2 minutes

On the Shortness of Life

General information


Disclaimer: I read this book in German.

On The Shortness Of Life is a 2,000 year old, 20-page masterpiece by Seneca, Roman stoic philosopher and teacher to the emperors, about time and how to best use it, to ensure you lead a long and fulfilling life.

De Brevitate Vitae in Latin, was written by Seneca in 49 AD, as a moral essay in form of a letter, addressed to his father-in-law.

I really find it remarkable that the ideas which are so crystal clear in this book are still so relevant after such a long period of time. I highly recommend this book to everyone. It is short and full of wisdom. Reading it regularly might help in case of severe procrastination. I also want to read it again every once in a while.

Key lessons

We all fear death, but life is long if you know how to use it. Putting things off is the biggest waste of life: it snatches away each day as it comes, and denies us the present by promising the future: live immediately. In any situation in life you will find delights and relaxations and pleasures if you are prepared to make light of your troubles and not let them distress you.


It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it.

You live as if you were destined to live forever, no thought of your frailty ever enters your head, of how much time has already gone by you take no heed. You squander time as if you drew from a full and abundant supply, though all the while that day which you bestow on some person or thing is perhaps your last.

You act like mortals in all that you fear, and like immortals in all that you desire

People are frugal in guarding their personal property; but as soon as it comes to squandering time they are most wasteful of the one thing in which it is right to be stingy.

It is not that we have a short space of time, but that we waste much of it. Life is long enough, and it has been given in sufficiently generous measure to allow the accomplishment of the very greatest things if the whole of it is well invested.

Read in one day

Audible (audio book) 🎧

397 Words

2019-10-31 01:14 +0000

4b49eb5 @ 2020-01-03

comments powered by Disqus