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Publisher's Summary

De Brevitate Vitae (frequently referred to as On the Shortness of Life in English) is a moral essay written by Seneca the Younger, a Roman Stoic philosopher, to his father-in-law Paulinus. The philosopher brings up many Stoic principles on the nature of time, namely that men waste much of it in meaningless pursuits. According to the essay, nature gives man enough time to do what is really important and the individual must allot it properly. In general, time can be best used in the study of philosophy, according to Seneca.

This essay has been carefully adapted into a contemporary form.

©2016 James Harris (P)2016 James Harris

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Terrible narration. Sorry I purchased this one!

Would you try another book from Lucius Seneca and James Harris and/or Scott R. Smith?

Not with this narrator, unfortunately.

Would you be willing to try another one of Scott R. Smith’s performances?

No. I made the mistake of purchasing two at the same time. After listening to this title, I hoped the second would have shown some improvement - but that wasn't the case.

Any additional comments?

The narration actually makes me want to go back and read this one in print - so I could follow the author/translator's intent. Smith's inflection is good, but far too often doesn't relate to the sense of the text (disjointed sentences, misinterpretation of the flow from one thought to the next, and similar discontinuities).

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Grating, amateurish narration

Ok wisdom from 20 centuries ago, but the narration was poor and in an unpleasant voice which projected a whiny tone and often nonexistent or misplaced inflection.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Greatness...This is a manual on being a Powerhouse

The narrator is very good and the update on language was a great idea. The words are updated to modern speech and modern usage.

The greatness of Seneca is timeless. It is an excellent buy for any reader of stoic work. I will buy a physical version for my young kids.

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  • Robbie
  • Seattle, WA, United States
  • 12-24-17

Important statement, with powerful insights.

This is an important statement with many powerful insights. Though much more can be said about this subject, even to dispute some of Seneca's thoughts on the matter, it is worth the listen, which is just one hour.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

A lot of information on "stuff"

This is a long winded lecture that takes you around and around. I can actually picture the author standing in Rome admit the grand coliseums droning on and on as the Romans did back in ancient times about his philosophy on life. About his take on what we should do and shouldn't do and how he interprets all things around him. I can picture the murmuring among the crowds as they shift about on their stone benches wondering how much longer before a slave can bring refreshments. While others nod and beam encouragement. And still others boo. The only thing he says in this long winded dysentery is Philosophy last longer then the human body and things built by man. I received this book at no charge in exchange for an honest review. Glad the lecture is over. Phew!!

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Insightful and Awakening

Would you listen to On the Shortness of Life again? Why?

Yes, loved the narration and concepts discussed which are eye-opening and make us appreciate how precious time really is.

Have you listened to any of Scott R. Smith’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Great narration! Loved the strong, powerful voice which guided the book into my mind.

Any additional comments?

This review copy audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost."

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Classical thinking, yet so appropriate today

Would you consider the audio edition of On the Shortness of Life to be better than the print version?

Sometimes we think we don't have time to read the writings of famous dead people from 2000 years ago. But, this audio version makes it so easy to listen to. It is performed well, and the content is still so relevant.

Any additional comments?

I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Short Audiobook on Brief Lesson: Life is Short

Any additional comments?

King of Persia shed a bounty of tears, not for his victory of the war instead that he had lived so long and was able to witness and survive the wars of his feared enemies. This audiobook was a letter about living your life and acknowledging that it is a brief life. Realizing, it is not that we have a short space of time but that we waste so much of it. This is a valuable lesson even for today when life feels so much longer and we are able to take advantage of so much more.

I really enjoyed the narrator. I did not have to change the speed on the audiobook which is nice when you are wrapped up in the story. This audiobook is short enough to have a few listens to absorb all the lessons.

This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of Audiobook Boom, but the gift did not bias my review.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Amir
  • Tbilisi, Georgia
  • 03-03-17

Great Narration, and Enlightening Story

What did you like best about this story?

This is the shorter edition of De Brevitate Vitae (a moral essay written by Seneca the Younger in 49 AD) and is adopted for the contemporary reader. Generally reading a philosophy book can be very challenging and especially Greek philosophy.It's usually very difficult for a contemporary reader to relate to the philosophy and the wisdom behind it, because the essay is written 2000 years ago. But fortunately On the Shortness of Life is written in a way that one can easily understand and learn. Overall it's a great read, it's short but it touches very important subjects, and I would have loved it if it was a bit longer.

What about Scott R. Smith’s performance did you like?

I really enjoyed the narration, and I'm looking forward to see more narrations by Scott R. Smith.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It made me think about the value of time, and how important it is to enjoy every moment of my life.

Any additional comments?

I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • John Paul McGroarty
  • 09-08-17

Great translation. Very modern English.

Easy listening. Great translation. Very modern English. Highly recommended introduction to the works of one of the greatest philosophers of all time. Time is the theme. Life is short. This essay is worth ten modern time management books.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-25-17

timeless wisdom

I'd read the book and wanted an audio version. I like the way some parts were made contemporary.

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  • Nicola
  • 01-02-17

Timeless, thoughtful & quote rich

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

“They lose the day in expectation of the night, and the night in fear of the dawn.”

Any additional comments?

Recommend having a notepad on standby - to capture key points or quotes

0 of 1 people found this review helpful