This book is about pain and its value. It is written as a memoir of Dr Paul Brand, whose professional life revolved around the theme of pain. As a child in India he observed pain and suffering as he watched his missionary parents treating those who came for help. His parents were not doctors but had a little medical training that enabled them to treat ailments and, when necessary, extract teeth. Some of the treatments Paul Brand watched were messy and revolting and made him decide that the last thing he wanted to do was to become a doctor.