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Eugene O'Kelly
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Chasing Daylight: How My Forthcoming Death Transformed My Life: How My Forthcoming Death Transformed My Life

3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  1,475 Ratings  ·  158 Reviews
"Must the end of life be the worst part?

Can it be made the best?"

At 53, Eugene O'Kelly was in the full swing of life. Chairman and CEO of KPMG, one of the largest U.S. accounting firms, he enjoyed a successful career and drew happiness from his wife, children, family, and close friends. He was thinking ahead: the next business trip, the firm's continued success, weekend pl
ebook, 160 pages
Published January 13th 2006 by McGraw-Hill Education (first published December 5th 2005)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jane Cornett
Jul 27, 2011 Jane Cornett rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My husband read this book shortly after receiving a stage-4 terminal diagnosis. It was a huge help to him in resolving his feelings and being able to be "in the moment" and I'm grateful that I could be "in the moment" with him. I have since read this book myself and corny as it sounds, it's not a book about dying, it's a book about how to go about living. No regrets here, your life is what you can make of it.
Caleb Liu
Given that this memoir is written as a final testament after corporate CEO Eugene O'Kelly discovers that he has at most 3-6 months to live due to an inoperable brain tumour, with the whole of it written during that period, it would seem downright unsympathetic and unfeeling to say harsh things about it. Let me begin by saying that I fully appreciate his noble purpose in writing the book, that he truly believes that sharing the insights he has learned during his final days and months in confronti ...more
Было сложно читать книгу "В погоне за ускользающим светом" автор которой знает, что ему осталось жить около трёх месяцев...

Юджин О'Келли, 53 летний руководитель американского отделения KPMG, одной из крупнейших аудиторских компаний мира казалось бы имеет всё что нужно успешному человеку - успех, семья, карьера, достаток, но... диагноз неоперабельного рака мозга резко вносит свои коррективы в жизнь человека.

После таких книг враз "просыпаешься" и начинаешь более внимательно присматриваться к своим
Oct 09, 2012 Barbara rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The one word that came to mind while reading this was "tedious". If I read CEO one more time, I think I would have quit reading. After the first paragraph you get it --he was a big shot in the business world. Did I need to keep being told about it? No!

Reading about someone's death is always touching. Story is interesting but it would have been better written as an essay rather than a book. It felt to me that I kept reading the same paragraph over and over; it was just arranged differently. I th
Mr. O'Kelly was the former CEO of KPMG, the firm that my husband used to work for. All KPMG employees were able to get a free copy of his book, so, Mr. B did.

Obviously autobiographical, it's about the methodical (yet poignant) manner in which O'Kelly went about the process of putting his affairs in order and saying good-bye to people when he found out he had less than three months to live. It's straight forward, not maudlin, and it has lots of golf analogies ("Chasing Daylight" being one of the
Patrick Williams
Jul 26, 2013 Patrick Williams rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book and since we are all going to die someday, I was curious how someone in their last months would view life and how we can learn from this for our own lives.

His diagnosis of brain cancer come rather suddenly and his book is his documentation of how he grappled with this fact, prepared for his upcoming death and learned different life lessons.

For me, I found the life lessons he learned during this time to be good for a person to ponder. Here are some of the lessons:

1. Live in the
Nov 14, 2012 Vinnydbullet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was working on KPMG and heard that Eugene died. Even though i worked there i never knew the guy existed. He was way beyond anything i could ever imagine myself being. The company was gracious enough to offer a book to anyone who wanted one. I jumped on the opportunity to learn what this was about. I was really impressed and i cried several times in the book. It was touching and amazing to think about what he had gone through. I learned a lesson that is very difficult to accept and changed my p ...more
Shirley Brosius
Feb 15, 2017 Shirley Brosius rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Eugene O’Kelly was CEO of a major American firm when he was diagnosed with a brain tumor at age 53. He immediately decided to approach death as he had life—with careful planning. This led him to leave his job and to choose a medical protocol that would allow him to make the most of the little time he had left. He died three and a half months after his diagnosis.

Rather than focusing on what might be, O’Kelly decided he would live in the moment, enjoying its beauty. He would not think about the pa
Rishi Prakash
Oct 02, 2014 Rishi Prakash rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was written by Eugene O'Kelly when he was 53 year old in 2005 after getting diagnosed with an advanced-stage cancer. At that time he was the chairman and CEO of KPMG (one of the Big 4 Accounting and Audit Firm) and was working almost 18 hours a day. The diagnosis was a bolt from blue as he had never seen it coming and hence was completely ambushed. He wrote this book during his final 100 days when he could see “life” slipping every day from his life.

He makes up his mind and gets deter
Melanie Coughlin
Aug 01, 2008 Melanie Coughlin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The real test of a book for me is whether I remember it after I have closed its pages for the last time. A year after doing just that, I find this book is in my head. Yes, as some of the other reviewers have remarked, the book is a bit depressing. But the big picture outweighs the occasional feelings of sadness I felt in reading it. Overall, I feel this is a story of hope and of compassion. The author discusses how he, as a wealthy man of means, sat next to people of much lesser means during his ...more
Dec 23, 2016 Bhall rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Don't expect the Gospel in this end of life tale...but do expect to be encouraged by the story of KPMG's CEO as he spins out his last 100 many good take aways for all.
Jan 13, 2017 Robert rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ars moriendi.
Catherine Gillespie
I checked out Chasing Daylight: How My Forthcoming Death Transformed My Lifeafter someone else’s recommendation, but I almost returned it to the library unread. A book about someone’s forthcoming death? I figured it would either be a total downer or would be one of those pink and purple fluffy cloud books. On a whim I decided to read the first few pages while I was packing the bag to go back to the library.

And I couldn’t put it down.

The author of the book, Eugene O’Kelly, was CEO of KPMG (one of
Pierced Librarian
Dec 17, 2016 Pierced Librarian rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one comes to mind.
Shelves: grief, drudge, memoir
"I was blessed. I was old I had three months to live."

So begins what should have been a haunting story of a man's death sentence right at a moment in time he was powerful, driven, successful, wealthy, and going 100 miles an hour in the direction of more.

As much as I desperately wanted to like this story, it just read like a CEO (He was a CEO. In case you missed that- he was a CEO. Did he mention he was a CEO, because he is a CEO. Just do not ever forget he is a CEO.) writing a book to underlin
Byron Edgington
Nov 29, 2014 Byron Edgington rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Here we have a how-to book on dying. Mr. O’Kelly, who passed away in September 2005, has written down his précis on the art of leaving this mortal coil with dignity, with loose ends tied up and with attention paid to the things that really matter. O’Kelly, late CEO of accounting firm KPMG, matched his writing style with his corporate behavior. Like we’d expect the head of a 20,000 employee corporation to do, in his book on the final passage O’Kelly took charge of details, had a voracious appetit ...more
Jan 28, 2016 Uma rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Chasing Daylight is the touching and inspirational memoir of former KPMG CEO Eugene O'Kelley. It is completed in 3.5 months between his diagnosis with brain cancer and his death in September 2005. It is a great reminder of the importance of living a balanced and meaningful life. I will remember this more as a sad account of someone bravely facing their own death. I also found it to be painful to read.

When incurable cancer visited him at age 53, he began wrapping up his work and letting go of the
Must the end of life be the worst part? Can it be made the best?

At 53, Eugene O'Kelly was in the full swing of life. Chairman and CEO of KPMG, one of the largest U.S. accounting firms, he enjoyed a successful career and drew happiness from his wife, children, family, and close friends. He was thinking ahead: the next business trip, the firm's continued success, weekend plans with his wife, his daughter's first day of eighth grade.

Then in May 2005, Gene was diagnosed with late-stage brain cancer
Heidi The Hippie Librarian
It was fascinating how Gene took his experience as a CEO and applied the same principles that he used on the job for creating an "awakening" type death experience. While most of us would have been crushed by the finality of it, Gene took the fact that he knew he was dying as a blessing. He points out that most deaths are either sudden or lingering while he knew he was going to die and he generally knew the time frame.

Some of his actions were a bit strange to my mind but everyone handles the tran
Brian Davis
Jun 17, 2013 Brian Davis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Powerful illustration that nobody can have it all and keep it. CEO of great American firm, KPMG, all the money all the power all the influence. In one day it's all gone when he finds out he will be dead in less than 6 mos. everything in THIS world is fleeting and temporary. Have to leverage whatever God gives us b/c tomorrow isn't promised.

Interesting to me how even preparing for death, author is hanging on to as much control as possible. Trying to manage every aspect. Doesn't appear to accept t
Jul 23, 2014 Rubina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is Gene O'Kelly's account of the final months of his life after he was diagnosed with having advanced stage brain cancer and given three to six months to live. O'Kelly, then the Chairman and CEO of KPMG, had a happy family and good friends when his life, plans and future was changed overnight with his diagnosis. The book basically describes his search to savor the limited time he had left by simplifying life, connecting with nature, loved ones and living within the moment. Some reviews have ...more
Jan 07, 2017 Aaron rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received this book as a gift from a relative who was greatly impressed by it. As such, its subject matter and style are not familiar to me. Therefore I can not say hot it compares with other books of this genre (I would classify it as quasi self-help).

With that disclaimer, I can say that I enjoyed reading this book. I really appreciated the authors' (I think Mrs. O'Kelly deserves at least equal credit here) perspectives. As a former accountant I could completely identify with Mr. O'Kelly's app
An inspiring memoir, written after O'Kelly had received the diagnosis of inoperable, terminal brain cancer giving him between 3-6 months left to live.

I admired how he faced his new reality squarely, determined to live out his remaining days in the best way possible. He wanted to die the best death possible, and that led him on a quest to fill what time he had left with as many "perfect moments" as possible.

I liked how he got me thinking about how I would spend my time, if I only had 100 days le
Jemar Jed
May 08, 2012 Jemar Jed rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Eugene and Corinne O'Kelley's book instilled in me the importance of clarity, personal presence, and acceptance in a deep, meaningful way that aphorisms never could. It reached me through the primary author's candid, truthful, and personal account of the unexpected rewards gained by his final and full embrace of these principal virtues. One can feel an underlying urgency in O'Kelley's messages throughout this book, while almost paradoxically sharing with him a sense of tranquility and peace due ...more
Uwe Hook
Aug 11, 2013 Uwe Hook rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a beautiful gift from a dying man to the living. It is a reminder that life is fragile and that what we think is of utmost importance often isn't. It is rare to get this close to the feelings of the CEO of a major company. Without being sappy, the author thoughtfully shares the daily chronicle of his life from the first inkling that something is awry through choices he faced and decisions he made in treament options and their side effects.

For people in the business rat race, Gene l
May 17, 2011 Nicole rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An amazing and inspiring book. Eugene O'Kelly was a CEO of a very large accounting firm in NYC when he was diagnosed with a glioblastoma mulitforme brain tumor at age 53. After his diagnosis, he used the remaining time he had in an amazing way. I was so impressed with how conscious he was in his decisions on how to die with dignity. He had incredible insight on how to approach the end of his life reconnecting, slowing down, having what he called "perfect moments", and finding ways to "unwind" th ...more
Aug 24, 2008 Jill rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book at a colleague's behest and not without some measure of apprehension. But the book was more thought provoking than disturbing for someone who doesn't like to think too deeply about issues of mortality and what happens when it all comes to an end. Although I was sobbing by the end of the book, on the mrt no less. While O'Kelly admits that he's one of the lucky few who had the resources (in terms of wealth, access to care, strong support from his family and friends) to ease t ...more
Bev Simpson
Referred by my son who loved this book. He is 42 and working hard at an interesting but demanding job and trying to balance a wonderful family life with a demanding career - likely reasons why this book resonated strongly with him - and I'm sure he liked the golf metaphors. I wasn't as captured likely cause I didn't reference as clearly with the author's life. I also didn't like the concept of "unwinding" although I think it's better than closure. Is there really any closure to relationships whe ...more
May 16, 2014 Elaine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is perfect for anyone facing a terminal illness, or anyone who works so much that they forget to live. It teaches how to live in the moment, and find balance in your life. The author was a CEO for KPMG, a major accounting firm when he was given 100 days to live. He immediately began planning how to make the most of those final days, finding "perfect moments" in many of life's simplicities, and appreciating those moments for the gifts that they are. My store manager recommended this to ...more
I liked the idea of the unwindings. He really put a lot of thought into the people he loved, the people he wanted a chance to see one last time.
He could have easily slipped into "Why Me?" mode and given up on his remaining life. Instead he filled the time he had left with as many Perfect Moments as he could. That's something we can all try to add to our daily life. An awareness that the present is to be savored as much as the future is to be aspired to. The whole meditation thing was a little to
Mark Manderson
Nov 29, 2016 Mark Manderson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully written with great lessons. The final 2 chapters are incredibly moving.
Here are my takeaways:
He created a list of every friend he wanted final encounter with and spent time thinking about how they met, their top
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“When facing reality, we want to see the big picture. To simplify, it’s important to consider all aspects of our experience. The experience of being in the moment centers us, and being centered puts us in the moment. Recognizing perfection requires us to notice where we are at any given moment. If we are in the center, also look to the periphery. Likewise, if we are on the periphery, recognize where the other rings are and where the center is. Achieving balance is the ability to be centered wherever we are. Ideally, we want to increase the size of the center so that it encompasses as many rings as possible.” 2 likes
“It’s a blessing. It’s a curse. It’s what you get for saying hello to people. At some point, a good-bye is coming, too. Not just to all the people you love and who love you back, but to the world as well.” 1 likes
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