Book Report: To Repair the World

I read To Repair The World: Paul Farmer Speaks to the Next Generation by Paul Farmer poolside. I always like being reminded of the House Of Yes!

Book cover for the book To Repair the World by Paul Farmer
To Repair The World by Paul Farmer

The book is a compilation of a few of his speeches over the years, some of which have appeared elsewhere and some of which have morphed into longer articles and book chapters. Farmer repeats a number of stories and themes throughout the book. That is to say, after reading quite of bit of my old bosses writing, hearing him speak, and being enmeshed in the PIH world, I didn’t find this book particularly “new”.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Paul Farmer-branded inspiration. He is witty, sarcastic, smart as all get out, and has inspired a global movement. Plus, he urges action above all of the hyperbole. Look to another book (I’d suggest Pathologies of Power!) to learn more about PIH and the philosophies behind the movement.

In fact, my favorite Paul-Farmer-Ism is the “House of Yes”. Things happen at the “House of Yes”. The house of yes overflows with staff, stuff, space, systems and everything needed for people to thrive. We are so accustomed to our mentalities of scarcity–we do not have the budget, the time, the staff, etc.–that a flip on that, where all is possible, seems revolutionary, I love that optimism. I love the thought of equality and equity in medicine and health care. After all, the aim of public health is equity and social justice.

PS: When I see you, remind me to tell you the story of when I first met Paul! 🙂

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