Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Not Fade Away: A Short Life Well Lived” as Want to Read:
Not Fade Away: A Short Life Well Lived
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Not Fade Away: A Short Life Well Lived

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  1,265 ratings  ·  129 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, happ
Paperback, 224 pages
Published September 14th 2004 by Harper Perennial (first published 2003)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Not Fade Away, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Not Fade Away

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.20  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,265 ratings  ·  129 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Not Fade Away: A Short Life Well Lived
Virginia Hume
Jun 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
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!
Otis Chandler
Mar 20, 2014 marked it as to-read
Sacca and Nate recommend
Janie Johnson
Jun 28, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015-challenge
This a story about living life, pain, love, faith, and ultimately death. Peter Barton was full of life, energy and passion when he discovers he has cancer. This is his account of his life and how he lived it to the fullest.

I liked the way this book was wrote both as a memoir and a biography, and how it was written by 2 different people. I think it captured the importance of not giving up and living life fully every day. I also like how we were allowed to live Peter's life through reading this bo
Aug 27, 2018 rated it liked it
While this book was terribly sad and also quite inspiring, I just didn't love it. It was a great, fast read and one I am glad was recommended to me, but it just didn't hit me like I expected it to. I think Peter Barton was an exceptional man and this book was a commemoration of a life very well-lived. I actually found his thoughts on dying and mortality very uplifting, but I kind of wish I got to know him a little better through this book. I loved the honesty and reality in which he and Shames b ...more
Mar 24, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
John Box
Jul 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Not Fade Away is part biography, part business book, and part coming-to-terms-with-mortality memoir.

Peter Barton was a highly motivated baby boomer who poured everything he had into life. Everything he did, he did full throttle. From being a ski bum to working on political campaigns, to being a cable television pioneer, and to most importantly being a dedicated husband and father.

This book is a wonderful snapshot of a man well worth emulating both personally and professionally. Business-wise, it
Jun 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
"Seem reckless, but be prepared. Act crazy but do your homework."

"Fear makes us study ourselves, forces us to admit our soft spots, to see where we are vulnerable."

"That excursion on the water taught me that each moment is a life, that life is renewed every time we're walloped by beauty, every time we're shaken up by gratitude and love."

"But here's an odd thing I've noticed about people: If you put aside what they say and look at how people actually live, you'd have to conclude that they believe
Eddie Chua
Mar 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
In a mortal world where death is inevitable, yet many not being able to live it the fullest, this is Peter Barton's story of living and enjoying his life, even in the moments just before his death.

There was a quote in side which I feel can be the advise and lesson for the whole book, "Live as though you'll love forever. And be prepared to die tomorrow". If was imaging that if was in a similar situation as Peter, how would my story be laid out. Did i take risks in life or just follow the flow an
Feb 27, 2021 rated it really liked it
This is a book you can read in a day, as I did. Really condensed account of a short but remarkable, packed life, and the process of dying.

The structure works well, told as the story of his life, and the story of his illness, intersecting in clever ways, until they converge.

There’s a lot of condensed wisdom and experience in here, and it does a good job of not preaching; we are free to take from it what we want. For my part, I’m grateful he put in the effort to tell his story, and I’m glad to h
Nga Dao Quynh
A friend recommended it to me after I finished “When breath becomes air”. Another book about death by cancer, (my reading begs the question what I am trying to prepare myself for)

This is one of few books that makes me stop many times just to mull over, wishing I’d remember these words after I finish it, but at the same time I can’t wait to keep reading. While “When breath becomes air” is a call to live a meaningful life, what this book to me is about to live your life as your own.

How many times
Jeannette M. Hartman
May 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
This is a joyful book about dying. If that seems like an existential absurdity, it's not in the hands of author and entrepreneur Peter Barton. Barton, a founder and CEO of Liberty Media and passionate advocate for such innovative programming as the Discovery Channel, Fox Sports Net, Black Entertainment Television and QVC, lived life to the fullest. When he was diagnosed with stomach cancer in his mid-40s, he could look back on a lifetime of powerful experiences and wonderful achievements. His bo ...more
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful book. How I wish it was longer.

Thank you Peter, wherever you are, for inspiring me and I'm sure everyone who has read the book, to never take yourself to seriously and to live life to the fullest. A bit upsetting how readers in the comment section claim the book to be self-serving. The man is in his last moments, and the book is about him, its only fair to let him speak whatever is on his and embellish himself with all the wonderful stories that mightve gone untold if it was for his r
Jun 25, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Bob Hawkins
Dec 28, 2015 rated it it was ok
Autobiography of cable TV mogul reflecting on his life -- as with many deathbed autobiographies it was a bit self-serving...
Ted Haussman
Jun 19, 2017 rated it really liked it

The final memento of a dying man, who succeeded wildly in the cable industry, only to find his life cut short when diagnosed with terminal cancer in his late 40's. Courageously, the author fought to the end, gaining perspective on his life and untimely death, facing it with wonder and finally acceptance, even if that word were somewhat distasteful to him. It's mostly written by Peter Barton, but with some contextual coloring by the co-author who befriended and came to know Barton in his dying mo
Alexander Rivas
Jan 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-books-read
I enjoy books written by authors that are on the brink of death. My statement might sound harsh being that my enjoyment comes from someone dying, but I find it such a unique experience to write on that few people ever take the time to write about. The author led a fantastic life with incredible experiences and shared his journey and approach to life. As a father, it saddens me to think what it will feel like to leave your kids behind and books like this one remind me that you never know when you ...more
Laurel Morris
Mar 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: top_rec
This book should be more Well Known! Not Fade Away is a beautifully composed book that encompasses the adventures - humdingers, the good, & the bad stuff - of a life well lived. By that description you’d think this book is long and tedious , though it is NOT. I read it in two days and as someone who has dyslexia, I can say it was an “easy read” and obviously worth your time. I’m not the type to give books to everyone for gifts, though you can bet that I will confidently hand over copies of this ...more
Jan 02, 2021 rated it it was ok
I was hate reading it half way through. It was a short read and I wanted to finish it, kept hoping it would get better. Look, if you really want to hear a baby boomer go on and on about all the cool things he did in his life (that wouldn't be possible any more), then go for it. The name dropping (Sinatra, Clinton, big media execs,etc. got tiring and boring). So many better books about what it's like to die and so many better books that would catalog someone who had a true impact on many people i ...more
Travis J Stoliker
Oct 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I love this book! "I promised myself that I wouldn't have a bad day for the rest of my life. If someone was wasting my time, I'd excuse myself and walk away. If a situation bothered me or refused to get resolved, I'd shrug and move on. I'd squander no energy on petty annoyances, poison no minutes with useless regret. I'd make a point of noticing the small of the air, the shifting light on the mountains." ...more
Hayley Dyer
Jul 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best books I have read all year. Peter wrote a graceful, thought-provoking book to deal with his early death. This book reminded me of the Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius, and I think every person, both living and dying, should read this book - it's definitely changed my life and reminded me to keep my dreams on the front burner. ...more
Feb 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-to-read
Beautifully written, self deprecating at times, and often hilarious, this memoir is truly a gem.

When cancer surprises Peter Barton, he recenters himself and lives his life to the fullest with determination. This book follows his journey post-diagnosis through his own eyes, and those of his confidant, Laurence Shames.

Full review to come later
Brian Worthge
Feb 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The most honest book I’ve read in awhile. This is something that I think I’ll reread once every few years as a reminder to live life fully and not get dragged down by everyday inconveniences. Peter Barton’s life was most definitely well lived. His courage to write this at twilight of his life has probably changed so many lives for the better
Cj Oordt
Sep 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
A really honest account of a fascinating guy facing down his own death, in the least depressing way possible. I thought he had a pretty unique perspective without a lot of the fluff that many books on mortality have, especially if they are mostly optimistic. If I am ever diagnosed with cancer this will be one of the first books I reach for.
Jinny Lay
Dec 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written memoir of Peter Barton. Read it quickly thinking what it would be like when I face the end stage of my life and what I would like to say to my family and loved ones. A life well lived starts today!
Mathias Mueller
May 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I have ever read. The reader develops some very close relationship with the dying Peter Barton. In the end, you have the feeling of having lost a friend. The book is thought-provoking, inspiring and very touching.
Apr 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
When you know how a book ends, it’s hard to pick it up, but this is a journey to the end of life that we all hope we can achieve when life is cut short. It is sad and yes, you will cry but you’ll come away admiring how the author, who had everything faced the unbearable.
Raymond Cushing
May 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Reading any of Laurence Shames other novels is fun. He is a very entertaining writer. Reading this work of his is not only enjoyable, but uplifting, as well. It is a true Celebration of a Life well lived.
Jul 14, 2017 rated it liked it
interesting life...wish I knew his birth date
Andrew Loudoun
Oct 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
A must read. What an incredible life.
Feb 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biographies
Earnest and full of life.
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia
  • The Lessons of History
  • Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don't Know
  • All You Needed Was Love: The Beatles After the Beatles
  • Inferno: Alexander McQueen
  • I Am Brian Wilson: A Memoir
  • The Clash: Strummer, Jones, Simonon, Headon
  • Millôr Definitivo: A Bíblia Do Caos
  • The Invisible Hand
  • Álgebra Linear
  • Probability Theory: The Logic of Science
  • Correr: O Exercício, a Cidade e o Desafio da Maratona
  • Erections, Ejaculations, Exhibitions, and General Tales of Ordinary Madness
  • The Complete Calvin and Hobbes - Book Three
  • Kings of Crypto: One Startup's Quest to Take Cryptocurrency Out of Silicon Valley and Onto Wall Street
  • The Complete Calvin and Hobbes - Book Two
  • The Jam: Our Story
  • A Breath of Life
See similar books…
See top shelves…
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 more than twenty books and hundreds of magazine artic

News & Interviews

Believe it or not, we're halfway through 2021! As is our tradition, this is the time when the Goodreads editorial team burrows into our data to...
97 likes · 76 comments
“If you’ve got your health, you can always make some money. But all the dough in the world can’t buy back your health. Isn’t it clear that the person who compromises his health in the name of making money is cutting himself a really lousy deal?” 1 likes
More quotes…