Episode 297

Preparing for the End

A Conversation with BJ Miller and Shoshana Berger

September 23, 2022

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Sam Harris speaks with BJ Miller and Shoshana Berger about preparing for death. They discuss the difference between palliative care and hospice, the tension between getting the most out of life and not clinging to experience, planning for death while still healthy, the importance of an advance directive, navigating the healthcare system, pain control at the end of life, assisted suicide, psychedelic therapy for end-of-life anxiety, and other topics.

BJ Miller, MD, is a longtime hospice and palliative medicine physician and educator. He currently sees patients and families via telehealth through Mettle Health, a company he co-founded with the aim to provide personalized, holistic consultations for any patient or caregiver who needs help navigating the practical, emotional and existential issues that come with serious illness and disability. BJ has worked in all settings of care: hospital, clinic, residential facility, and home. Led by his own experiences as a patient, BJ advocates for the roles of our senses, community and presence in designing a better ending. His TED Talk has been viewed over 15 Million times and he speaks internationally on themes of illness, death and loss.

Website: www.mettlehealth.com

Twitter: @bjmillermd

Shoshana Berger is the Global Executive Editor of IDEO, where she has worked on projects related to organization transformation, the end of life, modern Judaism, and school lunch. Before joining IDEO, she was a Senior Editor at WIRED, where she launched WIRED Design, and prior to that, founder of the DIY magazine, ReadyMade, later turning it into a book, Ready Made: How to Make (Almost) Everything. She is the coauthor, with Dr. BJ Miller, of A Beginner's Guide to the End: Practical Advice for Living Life and Facing Death. She has written for The New York Times, TIME, WIRED, and Fast Company.

Website: linkedin.com/in/shoshanaberger

Twitter: @shoshanaberger


Learning how to train your mind is the single greatest investment you can make in life. That’s why Sam Harris created the Waking Up app. From rational mindfulness practice to lessons on some of life’s most important topics, join Sam as he demystifies the practice of meditation and explores the theory behind it.

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