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Summary

As former tutor and adviser to Emperor Nero, philosopher and statesman Seneca was acutely aware of how short life can be - his own life was cut short when the emperor ordered him to commit suicide (for alleged involvement in a conspiracy). And Seneca proved true to his words - his lifelong avowal to Stoicism enabled him to conduct himself with dignity to the end.

During his rich and busy life, Seneca wrote a series of essays that have advised and enriched the lives of generations down to the present day. This collection contains five of the key essays - 'On the Shortness of Life', 'On the Happy Life', 'On the Tranquil Mind', 'On Providence' and 'On the Firmness of the Wise Person' - and they are replete with observations to remember.

'Those who forget the past, neglect the present, and fear for the future have a life that is very brief and troubled,' Seneca warns.

'You have all the fears of mortals and all the desires of immortals.'

'As long as we wander at random, not following any guide except the shouts and discordant clamours of those who invite us to proceed in different directions, our short life will be wasted in useless roamings.'

Clarity, steadfastness and true enjoyment are his watchwords.

Public Domain (P)2016 Ukemi Productions Ltd

What listeners say about On the Shortness of Life, On the Happy Life, and Other Essays

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becomes irrelevant

this audiobook started off well with some profound advice on the shortness of life. however the other essays and there are 90 in total became increasingly difficult to understand or make relevant to today's society or thinking. the narrator spoke in a suitably solemn tone

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Old man - wise. Old words - wise. Great narration.

A lovely dip-in miscellany of refreshingly interactive, Kant free, philocafe chat. Sumptuous.
A good buy. Plunge!

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Matters of a Good Life and Death

Accessible philosopical thought about the most important issues of our lives and of course of our death, nourishing food for thought.

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A good read.

Really enjoyed it, easy to listen to. Pleased , looking forward to the next one.

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A very good read

I really liked it. The narrator has a calming voice. The book helped me to control some of my anxieties. For me, it was kind of a self-help book I've needed.

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  • Tobias A. Matejovsky
  • 13-12-18

Completely relevant, ageless wisdom

It is remarkable to see how well Seneca's observations and advice hold up, literally thousands of years later. Delivery is straight and unpretentious.

The content is easier to consume a little at a time, if desired.

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  • Andreea Marin
  • 05-03-17

The Stoic Has Spoken!

Would you listen to On the Shortness of Life, On the Happy Life, and Other Essays again? Why?

yes. It felt like listening to an elderly grandfather pass on his wisdom on life before he goes. It's filled with life-strengthening lessons and highly inspirational anecdotes. It's so different to hear about discipline in this light.

What was one of the most memorable moments of On the Shortness of Life, On the Happy Life, and Other Essays?

The way Seneca talks to a young student and you feel like his lessons are out of pure caring and not for profit or networking when the same topics come from a different source in the 21st century.

What does James Cameron Stewart bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I found that having a strong male voice was perfect because it was like having Seneca speaking. It made the advice authoritative.

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  • Michael Chelberg
  • 19-12-18

Enlightening, empowering

Crucial life lessons with profound consequences to the reader, when digested within it's intended original context, this book is a must read to help address life's biggest challenges

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  • Joe
  • 29-06-19

As relevant today as when it was written

I have read a few books about Seneca's works. Hearing his essays directly, without commentary, or analysis was very enjoyable. I would recommend this audio book to anyone who is curious about stoicism. Seneca's essays will benefit the critical mind to put the challenges of life into a rational perspective.

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  • Max
  • 21-09-21

always a great read

can't go wrong with some stocism and this one give you a great taste of Seneca and what a wise man could, and should be.

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  • Nancy Ye
  • 31-07-21

The path to everyday and life’s wisdom

Engaging performance. Concepts align with Vedic philosophy. Highly recommend for anyone looking to improve oneself, to understand happiness and the purpose of life.

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  • JSJ
  • 28-05-21

Wisdom for All Ages

There is so much timeless wisdom in these essays that one reading is not enough to fully absorb and appreciate it. What Seneca says is as applicable today as it was in his time. Each time you read them, you recall something or notice something else that makes you think. Revisiting these essays is like catching up with a mentor or old friend, going back to the basics and remembering what’s important.

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  • Ron Peters
  • 23-05-17

Seneca and James Cameron Stewart both excellent!

A good selection of Seneca's Essays and Dialogs; it's especially nice to have On The Firmness of the Wise Man included, since it is not widely available in print.

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  • Alexander
  • 12-04-17

overhyped expectations?

I hear so much about Seneca that I was excited to listen to this, but this ended up being almost unlistenable. I'm sure there's great stuff in here, but between the unnecessary verbosity where 1 word would suffice for the 10 chosen, plus the narrator's voice, I couldn't even get through the entir audiobook (and I listen to a lot).

1 person found this helpful