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Daily Nuggets: A For Impact Blog

For Impact Reading: Being Mortal


Atul Gawande - Being Mortal

I’ve made Atul Gawande’s ‘Being Mortal’ required reading for our For Impact coaches.

Typically we share books with our team that relate to health/vitality, personal development, story, design/innovation, coaching/leading and sales. This book gets some of the highest marks I could offer in the first three categories.

Atul Gawande is a surgeon, contributing writer to New Yorker, and the best-selling author of ‘Better’ and ‘Checklist Manifesto’ (a book that’s as much about changing culture in health care as it is about checklists).

I resisted ‘Being Mortal’ because I thought it would be tough and depressing. After seeing the book appear on EVERY year-end ‘best of’ list, I downloaded it and couldn’t put the book down.

  • Everyone on our team has dealt with or is dealing with figuring out how to care for a parent / grandparent.
  • Atul Gawande offers a simple history of healthcare in the states (Chapter 3).
  • We all age. (This is the most certain bullet points I’ve ever composed.)
  • This is, in many ways, an ultimate book about STORY and WHY. The story of family, the story of medicine, the story of living, the story of YOU.
  • This book will be something everyone in healthcare ends up reading. (About 20% of our work is in health / healthcare.)

The book explores a change in perspective through some gripping storytelling. So I think the book has importance not only because of my points above, but also because it relates to the work we do actively trying to change the dominant perspective of the ‘not-for-profit’ sector.
 

Gawande writes:“The problem with medicine and the institutions it has spawned for the care of the sick and the old is not that they have had an incorrect view of what makes life significant. The problem is that they have had almost no view at all…”