Reading Room

Mountains Beyond MountainsSo I can’t show you how, exactly, health care is a basic human right. But what I can argue is that no one should have to die of a disease that is treatable. –Paul Farmer

Mountains Beyond Mountains
by Tracy Kidder | Random House

Tracy Kidder is a winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the author of several bestsellers, one of which is a perennial favorite of mine, Mountains Beyond Mountains the Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World.

At the heart of this book is the example of a life based on hope, and on an understanding of the truth of the Haitian proverb “Beyond mountains there are mountains”: as you solve one problem, another problem presents itself, and so you go on and try to solve that one too.

At the center of Mountains Beyond Mountains, stands Paul Farmer. Doctor, Harvard professor, renowned infectious-disease specialist, anthropologist, the recipient of a MacArthur “genius” grant, world-class Robin Hood and over-achiever extraordinaire, Farmer was brought up in a bus and on a boat, and in medical school found his life’s calling: to diagnose and cure infectious diseases and to bring the lifesaving tools of modern medicine to those who need them most.

This amazing book shows how radical change can be advanced in situations that seem insurmountable, and how a meaningful life can be created, as Farmer-brilliant, charismatic, charming, both a leader in international health and a doctor who finds time to make house calls in Boston and the mountains of Haiti-blasts through convention to get results.

I keep this book on my desk to remind myself that whenever I think I can’t achieve my goals that I am in fact just whining and I need to get over myself– “mountains beyond mountains”.

Paul Farmer wants to change the world. Certainly this luminous and powerful book has changed the way I see it.

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