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Published by  Atria
A division of  Simon & Schuster
June 2014

ISBN: 9781476748535

For more information visit
Dr. Byock's website at


The Four Things That Matter Most
A Book About Living
by Ira Byock, M.D.

Dr. Byock's Biographical Information

Ira Byock, MD

Ira Byock, MD is a leading palliative care physician, author, and public advocate for improving care through the end of life.

He is Professor of Medicine at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. He served as Director of Palliative Medicine at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire from 2003 through July 2013.

Dr. Byock has been involved in hospice and palliative care since 1978, during his residency.  At that time he helped found a hospice home care program for the indigent population served by the university hospital and county clinics of Fresno, California.  He is a Past President (1997) of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. During the 1990s he was a co-founder and principal investigator for the Missoula Demonstration Project, a community-based organization in Montana dedicated to the research and transformation of end-of-life experience locally, as a demonstration of what is possible nationally.  From 1996 through 2006, he served as Director for Promoting Excellence in End-of-Life Care, a national grant program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Dr. Byock has authored numerous articles on the ethics and practice of hospice, palliative and end-of-life care. His first book, Dying Well, (1997) has become a standard in the field. The Four Things That Matter Most, (2004) is used as a counseling tool widely by palliative care and hospice programs, as well as within pastoral care. His most recent book, The Best Care Possible (March 2012) tackles the crisis that surrounds serious illness and dying in America and his quest to transform care through the end of life. It has been praised by the Wall Street Journal and recognized by POLITICO as a key issue book for the 2012 presidential campaign.

Dr. Byock has been a consistent advocate for the voice and rights of dying patients and their families. He has been the recipient of the:

  • National Hospice Organization Person of the Year (1995);

  • National Coalition of Cancer Survivorship Natalie Davis Spingarn Writers Award (2000);

  • American College of CHEST Physicians Roger Bone Memorial Lecture Award (2003);

  • National Association of Catholic Chaplains Outstanding Colleague Award (2008);

  • Santa Clara University Compassion in Action Award (2011);

  • HealthCare Chaplaincy Pioneer Medal (2014)

  • American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine Community Leadership Award (2011), the Hospice and Palliative Medicine Visionary Award (2014), and the Lifetime Achievement Award (2014)

He has been a featured guest on numerous national television and radio programs, including NPR: All Things Considered, Talk of the Nation, and On Being, CBS 60 Minutes, Fox and Friends, and PBS The News Hour.  

Further information available at: www.dyingwell.org

"The Four Things That Matter Most is a tribute to compassion.  Master storyteller and physician Ira Byock shows how four simple statements can improve your life, heal your relationships, and transform your understanding of death.  Every home deserves of copy of this gem!"

-- Cat Saunders, Ph.D., author of  "Dr. Cat's Helping Handbook"  

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