Open Heart

The Transformational Journey of a Doctor Who, After Bypass Surgery at 61, Ran Marathons and Climbed Mountains

Non-Fiction - Health - Fitness
132 Pages
Reviewed on 03/04/2021
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Author Biography

Akil Taher, MD, is a practicing physician in Gadsden, Alabama. Dr. Taher is an eternal optimist, explorer, and adventurer, who in 2010, at the age of sixty-one, dramatically altered the conventional script adopted by most bypass surgery patients by undertaking a mountaineering trek to Mount Kailash in Tibet. This was a year after his open-heart surgery.

In October 2011, he ran his first full marathon, the Chicago Marathon; and in September 2012, he climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest free-standing mountain in the world. Dr. Taher then expanded the canvas of his age-defying adventures by pursuing physically challenging activities on land, sea, and air, including a century bike ride (a 100-mile cycling event).

Over the last decade, he has overcome acute and chronic medical ailments by transforming his mind, body, and spirit through the adoption of a plant-based diet, practice of yoga and meditation, regular exercise, and developing a positive and purpose-driven mindset.

Dr. Taher is also a speaker focused on spreading the message of a heart-healthy lifestyle. OPEN HEART is his first book, and it chronicles his exploits since his heart surgery.

Dr. Taher was raised in Mumbai, India, and trained in family medicine at the Flower Hospital in Sylvania, Ohio. He is happily married and has two children and an adorable grandson.

You can visit him at or write to him at

    Book Review

Reviewed by Joe Wisinski for Readers' Favorite

Open Heart: The Transformational Journey of a Doctor Who, After Bypass Surgery at 61, Ran Marathons and Climbed Mountains is an inspirational instructional manual. Author Akil Taher, M.D. underwent open-heart surgery at age 61 and realized he had to change his lifestyle. Only eight months later he ran in his first, but not his last, half-marathon. Furthermore, he engaged in body-testing activities such as running full marathons, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, completing a triathlon, and competing in a 100-mile bike race. In addition to relating his physical adventures, Taher writes about the role diet plays in his now-healthy lifestyle. He revolutionized his food intake, cutting out meat, dairy, eggs, and sugar and replacing them with a plant-based diet. Taher’s book is based on both his personal experiences and reputable sources.

This book is terrific. Author Akil Taher, M.D. is a fine storyteller and his book is part adventure story and part inspiration. Taher’s transformation from being a man with numerous medical problems to a fit, healthy, septuagenarian athlete makes for enjoyable and motivational reading. Not everyone will agree with all of his advice, but Taher lays it out in an easy-to-understand fashion for the reader’s consideration. He notes that changing our diet may be even more difficult than changing our exercise routine, and wisely recommends that readers take “baby steps” to transform their lives. “We are capable of doing much more than we think we can do,” he writes. It’s Taher’s hope that his readers don’t wait until they get into his formerly dire physical strait before taking action. I recommend Open Heart to anyone who is open to improving their physical health.