcome. More specifically we should not focus decisions only on the best outcome.
3. We need to look at probabilities before taking decisions. 
4. We also need to look at the 'outcomes' of these probabilities. Quite often we find that in the blind pursuit of saving 'life' we get in to outcomes where the patient might actually not have 'much of a life' after treatment.

I found this book very insightful and useful not just from a general life perspective but also in the way I approach Wealth Management and my interactions with my clients and colleagues (both seniors and juniors). I would recommend this book to anyone who's struggling with philosophical questions such as- "What is life?", "What does it mean to live?", "What does it mean to live life well?" and others.   

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