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On the Shortness of Life

by Seneca

The majority of mortals, Paulinus, complain bitterly of the spitefulness of Nature, because we are born for a brief span of life, because even this space that has been granted to us rushes by so speedily and so swiftly that all save a very few find life at an end just when they are getting ready to live. Nor is it merely the common herd and the unthinking crowd that bemoan what is, as men deem it, an universal ill; the same feeling has called forth complaint also from men who were famous.

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Recommendations: 2

Categories: Personal DevelopmentPhilosophy

Reading time: 23 hours


Neil Strauss
Author and Journalist

I have a stack of those—that Little Penguin edition I think it is. So, I give that away a lot.

Chip Conley
Entrepreneur, Author and Speaker

There’s a Seneca book about the short life. On the Shortness of Life. One of the things he says in that book is he says something about the fact that it’s not so much the shortness of life, it’s how we waste it. I think there’s something to that in terms of what percentage of your life is being spent wasted? Also, a longevity thing that I’ve been thinking about lately is imagine what age you’re going to live to and the online longevity sites say I’m going to live till I’m 98, then ask yourself how much of your adult life, if you start counting at age 18, is still ahead of you?