No Cure for Being Human Book Summary - No Cure for Being Human Book explained in key points
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No Cure for Being Human summary

Kate Bowler

(and Other Truths I Need to Hear)

4 (250 ratings)
32 mins

Brief summary

No Cure for Being Human by Kate Bowler is a memoir about her battle with cancer and the search for meaning in a world where bad things happen to good people. It offers poignant insights into the human experience and the importance of community in times of crisis.

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    No Cure for Being Human
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    A meltdown in the hospital gift shop.

    As a rule, hospital gift shops are stocked with scrupulously inoffensive wares. Think tasteful potted plants, greeting cards with euphemistic messages about “recovery,” and books of the uplifting, spiritual variety.

    So why is Kate Bowler standing in the gift shop of a North Carolina hospital, wearing a baggy cotton hospital gown and trailing her IV drip behind her, surrounded by a pile of books she has plucked from the shop’s shelves? And why is she, in no uncertain terms, telling the nonplussed teenage shop assistant that these books are inappropriate – no, outright offensive – reading material for a hospital gift shop? 

    The reason Kate is in the hospital is written clearly on her chart. After suffering through months of unexplained abdominal pain, nausea, and dramatic weight loss, Kate has at long last been diagnosed – with cancer. And it’s a particularly horrible form of cancer: Kate has stage four colon cancer. Her colon is riddled with tumors that have spread to her liver. The survival rate for this scenario is hardly promising, at 14 percent. And even that word, survival, is a bit of a misnomer; of the fourteen percent who do “survive,” most only live another two years. Despite her young age and her – until now – good health, Kate is living on borrowed time.

    The reason she’s causing a scene in the hospital gift shop isn’t so immediately apparent. But if we take a look at the books she’s pulled from the shelves, it all starts to come into focus. They’re all Christian best-sellers, and they’re mostly written by those who preach the prosperity gospel. 

    The prosperity gospel teaches that if you serve God faithfully, you’ll reap the rewards: health, wealth, and happiness. This sounds simple enough, but scratch the surface of this superficially uplifting ideology and you’ll find a more sinister subtext. If God rewards those who have faith in Him, then those who suffer must have brought it upon themselves. If you’re poor, or sad, or sick, the thinking goes, your faith must be lacking. If you have stage four colon cancer, the thinking goes, then it’s your fault. 

    Kate’s a Christian herself, but she’s always found the teachings of the prosperity gospel antithetical to her own open-hearted, empathic, and accepting form of Christianity. And as a professor of the history of Christianity in North America, she’s spent a lot of time critiquing not just the prosperity gospel, but the broader industries of wellness and self-help that peddle the same essential idea: that, through a series of choices and behaviors, you can not only control your life, you can perfect it. You can avoid pain and suffering and misfortune altogether. Living your “best life” is within your grasp.

    Now, of course, her issue with the idea of the best life isn’t purely academic. It’s personal.

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    What is No Cure for Being Human about?

    No Cure for Being Human (2021) is the thoughtful chronicle of Kate Bowler’s attempts to make the most of her life after a brutal cancer diagnosis at only 35. Part memoir, part critique of the widespread obsession with positivity, No Cure for Being Human is a poignant dispatch from the fragile border between life and death.

    No Cure for Being Human Review

    No Cure for Being Human (2022) explores the universal human experience of pain, suffering, and the search for meaning. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It offers deep insights into the human condition, addressing topics like mortality, resilience, and the complexities of existence.
    • Through vulnerable personal stories and thought-provoking anecdotes, the book allows readers to connect with the author's experiences and reflect on their own lives.
    • By blending humor, honesty, and raw emotion, the author creates a captivating narrative that keeps readers engaged and ensures that the journey of self-reflection is far from boring.

    Who should read No Cure for Being Human?

    • Those who’ve supporting a loved one through a serious diagnosis, or have received one themselves
    • Critics of the prosperity gospel and impeccably curated Instagram feeds
    • Those grappling with the idea that they, too, might be incurably human

    About the Author

    Kate Bowler is a professor of the history of Christianity at Duke University. She’s published scholarly works on evangelism and the self-help industry while also gaining a popular following for her life writing with the New York Times best-selling title Everything Happens for a Reason (and Other Lies I’ve Loved) and her newest release No Cure for Being Human (and Other Truths I Need to Hear).

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    No Cure for Being Human FAQs 

    What is the main message of No Cure for Being Human?

    No Cure for Being Human reminds us to embrace the full spectrum of the human experience, with all its joys and sorrows.

    How long does it take to read No Cure for Being Human?

    The reading time for No Cure for Being Human varies depending on the reader's speed. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just a few minutes.

    Is No Cure for Being Human a good book? Is it worth reading?

    No Cure for Being Human is a thought-provoking and empathetic exploration of the complexities of life. It's definitely worth reading.

    Who is the author of No Cure for Being Human?

    No Cure for Being Human is written by Kate Bowler.

    What to read after No Cure for Being Human?

    If you're wondering what to read next after No Cure for Being Human, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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