No Cure for
Being Human

(And Other Truths I Need to Hear)



The bestselling author of Everything Happens for a Reason (And Other Lies I’ve Loved) asks, how do you move forward with a life you didn’t choose?

It’s hard to give up on the feeling that the life you want is just out of reach. A beach body by summer. A trip to Disneyland around the corner. A promotion on the horizon. Everyone wants to believe that they are headed toward good, better, best. But what happens when the life you hoped for is put on hold indefinitely?

Kate Bowler believed that life was a series of unlimited choices, only to find that she was stuck in a cancerous body at age 35. In her instant New York Times bestselling book, No Cure for Being Human, Kate searches for a way forward as she mines the wisdom (and absurdity) of our modern “best life now” advice industry, which offers us exhausting positivity, trying to convince us that we can out-eat, out-learn and out-perform our humanness. With dry wit and unflinching honesty, she grapples with her cancer diagnosis, her ambition, and her faith and searches for some kind of peace with her limitations in a culture that says that anything is possible.

In facing down cancer, Kate, “a Christian Joan Didion” (Glennon Doyle), searches for hope without cheap optimism, and truth with room for mystery. We are as fragile as the day we were born, and we will need each other if we’re going to tell the truth: Life is beautiful and terrible, full of hope and despair and everything in between, but there’s no cure for being human.


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“Those in need of a wake-up call will find it in this breathtaking narrative. Bowler’s strong faith is present throughout, though the writing, refreshingly, never feels overtly religious. Her convictions underscore the importance of living life on one’s own terms.”

— Publishers Weekly, STARRED Review

“I began reading No Cure for Being Human after dinner one evening and didn’t move until I finished the last gorgeous page. As I finally put this masterpiece down, I thought: Kate Bowler is the only one we can trust to tell us the truth. Bowler is a prophet and her new offering is another true gift to the world. This book will open minds and warm hearts.”

—Glennon Doyle, #1 author of the #1 NYT Bestseller Untamed

“With grace, wisdom, and humor, Kate Bowler encourages us to cut back on self-help Kool-Aid and teaches us what it means to be human.”

—Adam Grant, #1 New York Times bestselling author of THINK AGAIN

“Kate Bowler has paid through the nose to become a writer of uncommon spiritual wisdom, coupled with an amazing sense of humor and a heart full of love. She fills me with hope.”

— Anne Lamott, New York Times bestselling author of Dusk, Night, Dawn

“Kate Bowler refuses to jump on the bandwagon of toxic positivity. Instead, she leads us to a truer truth: the work is unfinishable, and so be it.”

Kelly Corrigan, NYT bestselling author, host of the podcast Kelly Corrigan Wonders and PBS’s Tell Me More.

“Kate Bowler is the rare author who can explore difficult subjects with both breathtaking honesty and light-heartedness. [She] brings profound insight and love to the human experience.”

—Gretchen Rubin, bestselling author of The Happiness Project

“In a culture that asks us to constantly strive and improve, Kate Bowler offers us the recognition that your own pain is neither an aberration or an opportunity, but a fact of life. There is nobody on earth who sees our humanity quite like Kate Bowler.”

— Nora McInerny, creator and host of Terrible, Thanks for Asking Podcast

“A chronicle of grief, hope, and courage. … Bowler debunks the hollow clichés that she has heard too often: to seize the day, live in the present, work on a bucket list. Like others who have suffered traumatic loss or illness—especially during the pandemic—Bowler recognizes that ‘so often the experiences that define us are the ones we didn’t pick.’”

—Kirkus Reviews

“Bowler’s affecting narrative meditates on the things she’s just faced; she also takes it as an opportunity to reflect on the past and the kind of life she wants for herself in the future. Bowler writes about all of it with good humor, occasional anger, and vivid honesty. Through it all, she survives, offering along the way fresh insight on life and chronic illness. Readers will be engrossed by this heartfelt memoir of sickness, family, and recovery.”

— Library Journal Review

“With hilarity and courage, Bowler tells the story of being diagnosed with stage-four cancer at thirty-five, forcing her to re-examine the way she (and we) live our lives. This is a brilliant examination of what happens when everything you assumed is suddenly in question.”

—Lori Gottlieb, New York Times bestselling author of Maybe You Should Talk To Someone


Kate Bowler, Ph.D. is a 3x New York Times bestselling author, award-winning podcast host, and professor at Duke University.

She studies the cultural stories we tell ourselves about success, suffering, and whether (or not) we’re capable of change. She wrote the first and only history of the American prosperity gospel—the belief that God wants to give you health, wealth, and happiness—before being unexpectedly diagnosed with stage IV cancer at age 35. While she was in treatment and not expected to survive, she wrote two New York Times bestselling memoirs, Everything Happens for a Reason (and Other Lies I’ve Loved) and No Cure For Being Human (and Other Truths I Need to Hear). After years of being told she was incurable, she was declared cancer-free. But she was forever changed by what she discovered: life is so beautiful and life is so hard. For everyone.

Kate is determined to create a gentler world for everyone who wants to admit that they are not “living their best life.” She hosts the Everything Happens podcast where, in warm, insightful, often funny conversations, she talks with people like Malcolm Gladwell, Tig Notaro, and Archbishop Justin Welby about what they’ve learned in difficult times. Author of seven books including Good Enough, The Lives We Actually Have, and her latest, Have a Beautiful, Terrible Day!, she lives in Durham, North Carolina, with her family and continues to teach do-gooders at Duke Divinity School.


Kirkus Reviews

“A sensitive memoir of survival.”