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Life is Short And So Is This Book: Brief Thoughts On Making The Most Of Your Life [Kindle Edition]

Peter Atkins
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (99 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Life is short. You can, if you work hard and are lucky, get more of almost anything, but you can’t get more time. Time only goes one way. The average American has a lifespan of less than 30,000 days. So how you choose to live matters.

That’s the topic of this book. I don’t pretend to have all the answers. I’m still learning every day, and many of the good ideas here I’ve picked up from other people either directly or by reading. But this is what’s worked for me.

Like life, this book is short. Many books I read could communicate their ideas in fewer pages. So I’ve tried to be brief in line with the wise person who noted: “If I’d had more time I would have written a shorter letter”.

I don’t think brevity implies lack of content. The concepts here have improved the quality of my life, and I hope they’re useful to you as well.

Using these concepts, I have created a life I love. My job doesn’t feel like work. I love and respect the people with whom I spend time. And I’m also passionate about my life outside work. I’ve learned how to create a balance that makes me happy between work and other interests, including my family, friends and exercise. Sadly I think that’s rare. And yet, while I know I’m lucky, most people can work towards those goals in their own lives.

My interest in making the most of my life began when I was just starting college, but when I was in my mid-thirties a boss I admired died of cancer. He was young. He had a great wife; he had three young children; he had a fantastic career -- he had everything in life. He just didn’t have enough time. So, while I’d often thought about how to get the most out of life, the death of someone so young and vital increased my sense of urgency to act on it.

One of the things I’ve always wanted to do was to work for myself. As a result, I left an exciting job at Microsoft in 2001 amidst the Internet bust to found the investing firm I now run. It was hard to do, both financially and emotionally. When I left Microsoft, many people – friends, family, and even some of the press - thought I was deluding myself to start a fund focused on Internet-related companies during a market crash. A press quote from the time said: "Call him a little crazy. Call him a little nuts." I’d never seen that type of coverage before. And, in a sense, the press was right; the business wasn’t easy to start. Fortunately, from a vantage point of ten years down the road, it’s worked out quite well.

A key part of my job is reading and thinking about a broad variety of topics. So writing this book was relatively easy. It’s even easier to read. But, like many things in life, actually executing each day on these concepts is extremely difficult. With thanks to Thomas Edison, life is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. Even so, I hope you have fun perspiring.

Peter Atkins
Seattle, WA
December, 2010

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Peter Atkins is the managing director of Permian Partners, an investment fund he founded in 2001 amidst the Internet bust. Permian approaches buying stock the same way it would evaluate the purchase of an entire business.

Prior to Permian, Peter was a General Manager at Microsoft, where over the course of six years he helped to start, manage and, later, invest in various early consumer Internet businesses, including Earlier in his career, Peter worked at Time Inc. in New York City.

Peter has a BA degree from Skidmore College, an MBA degree from Cornell University and did graduate work at Harvard University.

Product Details

  • File Size: 516 KB
  • Print Length: 62 pages
  • Publisher: PA2C (March 8, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004R9QIO2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,288 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gem. Read it. March 21, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
For most of us, the difference between a fulfilling life well lived and its opposite is not the lack of some revelation that we have never considered before. It is the consistency with which we align our time and our effort and our habits to those values we hold most dear.

Unlike most authors of "self-help" and inspirational books (or business books for that matter), Atkins is not concerned with filling enough pages to justify a book deal, nor it seems is he trying to launch a career on the speaking circuit. This frees him from the tendency in these genres to find six ways to make the same point, or to claim some "breakthrough" approach to happiness. In refreshingly clear and concise terms, he "just" does what we all would do for ourselves, if we had the focus and self-discipline to do it: makes a thoughtful list of the main tenets and practices that lead to a happy life, with just enough explanation of each to make it useful. The result is not a guru's tome to be pondered over many nights until it is left half unread on the bedside table. It is a clear, compelling, and dead-on accurate field guide to good living, which we can keep in our pocket in the great walk of life.

As the author says, it only takes an hour to read the book. I for one will re-invest that hour every 6 months or so, and I'm sure it will be worthwhile each time.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In praise of common sense March 18, 2011
By Joe
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I once asked my grandfather why human actions are so frequently disconnected from common sense. He said, "Common sense is so obvious that most people miss it, the way they miss a beautiful sunset."

This book is full of the common sense that many of the people whom I've observed in Life have missed. For example, "Persistent curiosity, combined with susained focus on reasonable goals, will change your life."

As a life-long fan both of common sense and of the few writers who can communicate it concisely and precisely, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. My one criticism is that it should be much longer.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is a compilation of most generic wisdom bits -- common truths expressed in bland language, neither engaging nor very actionable. The author is just chatting away contentedly, a spoonful of this, a little bit of that - like an elder sharing his tried and true advice for the umpteenth time. And then it is over.

We live in an epoch when the publishing industry is highly differentiated and very clever - every book you read nowadays has some sort of "personality," is written from some specific "angle," it has a "hook," so to say. This one doesn't. The author doesn't have a "method" from which he is approaching his subject (or rather, his many subjects). It is just common regurgitated wisdom that every adult could dispense, like: "Try Not to Worry", "Laugh", or "Build Character and Make Friends" (these were actually chapter headings). Or passages like: "Habits form when we are young, and solidify before we know it. So forming the right habits early is critical, whether that means eating well, exercising, saving money or being honest". or: "The people with whom we associate can have a huge impact on the development of our personalities, particularly when we're young." I guarantee you already know everything in this book. It focuses or nothing in particular, it talks about everything in general. I am delighted that it is as short as it is - this would be an angry review otherwise.

The ONLY use I can see for this book is as a gift for teens and young people. They probably will find said truths more fresh. But even they are so sharp nowadays, they might have heard those things already from a rectitudinous grandma or some other gab-tongued goody-goody.

Thanks for reading my review and, if it was helpful for you to get a feel for this book, I'd really appreciate a click on the "yes" button.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must Read August 14, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is a must read for people of various ages. It offers life lessons for those young adults starting out on life and it is equally valuable to people throughout their lives who struggle with choices and dilemmas. It is a roadmap for finding and keeping to one's path.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We all need a reminder August 5, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Full disclosure, I know Mr. Atkins and I can say from personal experience that he writes the way he talks -- concise, pragmatic, heart felt and to the point. He doesn't waste his own time or yours. Nothing you will read in his book is new--we all know the contents to be true but so easy to forget when external pressures and concerns act to push us off track. As Atkins reminds us, we typically only see the end results of other people's effort, rarely are we exposed to the hard work, sweat and focus required behind personal achievement. If you've forgotten or are feeling discouraged that it seems to be taking you more work, instructive failures or effort than the next man or woman, take the time to read this book and be reminded that you're exactly where you ought to be or can soon be back on your way. A life well lived is a creative act and this book is an excellent and simple set of observations and reminders to help.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read June 3, 2011
By Ian
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Life is Short is a great read that I would recommend to just about anyone. As promised by the author, it is a very quick, enjoyable read, full of common sense ideas that its just too easy to forget in our day-to-day lives. I expect I will read it again from time to time, and I will definitely encourage my children to read it as well.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars worth the time!
I appreciate the author's work and recommend this without reservation. I've read it several times already and find something new each time!
Published 2 days ago by UMMPH
5.0 out of 5 stars A GREAT BOOK
This book is a must read. Words of wisdom for quality of life. Your worth it. Heartfelt gratitude for sharing.
Published 1 month ago by m edwards
4.0 out of 5 stars great insights
Quick read, packed with great insights. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to take a second to reflect on their goals
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Interesting with some very good, insightful points.
Published 1 month ago by Timothy R. Bostic
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
short but right to the point!
Published 1 month ago by Jay Valle
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book. A game changer. Finished in 1 sitting.
Published 2 months ago by Ray
4.0 out of 5 stars life is short
This book offers a lot of tips and thoughts on how to live your life to the fullest. It tells is how short life is and to appreciate everything. Read more
Published 2 months ago by kris Patterson
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read
I really enjoyed this book. Well worth the time. I can take a lot from it and use it to better my thinking. Thank you
Published 2 months ago by Shawn
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear and concise. Nice insights to living a better life.
The author Peter Atkins does a very job of writing like I'm sure he a friendly conversational way. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Modestobob
5.0 out of 5 stars Life is Short (and so am I)
Peter's focus on the possible and the role we can play to make them happen for ourselves is a great take on practical optimism. Loved it!
Published 2 months ago by Rob Lowe
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