In this episode, Adam and Thane record their first book review episode. And what a book to talk about!

When Breath Becomes Air is the story of Paul Kalanithi – a man who was fascinated with the pursuit of finding meaning in life. He began his journey to find life’s meaning in literature and human intellect. After seeing the fallacy of all knowledge and no experience, he redirected into the medical field (and specifically neurosurgery) in order to experience suffering and death firsthand. Near the end of his residency, he was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer, drastically changing his life from that point forward. He wrote this book during the remaining time he had left before passing away in March of 2015.

This book is a powerful depiction of what a purposeful and intentional life looks like. He displays amazing courage and honor by living a life of ceaseless striving, even when it seemed hopeless.


“If the unexamined life was not worth living, was the unlived life worth examining?”  – Paul Kalanithi

“I think that’s what his life really exemplified is striving. Incessant striving towards, whether it be the meaning of life, whether it be perfection within an impossible field as neurosurgery, whether it be facing patients in the medical field and seeing them as humans instead of patients; there are so many ways that it’s exemplified.”  – Thane Ringler

“Human knowledge is never contained in one person. It grows from the relationships we create between each other and the world, and still it is never complete. And Truth comes somewhere above all of them.”  – Paul Kalanithi

“He knew God in the face of his daughter. And he was able to see the transcendence of God in His Love through the love of his wife and his daughter. And those are the eyes that you can’t buy. But those are the eyes that suffering can give, that literature can give, that yearning after wisdom can give. Those are the eyes of a person living ‘the good life’.”  – Adam Setser

“If we lived under the reality of death, it would change how we live.”  – Thane Ringler

“Paul is a man who lived a life of winning. And he inspired me to do the same.”  – Adam Setser

Show Notes:

When Breath Becomes Air – by Paul Kalanithi


4:00 – Intro For Topic At Hand
9:00 – Goals For The Episode
11:10 – Overview and Review of the Book
36:40 – Pursuing the Meaning of Life