this is a compilation of talks that kubler-ross has given at workshops around the world over a span of almost twenty years. as dry as on death and dying can be, death is of vital importance is juicy, rich, and robust.

over and over again in this book, kubler-ross comes back to the essential question raised by death: what does it mean to really live? she talks about life with the wisdom and honesty that sitting with over 20,000 dying people can give. she talks about what has made the difference between a peaceful death and a painful death for her patients, and what each of us can do to prepare now for a peaceful death when it comes.

she also talks extensively about spirituality, mysticism, and life after death, which i didn't expect. again, her experiences with the dying, her medical training, and her obvious intelligence, lend a credibility to her discussions of subjects that are tricky to discuss without sounding like a kook.

regardless of one's beliefs about spirituality, i think every person in the world should read this book. i have already bought two copies and given them as gifts, and i plan to stock up on them for numerous future occasions.