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Publisher's Summary

On the Shortness of Life is a moral essay written by Seneca, a Roman Stoic philosopher, sometime around the year 49 AD, to his father-in-law Paulinus. The philosopher brings up many Stoic principles on the nature of time, namely that people waste much of it in meaningless pursuits. According to the essay, nature gives people enough time to do what is really important and the individual must allot it properly. In general, time is best used by living in the present moment in pursuit of the intentional, purposeful life. 

In the treatise Seneca argues that we waste so much time because we do not properly value it. We expend great effort in protecting other valuables such as money and property, but because time appears intangible, we allow others to occupy it and take time away from us. Wise people, on the other hand, understand that time is the most valuable of all resources, and with effort can free themselves from external control to engage in meaningful introspection and create an intentional life.

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Life's Short, Think It Up

Seneca the Younger's writing De Brevitate Vitae, On the Shortness of Life, is in general just as applicable today as it was nearly 2000 years ago. With his contemporaries as examples, Seneca points to an array of ways time is misused and lost with frivolousness and wastefulness, lack of focus, spreading oneself too thin with distractions and obligations which in many cases aren't necessary, and even hard work without a clear direction. It's worth reading or listening to for the still-relevant reminders on how to make the most of our lives. The only exception for me was the last part of the essay, in which Seneca elevates philosophy above all other pursuits as the way to a life well-lived. While it is right to recognize wisdom as a key ingredient in a meaningful life, the development thereof alone is not in and of itself sufficient to make one's life well-lived. There is surely some subjectivity in this - perhaps to Seneca philosophy was all that was necessary for a life that was by his own standards well-lived - but to present it as a general truth seems either presumptuous or shortsighted.

The reader was clear, easy to understand and follow, and used tone well throughout the essay. I'd like to comment more on inflection and matching tone to the mood and characters, but when you're narrating for a Stoic philosopher, there's not so much room for that!

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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How Do We Make Use Of Our Lives?

Life, we always talk how quickly it goes, how short, wishing for more, a longer life. Seneca philosophizes that it is how we use our lives..what do we become preoccupied, obsessed, and waste the minutes of our lives that when we look back upon the time wish we had more.
It’s not the length it is using it wisely.
I found this to be quite thought provoking as I have had a number of deaths recently in my life as well as thought of how do I wish to use what days I have left...whether many or few
Excellent narrator, I enjoy his voice, tone, pacing and delivery..he makes the most of delivering the message within.

This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Fantastic audiobook!

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

This is an excellent reading of Seneca. The literature speaks for itself, but the narration sets this version apart -- clear, well-enunciated reading that lets you absorb the impact of the work.

Audiobooks have been an excellent way to delve into Stoic literature, and I've very much enjoyed this book as an excellent production of Seneca.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A true classic

In a brief time you can be touched by wisdom of the ages.

Technology and Science may change and progress but Humanity the basic personality of human beings does not change.

This short Audio Book shows clearly that basic logic and reasoning from early Greek civilization is as relevant today as when it was first written.

We still have a lot to learn from the past this short Audio Book is just a taste.




This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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On the Shortness of Life

Excellent philosophical essay with some really great insights. Something that I will continue to re-read or listen to again simply for the little life lessons embedded there. The narration was great for this book as well.

This book was given to me for free at my request for my voluntary and unbiased review.

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A glimpse of history

I love reading these old books, they offer a glimpse into another culture and another time. The feeling that life is too short of one that many people from many time can relate to. In this book Seneca explains why he thinks life is long enough and the problem isn't it's shortness but how people use the time that they have.

I'm not sure that I agree with all of his arguments but even when I wasn't convinced I still found his arguments thought provoking and useful in clarifying my own thoughts and beliefs.

Well worth listening to, even more so if you can find someone to talk about it with after you both listen to it.

The narration is smooth and lowing and the style suits the modermized writing of the book.

I received a free copy of this book from the author and/or narrator and/or publisher and I voluntarily wrote this honest review.

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0 of 1 people found this review helpful