The Art of Dying Well: A Practical Guide to a Good End of Life by Katy Butler
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The Art of Dying Well: A Practical Guide to a Good End of Life

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  625 ratings  ·  144 reviews
A reassuring and thoroughly researched guide to maintaining a high quality of life—from resilient old age to the first inklings of a serious illness to the final breath—by the New York Times bestselling author of Knocking on Heaven’s Door.

The Art of Dying Well is about living as well as possible for as long as possible and adapting successfully to change. Packed with extra
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published February 19th 2019 by Scribner
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zoomball I'm a retired OT - clinician, educator and researcher over a 40 yr. career. My dog worked hospice as a "pet therapist" (here in Santa Barbara). I didn…moreI'm a retired OT - clinician, educator and researcher over a 40 yr. career. My dog worked hospice as a "pet therapist" (here in Santa Barbara). I didn't catch any errors. It is an excellent book.(less)

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As I get older and loved ones die, the question of a good death has become important to me. Not only to help those I love leave this life as peacefully as possible but also that my own death will be the same. I have read many books on death and dying but none has resonated with me as much as
The Art of Dying Well: A Practical Guide to a Good End of Life by Katy Butler. It is a practical guide to all stages of the stages of life and of dying. It is well organized and includes a glossary, resourc
Karen Ng
I, at the age of 56, suffered a massive stroke/brain bleed(ICH) that landed me in a coma and in an NRICU for almost two months. I miraculously survived, and on my way to most likely a full recovery. This incident ignited my interest in neuroscience, as well as Cognitive Reserve, and the art of being in control of our one's own death... especially now that the whole globe is aging.
An article I once read written by a Japanese MD suggested not to call an ambulance for your elders if they prefer a n
Mar 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: health
This is a book to own and have on hand. Even if you think you’re nowhere near the age to concern yourself about the manner of your death, the odds are overwhelming that someone you care for is or will be in the not very distant future. When that time comes this practical and thoughtful guide nearby will be invaluable. Much as I think “Being Mortal” was moving as was “When Breath Becomes Air” , this is the book that I would be likely to refer to time and again.
Jo Ann
May 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I cannot recommend this book enough. No, it may not be as "exciting" as that historical fiction book you can't wait to get your hands on, but it is marvelous. After finishing it, I've ordered it, as I want o take notes in the margins, copy, underline, have my husband read it, talk to my children about my hopes for my own and my loved ones' deaths. I have work to do...I need to sit and ponder and pray through some of the challenges in this book and ask myself some tough questions...but I am excit ...more
Katie Amatruda, PsyD, MFT, BCETS
Read The Art of Dying Well: A Practical Guide to a Good End of Life by Katy Butler if you’re going to die. Read it if you have aging parents or friends, to help guide them on the inevitable journey toward death. Read it if you have children, to prepare your dying so that they don’t have to make decisions that you can make. Read this book if you want practical tips on how to live better now so that you die better when it’s your time. Read this book if you don’t want to die in an Intensive Care Un ...more
Lisa Shultz
Feb 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: end-of-life
I was in the midst of reading Butler's first book, Knocking on Heaven's Door, the week before my dad died. It heavily influenced my thoughts and actions to not prolong my dad's suffering during his final days. Now I find myself with Butler's second book, The Art of Dying Well being published, as my mom reaches the end of her life. It is quite timely for me to understand the different stages my mother is navigating.

But The Art of Dying Well isn't just about one's parents. Most baby boomers are u
Mar 08, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: health-medicine
This is a good book. I totally agree with all the main points: death is best at home if feasible; all-holds-barred medical treatment is not always best; we need to make palliative and hospice care much more available; and we should be more knowledgeable and should make preparations for old age and death. I hope the book is a best seller. I liked it, but was mildly disappointed.

I like Katy Butler's writing, and I gave five stars to Knocking on Heaven's Door. But that was her own story. Here she
Apr 28, 2020 rated it liked it
Must preface by saying that I am a palliative care provider. An approachable book to learn about basic concepts & principals of palliative care which I think is worth knowing about PRIOR to major health catastrophe for yourself or even a loved one. I get frustrated about how little our society is exposed to death and how much death is feared as the worst possible medical outcome; death is a natural process that’s been so over-medicalized. A result of this phenomenon is that people are completely ...more
May 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
I was aware of much of the frustrating aspects of palliative and end-of-life care due to my career in oncology. I applaud Ms. Butler for her call-to-arms for all of us to push for Medicare/insurance reform to change to quality of life care and not the "do-everything-at-any-cost-until-the -very-end care". I believe this book should be given to every person at their first Medicare physical.
Aug 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I finished this book a day after the 3rd anniversary of my mom’s death. I wish I would have read this before she died. There is practical advice on navigating the healthcare system as it relates to long term and terminal illness. There are real life stories of how people met their deaths. There is information on how to help a loved one die a beautiful death. Remove machines, play music, open the windows, read a poem, sing, say a prayer are examples of this. I regret not doing this for my mom in ...more
Cheryl B
Nov 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a well researched and documented book. My sister and I read it while my dad was in hospice. I wish I had read it sooner but it will definitely help us with my mom and preparing for our own end of life.

I checked it out from the library and but since it contains so much reference information I will most likely purchase a copy for myself.
Alyssa Foll
May 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book lives up to its name -- a practical guide. Katy Butler has written a beautiful, practical book for the end-of-life. I especially love how she introduced each chapter as a different stage in the letting go / end-of-life process and used a checklist to identify markers of that stage.
I truly think this book will be a help to many people and their caregivers who are navigating our current healthcare system and what matters most at the end of life.
Kathleen Ambrose
Aug 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: end-of-life
I originally thought this was going to be another 5 star book on preparing for a Good Death, but something happened near the end of the book. And a little bit in the middle.

I like how the book’s chapters are oriented to “stages” of aging and dying, with ways to assess your current stage(s). The book gives many good pointers and lots of information on how to prepare for your’s or a loved one’s good death. Having read several books on this subject, I was delightfully surprised to find things that
Aug 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
This is one of those books that everyone should read. It's a page turner and it normalizes death in a way I personally never thought possible. It's mainly directed at older people, but even if you're still young, vibrant, healthy and well, and death is decades away - please read it. Do it.
Oct 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library
Let me start by saying, I am not dying, at least not any more than anybody else is. So why am I interested in this book. First, my parents died in the past five years, so death has been on my mind. Also my wife’s cousin recommended an article by the author, Katy Butler.

Is this book good? Yes. It is practical with lots of bullet point recommendations, along with many stories of those who faced death in various circumstances. Having said that, who is this book good for? It is aimed at those who ar
Angela Manchester
Dec 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book helped me process the death of my frail grandmother, as well as the death of a friend my age, who died of cancer. Some of it was detail-heavy on Medicare and the structure of the medical system. While this would be very helpful for many (and will certainly be a reference for me at some point), I benefited most from the stories and the frankness of the author on the physical dying process itself. Gawande's _Being Mortal_ was more engaging for me in some ways, but this is like the textbo ...more
This is a great resource, I made way too many notes to share from it. It made me cry in a good way, I'm hoping that I will be able to utilize all the information in the book when anyone I know is dying. I've been on a journey to figure out a good death for my family since my older children were young, because their pre-school teacher shared the story of a death she had witnessed with and it gave me a vision of what could be different for loved ones. We all can benefit from changing the health sy ...more
Fr. River
Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Art of Dying Well: A Practical Guide to the End of Life

By Katy Butler

Katy Butler presents a great book on preparing for our deaths early, and how we can die well. In our society many do not see death very often. One funeral director told me that more and more people simply pay for the disposal of remains and do not come for a memorial service. We are a death denying society. Butler seeks to bring us to facing death, and preparing for death. She offers the following advice:

1. Have a vision. I
Apr 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Don't postpone JOY.. what a great saying to live by.

Learn the truth about your chances.

Do what you want.... think what you think...

Be who you really are.

It is more important to leave love ones in shape...

Write notes, let them know what you want..

roll things easily and accept that there is no Hail Mary... not at the end of this game.

I will be purchasing this as a book so that my son will have it.

Happy Reading!
Judy Goldman
Mar 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir
I've now read this book twice. I've also read all the portions I underlined aloud to my husband. I'll bet you'll do the same. Extremely useful, clear, wise, well-written book for everyone, regardless of your age or stage in life. Highly recommend.
Apr 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Extremely practical
Jun 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
I like the way this book divided aging/illness into stages with information for each. It's a complementary book to "Being Mortal" or "At Peace".
Jul 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I downloaded the audiobook from the library. It had such good ideas and resources, I decided to buy it in print. I was also a fan of her first book. The author reads the audiobook.
May 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book was more prescriptive than I assumed. It breaks down the chapters by stages of life, and what to do in each chapter in order to have “a good death”. I expected the book to be more like Being Mortal or When Breath Becomes Air, but it was a good book nevertheless - and very actionable
Aaron Terrazas
Apr 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Very practical
Apr 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
My father died in a nursing home; my mother died in her home, having set the conditions for how she wanted die. I prefer the latter, which is why I am drawn to books about (as this author calls it) the art of dying well. It is a handy "practical guide to a good end of life."

As I am not in this phase of life, most of the book does not currently pertain, causing me to chuckle at the start of most chapters. Katy Butler begins chapters with "you are likely to find this chapter useful if…" followed b
Mary Worley
Jun 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
This is an excellent reference for the over 55 crowd. I will be purchasing a copy to keep.
Marcy Graybill
Aug 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
I had a little health scare. I'm fine now, but I'm of an age that I have to remember I'm becoming old.
I went to see my doctor and she recommended this book. She knows I'm a reader, but was a little concerned about me becoming offended. I wasn't I thought it was interesting and informative. Butler brings in people's stories to make the information more palatable. She discusses the importance of remaining active, of having a DNR and Living Will, options for those people who are no longer able to d
May 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
A very thoughtful well written book. It gave me several things to think about now, and a desire to revisit this book in 10 years or so.
Soleil Sadler
Feb 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Excellent resource. Will read again
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