Book Report: To Repair the World

To Repair The World: Paul Farmer Speaks to the Next Generation by Paul Farmer was a lovely pool-side read.

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. There are a number of stories and themes that are repeated 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. If you are interested in learning more about Partners In Health and his take on global health, look to another book (I’d suggest Pathologies of Power!).

In fact, my favorite Paul-Farmer-Ism is the “House of Yes”. The “House of Yes” is where things happen. Where there is staff, stuff, space, systems and everything that is needed for people to not just be healthy but 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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