The Best Books of 2014
How should we handle dying? We know how we do handle it, which is to say that we deny it, avoid it, try to prevent it and push it off with whatever technological advances we have at our disposal. Atul Gawande, a doctor and professor at Harvard Medical School, advocates for a more forthright—and arguably more humane—approach, one that requires us to rethink our hospital and healthcare system and try out new practices, such as stocking nursing homes with dogs, cats and parakeets. Using examples from his own practice and family, he reveals how necessary and life-improving a conversation about death can be, once it's finally had—not just at home but as a society. "I learned a lot of things in medical school," he admits on page one, "but mortality wasn't one of them."