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Genevieve Gaudet suggested I read Tracy Kidder's Mountains Beyond Mountains.  I'm so mad she didn't tell me to read it earlier!  But at least she did buy it for me.

The book chronicles the life of Dr. Paul Farmer, an extraordinarily compassionate anthropologist and doctor.  Farmer has devoted his life completely and in an uncommon way to bringing medicine to people without it.

Please read the book.

Paul believes something that would confound my brother Moiz and avid Ayn Rand fans--that the poor should get preferential treatment for medical care for being poor.

An excerpt from the book--a letter from Ophelia Dahl to Paul.  I like this letter so much because it hints at how uncommon Paul's devotion to his cause is.

Lovely Pel,

        My inability to promise a life with you, as your wife, does not stem from a lack of love or deep, deep commitment to you.  Indeed, as you probably know, I have not felt a serious ounce for anyone but you since 1983.  My decision was based, instead, on trying to envision our life together and I saw us not matching (the only way we didn't fit).  For a long time I thought I could live and work in Haiti, carving out a life with you, but now I understand that I can't.  And that's simply not compatible with your life--the life you once told me you would like to lead even ten years ago.  You pointed out to me once, during an emotional argument, that the qualities I love in you--that drew me to you--also cause me to resent you: namely your unswerving commitment to the poor, your limitless schedule and your massive compassion for others.  You were right, and, as your wife, I would place my own emotional needs in the way of your important vision; a vision whose impact upon the poor (and the rest of us) can't be exaggerated...

        I was lucky to meet you when I was young, young enough to feel as though I have always known you and lucky to have been hugely influenced and loved by you.  In the end, I hope you know that as part of my histology you can never be replaced.


I tried to find a YouTube video that did this book and Paul Farmer's achievements justice.  But I couldn't.  This video is the closest I could find.  Paul Farmer on NPR's This I Believe (click here to share this video):


P.S. I'm not sure what publisher allowed this amazing book to have both such a horrible title and horrible cover.  Please fix this in your reprinting, Mr. Schuster. 

"I'm going to build my own fucking hospital.  And there'll be none of that there, thank you."

"I was fully formed at twenty-three."

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