Summary, Analysis, and Review of Paul Kalanithi's When Breath Becomes Air PLEASE NOTE: This is a key takeaways and analysis of the book and NOT the original book. Start Publishing Notes' Summary, Analysis, and Review of Paul Kalanithi's When Breath Becomes Air includes a summary of the book, review, analysis & key takeaways, and a detailed About the Author section. PREVIEW: Dr. Paul Kalanithi's When Breath Becomes Air is an autobiographical account of his experience with Stage IV lung cancer. Part memoir, part guidebook, and part philosophical investigation, it is the story of his life, his work, and the difficult-but ultimately rewarding-process of coming to terms with his own death. The tragic ironies of Kalanithi's situation-a non-smoker with lung cancer, a young man with an aggressive terminal illness, a talented surgeon who fell ill before he could realize his potential, a new father whose daughter will never know him-could not pull at readers' heartstrings more if it had been engineered in a lab.