Not Fade Away: A Short Life Well Lived

Chris Robison
Nov 20, 2018 · 3 min read

Brief Summary of the Book

Half biography-autobiography, successful husband, father, friend, and businessman, Peter Barton, implores the help of writer, Laurence Shames, in documenting the last months of his life after he is diagnosed with a terminal stomach cancer. Coauthored by the two young men, Not Fade Away: A Short Life Well Lived is an intimate illustration of a man in understanding of his capstone life lessons. Humbly, Peter, makes no grandiose attempts at life's big questions. His story is personal.

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How I Picked This Book

I am an avid subscriber of The Tim Ferriss Show podcast. On episode 79, Tim hosted Chris Sacca, Silicon Valley venture capitalist. One topic of conversation between Chris and Tim was that of empathy and the increased need for it in today’s competitively productive world. At minute 44:48 of the interview, Chris elaborated that "Empathy is about 'Can I see the world through that person’s lens? Can I figure out what matters to them? What are they afraid of? What’s bothering them? What do they think is limiting them right now? What’s their hope?’"

Diligently, Tim inquired, "If you were giving an assignment to folks for books or experiences - just kind of a short list for people who want to develop that type of empathy, what would you put on the list?"

Chris promptly replied, "...Not Fade Away."

He elaborated on the book’s stark contrast between life and death. It clearly provided him with a sincere understanding of empathy, and this galvanized my decision to purchase a copy from Powell's Books later that week.

What I Learned In This Book

Would I Recommend To A Friend?

Absolutely. To any friend at any stage of life. Not Fade Away is whole-heartedly satisfying, saturated with honesty, and brutally sobering. Peter is a satellite on the event horizon, relaying his view of a landscape we are all bound to eventually cross, to those of us who are still far away.

Closing Thoughts

The chapter that took me the longest to read was the last one. It's no surprise that Peter passes on, but as long as I was reading, he was still alive. So I procrastinated, not wanting to say goodbye.

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