Paul Kalanithi’s When Breath Becomes Air

How little do doctors know the hells through which we put patients.

Paul Kalanithi was completing his residency as a neurosurgeon, and was diagnosed with Stage IV Lung Cancer, and his dream life was immediately put on hold. In his book When Breath Becomes Air, he deftly discusses life, love, and the meaning of loss. It also explores the balance between patient and doctor, and how each perspective can teach you about the importance of both.

His understanding of life and his lifelong quest to find meaning in life and how our brains and bodies shape our experience is fascinating and heartwarming. It is a beautifully written book, one that captures the pain of a dream life being taken away and understanding how to prepare for death. I have not read a book that was as emotional since Tuesdays with Morrie, and if that is not enough to recommend this I do not know what is. This is an important read and one that you will not regret.

Tyler Cowen’s An Economist Gets Lunch

Food is a product of economic supply and demand, so try to figure out where the supplies are fresh, the suppliers are creative, and the demanders are informed.

Tyler Cowen’s book An Economist Gets Lunch is an enjoyable introduction to economic principles and how it relates to food. Cowen is a economics professor at George Mason, and has his own wonderful blog entitled Marginal RevolutionHe has written dozens of books and has been an important voice in economics for the past decade.

In this book Tyler explores the history of food and why he believes it is in crisis, and explores how we can use basic economics to get the most out of our eating experience. Some of my favorite rules are why you should always eat on a street instead of an avenue in New York, why fighting patrons are a good sign, and how changing our supermarket experience can change our diets for the better. This book is a wonderful read, full of history, economics, and above all food. If you are looking for an introduction into economics or a guide to the mind of Tyler Cowen, this is a great place to start.