A physician with Lou Gehrig’s disease shares insights to leave behind for his young grandson in this debut advice guide.
Dunsky, a retired allergy specialist diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, believes that “absence of guidance” can be a factor leading to failures in life. He wrote this book as “my way of sharing seventy two years of accumulated knowledge, experiences, and observations,” specifically with his young grandson, Jake, “for the future.” In 36 essay chapters, he covers a host of life topics, including education, marriage, decision-making, health, and money. He offers up many personal anecdotes, including how his “unrealistic impression that I would have no problem being accepted into medical school” in the United States prompted him to apply himself better while attending med school abroad. He emphasizes the value of learning, family, and friends and provides several lists, including questions to ask in order to be a good critical thinker (such as “Have I crosschecked this information with reliable sources?”). He also offers common reasons for making mistakes (highlighting distractions such as smartphones and social media). In his final chapter, Dunsky reflects on his “crushing” and “quite uncommon” diagnosis of ALS, which he says has nevertheless had some positive outcomes, including allowing him to treasure the remainder of his life and create this labor-of-love book. The author provides the kind of wise yet down-to-earth commentary that anyone would wish for in a grandparent. His insights as a physician, hinted at here by his detailing of a few past cases, are worthy of a spinoff book. This book is rather lengthy, however, and at times, highly personal, particularly in the author’s direct addresses to Jake. Still, Dunsky’s reiterations of the “obvious,” such as to treat others honorably and be wary of those who don’t respond in kind, are quite important and indeed inspirational. They underscore the qualities required to lead a happy, successful life.
A touching legacy narrative infused with practical wisdom.