A Year to Live

Narrated by: Stephen Levine
Length: 3 hrs and 17 mins
4 out of 5 stars (146 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

If you only had a year to live, what would you do? In his work with the dying, author Stephen Levine observed the radical changes people can make in the face of death - how they heal relationships, open up to love, act on plans put off for years, even quit dead-end jobs. Levine challenged himself to live an entire year as if it were his last - and in this revealing narrative he shares what he learned. Through a series of month-by-month practices anyone can do, and including special meditations and exercises, A Year to Live teaches a way to live every day of your life with vivid fullness.
©1997 Stephen Levine (P)1997 Stephen Levine

What listeners say about A Year to Live

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Thought provoking and useful

Stephen Levine has been a leading voice in the hospice movement and draws on his wealth of experience with death and dying to share his insights in this book. In a culture that shuns talk and exploration into death and how it relates to life, it was refreshing to hear this man speaking sincerely and passionately about how contemplation of death can bring more meaning and focus to life. At first the idea of "pretending" to have only one year to live seemed silly and not much use, but he has a way of explaining his thoughts and giving exercises which have helped to open new areas in my life.
Though his reading at first seems slow and deep, it had a way of drawing me in and opening me to his ideas.
I recommend this book to anyone who feels like their spiritual life could use a jump start. This is a good practice.

18 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Love the Concept

I feel like I understand now...the meaning of this lifetime is simply to prepare to die. It begins when it ends.

2 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars

Abridged, missing key practices, too spacey

The audiobook version of this book is abridged - it is missing about 15 of the 39+ chapters, and the chapters it does include are edited down as well. Most critically, the detailed descriptions of all of the practices that are in the print edition are missing from the audiobook.

The book itself is actually the only slightly edited version of the author's journal, and as such is not well organized or edited. There are a few nuggets in it, but not worth the time wading through the rest of the baloney.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Not All I thought I was getting

When I started the book, I waited with baited breathe for the author to launch into the specifics of living for a year like I was dying. But that was the disappointment of a lifetime. The author with his powerful voice of wisdom declined to get into specifics like I needed to hear. Maybe he wrote the book for people unlike myself, who like to be shown the how, when, and why. Maybe I'll write the book, and find out why the specifics were not called for after all.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Poetic

Essentially, this book reads as a multi-part poem. Depending on your sensibility, this could be a positive or a negative. It's less of a how-to and more of a work of contemplative art. Whether you enjoy Stephen Levine's writing style, the book will for sure get you thinking about how you approach your life, how you define success, and your relationship to the concept of control.

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Loved the content...not the narrative

I very much enjoyed this book. I listened to it as I turned 60 years old and got a lot out of the content of dying and living life in a different way

However...I truly wish someone else had read the book. I’m sorry, Mr Levine, but your creepy, Grim Reaper voice was not enjoyable at all. Please have someone else read your books from now on!!

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    5 out of 5 stars

Learn to die before you know how to live.

This is a great study in beginning a year-long practice of what death can be and how death quickly revitalizes what is important to life.

A great listen. But something that needs to be practiced, not just heard.

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Not a "How-to", a collection of thoughts.......

Is there anything you would change about this book?

The title - it suggests a) this is how to live a year with your death in mind b) that the author has actually done this when neither is the case.

What three words best describe Stephen Levine’s performance?

clear, rhythmic, balanced

Could you see A Year to Live being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

No I cannot see this but maybe the Dalai Lama.....

Any additional comments?

The content had little to do with living as if you had a year to live. It was often just a collection of rambling thoughts often unconnected. The practices suggested were Buddhist and seemed artificial - I don't want to be spending my last day of life 'noting' things (which itself is a separation from the experience of living/being). I also don't see any point in having a ritual table in my room with elements of my life on it as that could just as well lead to feelings of despair and regret. I was very disappointed with this book because I would have thought with the authors huge experience in this area he could have written something more useful and practical - maybe if you're a Buddhist you want to spend your last day 'noting' things? I don't (and I'm not a Buddhist anyway).
My advice; I will stick with the advice of a Christian sage who said learn to 'let go'. Something I wish I had done with regard this book (and so 'held on' to my money!).

1 person found this helpful

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Difficult to listen to.

Vocal style was distracting. Voice, in my opinion, droned on. Constant pausing between words within each sentence.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Authors should almost never...

Record their own books! He read the entire book as if he was reading poetry and unfortunately it was very distracting!!!!!! I didn’t get much direction from listening because of the delivery from the author but I couldn’t listen again for anything! Too bad....

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Nadine
  • 08-27-17

brilliant

loved it! read it the most exciting heartful way. a roaring read - it is a great thought experiment!