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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
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 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:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,058 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
36 of 38 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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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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Your Typical "Self-Help/Inspirational" book! May 10, 2011
By Kalene
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
"Life is Short And So Is This Book: Brief Thoughts on Making The Most Of Your Life" is a book for all! Whether you are searching for meaning in your own life, trying to find a path to happiness or just looking for a good read, this book is for you! The beauty of it is Atkins' ability to strip away the extra "fluff" that can often be found in other inspirational and "self-help" books, allowing the reader to focus on and apply the lessons stated to their own life to find meaning and understanding. It is a great read, written from the perspective of a friend who shares some of his life's lessons and asks you to simply listen. This book doesn't preach to the reader and doesn't claim to have all the answers, but it does make you think about who you are and the way that you live your life. No matter who you are or where you are coming from, this book is a great read to help you realign your purpose and drive in life with one that leads to satisfaction and happiness.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational August 29, 2012
By Anna
Format:Kindle Edition
Please excuse my English, it is not my native language. I found this to be a very inspirational book. I an happy that the author, who is obviously a smart and successful gentleman, decided to share his insights and life experiences with readers of his work. I found it especially gratifying that he did NOT patronize us or come across as preachy- his tone was one of a mature, tolerant and open minded person.

One of his thoughts that resonated with me particularly was, "As an adult it is important to take responsibility for your life." I agree completely and have always believed that a person can be considered an adult only when he/she takes responsibility for the events in one's life, good and bad, rather than blaming others for past mistakes.

Although it would seem to be an obvious statement, when he wrote that being a parent is the most satisfying and enriching experience he'd ever had, I could not have agreed more. These are words to live by, and people who choose not to become parents or indeed choose not to fulfill their responsibilities as parents just don't know the joys that they are missing out on.

At the same time as many of the author's thoughts rang true to me, I have to respectfully disagree that it is "impossible to change adult personality." I believe that if someone is willing to change, it is possible- not easy, but possible. I have changed myself a lot, and will continue to try and change for the better every day of my life by continuing to seek the counsel of, and listen to the advice offered by people who are smarter and wiser than I will ever be.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A+
Hit home for me right now and is simple outlook on life and topics happy and successful!I got a lot out of it
Published 14 days ago by talia branger
5.0 out of 5 stars refreshing
A sweet book that makes great sense of a tricky, scary subject. Your life is worth the time and money for this book.
Published 17 days ago by Mickey D. Hadick
5.0 out of 5 stars Good short read that gets straight to the point
short concise and to the point. reads in just over an hour but very little filler! I really enjoyed it.
Published 1 month ago by Jason R. McConnehey
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is really motivating!
This book is great. I'd been going through some personal change and found it very appropriate for motivating me though this period of change in my life. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Martha
5.0 out of 5 stars Brief and powerful
Mr.Atkins makes it short and interesting, if you have a few minutes,read and enjoy,a book that makes life fun. A good read
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Great short read.. Well worth the purchase.. Very wise and I would pay...
This was a book that I bought late night due to it's catchy title. Can I say to you Peter, well done on this book, I would love to see you write a longer one but this is a... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Jef Miles
5.0 out of 5 stars finally a helpful book without filler
Peter distills his wisdom into just the right length. Easily digested at one sitting, but like a feast, appreciated more slowly with breaks to chew each morsel.
Published 2 months ago by Traders Point Books
5.0 out of 5 stars A common-sense approach
A quick yet informative read; the affirmation I was seeking that I'm on the right track. Here's to continuing along that vein.
Published 2 months ago by Lynne M. Zakrzewski
4.0 out of 5 stars A lucky book to come across
As the title suggests, this short simple book, should you be lucky to read it, will give you a chance to to look at your life introspectively. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Woodward G. Brown
5.0 out of 5 stars love love love this boon
Has given me lots if gratitude and great perspectives. Absolutely amazing when you really look at how blessed we are and how were the only ones holding ourselves back
Published 3 months ago by JRadness
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