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Not Fade Away: A Short Life Well Lived
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Not Fade Away: A Short Life Well Lived

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3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  229 ratings  ·  47 reviews
Some people are born to lead and destined to teach by the example of living life to the fullest, and facing death with uncommon honesty and courage. Peter Barton was that kind of person.

Driven by the ideals that sparked a generation, he became an overachieving Everyman, a risk-taker who showed others what was possible. Then, in the prime of his life — hugely successful, ha
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Paperback, 224 pages
Published September 14th 2004 by Harper Perennial (first published 2003)
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Virginia
Jun 29, 2008 Virginia rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who can stomach posthumous memoir of a life cut short
I lived without regrets for like a solid week after reading this book. (Sad to report that I find the motivational effects of inspiring biographies are a little ephemeral).

It's an unspeakably sad story, really, but about a truly inspiring guy.

I ought to read it again and buy myself another week of regret-free living!
Stan
At its best, this book shows a dying man reflecting remarkably calmly on his life and his imminent mortality. But far more of the book simply feels like yet another example of the self-absorption and self-indulgence characteristic of Generation Me. I got tired of hearing how proud he was of how outrageous he was as a youth, or how brilliant and iconoclastic he was as a high-flyer in the worlds of business and politics.
The reason for reading a book like this is to glean unique insights about a pr
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Michelle
See, I feel bad not LOVING this book knowing it was his last life wish to give this advice. I just often times found what he was saying to be very repetitive. All nice, helpful things - just a bit of overkill for me. I think the book need more progression and less of the lines "What I learned was two things" for every chapter.

All in all, it's obvious that he was a wonderful man, who lived his life to the fullest and his knowledge and perspective spread to all those who knew him.

The last three
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Otis Chandler
Mar 20, 2014 Otis Chandler marked it as to-read
Sacca and Nate recommend
Dan Chance
Peter Barton was blessed to have lived life by his own lights... or in hind sight was he? Died Sept 2002. Visionary for cable TV, thrill seeker. When he knew he knew he was going to die he hired Lawrence Shames to write his biography. Lawrence spent months sitting at Barton's side with the family just doing family things. What emerged was a thoughtful man and I'm glad I bought this book at Goodwill in 2010.

Barton said of entrepreneurs: "If they are good at what they do and if they have some luck
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David
very touching memoir by Peter Barton, who died of cancer at 51. He worked with Laurence Shames to get his story down on paper as he was going through chemotherapy etc. The chapters (fewer than half; it's not a strict alternation pattern) in Shames' voice were somewhat uninteresting -- Peter's energy level was fading, lots of friends visited him, etc. -- but the ones (most) in Barton's voice were terrific. It's partly about his outlook on his impending death, what might come after, etc., but most ...more
Lisa McCall Hodgson
I'm not sure I could give less than 5 stars to a work that allows us inside the private world of a dying human being, a world that most of us will someday experience in our own ways (some of us will die unexpectedly). One thing our culture does not teach us is how to die, and this likely is because Western culture includes a fear of that stage of our travels.

Why shouldn't Peter Barton have been pleased with his life? He lived life more fully than most. However, he presents the pros and the cons
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Fran Toolan
Courage. This book is a story of courage.

Peter Barton was not well known to me, but the company he create was. A retired billionaire at 46, he died at 51 of stomach cancer. He left behind a wife and three children.

This book chronicles his death, which may sound morbid, but Peter puts us at ease with it, and invites us to share his unique insights into what is important in life.

Not many of us could do what Peter does in these pages, nor in his extraordinary life. He continually tells us how his
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Benjamin Shepherd-Quiñones
A great, insightful and educative book that has the powerful effect of changing your perspective of life. Two thumbs up.
Emily
someone at work recommended this to me so many times that i finally just bought it (it was also remaindered, so i got it for about $3). normally i shy away from books like this: memoirs, memoirs about cancer, memoirs by businessmen, etc. but the multiple recommendations got to me. it was good - i think it was perhaps overhyped for me, or i had too high of expecations. but there were definitely a few moments where i was verging on being teary, and peter barton (the man writing the book) did have ...more
Susan
I was drawn to this book in a used bookstore by its cover and title. This book read like a first draft and was repetitive and clunky. I never really got a solid sense of who Peter Barton was and what he wanted to tell us. I kept waiting for his deepest thoughts, the crushing fears about the finality of death and saying goodbye to his children and wife. He said he wasn't sure if there was a heaven -- he only "wished on stars." I wanted to ask him so many questions. I finished the book but the boo ...more
Ellen
This is a fabulous, moving, poignant, tale of the last months of Peter Barton. Yes, it's about dying but it's more about living until the very end. Barton's discoveries about himself, his world and THE world are many and varied; you'll nod, you'll swallow the lump in your throat or cry, you'll smile, you'll shake your head in wonder. Full of thought provoking insight and conclusions. Highly recommend this story.
Alison
I picked this up at Book Expo a couple years back and just got around to reading it. I'm a memoir junkie, and have helped people write memoirs so I'm sort of interested in how two people go about tacking the task together. But the writing just isn't as compelling as the stories this guy has to tell. I wish I could have sat next to him at a dinner party and heard them. The book didn't do them justice.
Scott
This is a deceptive book. A simple, short memoir of a successful man who knows he is about to die from cancer at the age of 51. Much is expected but there are flashes of total, raw honesty that make it a must-read. Life is short, but long enough to read this. Almost worth 4 stars. Reminded me a LOT of my colleague Jim Herzog who died of cancer just a year ago at a very young age. You never know...
Barb
Bio/Autobiography of Peter Barton's journey after discovering he was dying of Cancer. A risk taker who tried many careers and was sucessful leveled the playing field when describing the life/death process. "The stories of our life have a due date, like books at the library. Things we've loved get lost of traded in". When I finished this I wanted to take more risks and stop wasting time!
Susan  Odetta
This is one of those books I would never have read had I not accidentally come across it in an Arkansas RV park library. I was attracted to it because of the title: the lyrics to a great Buddy Holly song. The book is about the life and slow death, at 46, of a Baby Boomer. The music resonates, apparently, to more people of my generation than just me. It's a 3-tissue read.
Gail
Peter Barton was a very successful man in all areas of his life, but his life was cut short by cancer. Before he died, he reflected on the many joys and accomplishments of a life well-lived. It is a celebration of a life with no regrets, as well as a lesson for the rest of us to live life to the fullest.
Ingrid
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Scott Brower
This is a book that is funny, sad and uplifting all at once. A tragic tale of a young man, dying of cancer...it really can give you a perspective on life, what is and isn't important and may give you food for thought on the grand idea of life being short and living in the present.
Coco
An inspirational book about a man who lived his life full-out. My brother-in-law had recently died, leaving my sister and young nephews, so this evoked a lot of familiar feelings. A good book to make you get your priorities straight.
Jess
This was one of the most intense memoirs I've ever read.
It made me incredibly sad, but just as happy at the same time.
It is inspiring. It is courageous.
I feel like living without regrets and the rest will just happen.
kathy daily
a story of a business man who rose fast and was ceo of liberty media. he retires early in life and ends up with a life and death battle with cancer. easy read and very interesting view of the author
Kaitlin
Feb 27, 2008 Kaitlin rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who shelter their life with fear.
Heart breaking. I cried from the first page to the last. I was going through my own experience of death and my heart was already too open and raw. It's a beautiful book that makes you smile (and cry).
Sarah
I found this book to be very well written, and a moving account of a man not destined to live an ordinary life.
I wished I had had the pleasure of knowing him after reading his biography.
Brian Watson
Amazing book. A successful business magnate facing death, and writing about it, with a successful journalist who feared becoming close to a dying man. Very unique in style and format.
Elise Grinstead
A very thought-provoking book on being intentional in one's life, especially when faced with the prospect of death. Style of writing very conversational.
Amy Brown
Much much better than Tuesdays with Morrie. Also interesting because Peter was a local here in Denver. Originally drawn to the book by the title.
James
What an inspiring true story & one of my favorite jacket images of all time! This guy lived a wonderful life - something for everyone here.
Beth
Another book about living and loving well when diagnosed with a terminal illness. Has really given me some perspective on what is important.
Michael
This is about a rich guy who had the resources to prolong his life. It is a touching story and worth the read.....mgc
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Laurence Shames has been a New York City taxi driver, lounge singer, furniture mover, lifeguard, dishwasher, gym teacher, and shoe salesman. Having failed to distinguish himself in any of those professions, he turned to writing full-time in 1976 and has not done an honest day’s work since.

His basic laziness notwithstanding, Shames has published twenty books and hundreds of magazine articles and es
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