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A Year to Live : How to Live This Year As If It Were Your Last

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  772 Ratings  ·  74 Reviews
Contemporary spiritual teacher Sogyal Rinpoche's "The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying dealt with how to use the consciousness of our mortality to live a better life. Now the author of the perennial bestseller "Who Dies?" tells us how to live mindfully each moment, each hour, each day as if it were all that was left.
Hardcover, 175 pages
Published March 18th 1997 by Harmony (first published 1997)
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I stopped buying books years ago out of a need to save space and money and a desire to be more enviornmentally friendly. However, I would consider purchasing Levine's "A Year to Live" just so I could look at its spine on my bookshelf and remember the lessons contained therein. The strategy of "life review" and having mental conversations with those people who you have hurt or who have heart you were really, really valuable tools that I've been using and have found very worthwhile.
However, with
Dec 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"The next time you have a cold, practice dying. And in the spaciousness of surrender watch the fear of death bound through with its attendant scenarios. Take each breath as though with it might be the last. Watch your life pass before your eyes. Did you notice something left undone? Do it on the next clear day. Practice living." (Quote from Chapter 2 - Practice Dying) This book gave me a great gift - an insight to who and why, ...and how and when. I started the journey thru death in an attempt t ...more
Steve Woods
I have seen a lot of violent death in my life. It always perplexed me somewhat that it was someone else who caught it. This is generally part of a kind of survivor guilt that many combat veterans experience. My early life was also dominated by serious depression and suicide was an option that was on the table for decades. Now after 7 years of fairly concentrated practice and having well passed my 60th birthday "death" has taken on a quite different timbre. I guess I am in the process of redefini ...more
Dec 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I dearly love the concept that propels this book. Stephen Levine and his wife spent decades providing grief counseling to concentration camp survivors, war veterans, hospice patients, and many others. He brings that experience and unique perspective to "A Year to Live", in which he proposes a revolutionary act: to practice living the next year of one's life as if it were your final 365 days.

It's an exercise in gratitude, awareness, facing fear, and deciding what matters most in one's life. He g
Lubinka Dimitrova
I'm sure that many people found solace in this book, but for me it was too abstract, and most of the author's "insights" were rather meaningless to me. Its all too poetic language failed to convey a more practical way for the reader (well, at least for me) to deal with the matter at hand. He and his family supposedly decided to live a year as if it's their last, and after a year of contemplating their lives in a rather general manner (ok, seeking and giving forgiveness and preparing themselves n ...more
Oct 18, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who will die someday
Recommended to drozda by: s. wasserman
I suppose it's no surprise to hear that a book about the end of life was not an easy read, however it was more the writing style than the subject that made this a slow go for me. I felt it to be a a positive assignment and an obviously important topic so I kept at it till the end.
Levine has worked for decades helping people to adjust their thinking and release their demons so as to approach life's close as a natural leave taking.

He says on page 85, "It takes a thousand moments of remembering fo
Jan 18, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting topic to explore, but not sure he quite figured out how to really live like it was your last. He definitely has some insight into how to better prepare yourself for death and talks a lot about what death is and is not. Some of the chapters are redundant or purposeless. I do like many of the suggestions, such as forgiveness, life review and opening yourself up with meditations. An interesting read, but not enlightening.
Jan 22, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I thought this would be interesting, but it was not. It's essentially a self-help book with many touchy-feely exercises, like "create a song of yourself," so unless you're already into that kind of thing, i wouldn't suggest you spend your precious last year reading this. instead, read some damn good fiction, take some drugs, get beat up or beat someone up (or both), and breathe deeply.
Nancy Long
Sep 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Loved this book! I will return to it again and again...
Timothy Phillips
Jul 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When life today is precarious, filled with so much uncertainty, we can feel lost. I first read Stephen Levine’s book when I was going through a stage of what I describe as my mid-life crisis. I wasn’t dying in a literal sense but was questioning my life’s path. This is now my re-read of this book. I also bought a new copy for a colleague recently retired, feeling at loose ends and wondering what he wants to do with the rest of his life.

What would you do if you had one year to live? Another part
Jan 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mindfulness
"Watch your life pass before your eyes. Did you notice something left undone?"

"Atheists don't use their dying to bargain for a better seat at the table. They may not even believe supper is being served."

"Death makes life safe. Who would sell their death given the opportunity? If you were offered a hundred million dollars so that you would live 500 years, no matter what, who would take the chance? Who would gamble on 350 years in an iron lung, 200 years in a coma, 400 years of Alzheimer's disease
Matt Harris
Oct 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful - partly read this book and partly listened to the audiobook on audible, because Stephen Levine's voice is very moreish. He's obviously lived for so long with death and dying top of mind and his experience and openness comes through.

Lots of Buddhist, Hindu and Zen influences but also Christian, Jewish, Islam and scientific information. Aetheists won't be put off either I think.

I'll be working with this book for a year... month by month, meeting with a small group and discussing it. Wh
Ashu Shah
Nov 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very nice book, lots to contemplate on despite it's small number of pages. I greatly enjoyed Stephen Levine's writing style, poetic and to the point at the same time. I was inspired to read this book when I read Dharma Punx, but Noah Levine. This book really challenges you to consider living one year of your life as if it were your last. Very uplifting and inspiring on what most people would consider at the surface as a dark topic. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Mariko Middleton
Feb 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this book as part of a course. I enjoyed parts of this book. I really enjoyed the 'soft belly' exercises, sending loving kindness to self as you would to others, some attitudes about death not being the event that 'does our work for us and sets us free' and rather that it is us who have to do the work to set ourselves free.
Oct 20, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
Tried twice to read it. Just too much of a slog, too focused on himself.
Tracy Pullman
Jan 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Poignant and powerful.
“When we are living our life instead of only thinking it, nothing remains undone, and if we should die that day we are pleased that our death can be so complete. When everything is brought up-to-date, and the heart is turned toward itself, it is a good day to die.”
Jul 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have learned a new way to look at each day from this book. Some "exercises" of the mind have been amazingly easy to incorporate into my own quiet time.
Jason Baer
Feb 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic book- gives an excellent perspective on life, and practical tools to live it to the fullest.
Stephanie Thoma
After reading "The Untethered Soul," I knew any book by Stephen Levine would end up on my 'to read' list. "A Year to Live" is one of those reads that isn't as thought provoking as it is thought-uncovering. We face our mortality everyday, and we see it in the news, our communities, and our families. Whether death is something you've comes to term with in regards to yourself or another, the chapters clearly outline specific facets of death to consider before it's too late.

Some standout phrases, pa
A Year to Live teaches us how to live consciously and mindfully, every single day, hour, moment — as if it were our last.
Things that I related to:
Remain open
Soften into the pain Surrender and let it go
On death: is there an afterlife? Does it matter? Life this life instead of worrying/wondering about the next one.
I won’t die alone, I had a strong, warm light when I meditated on this, I saw all the faces that love me, they will be there when I die.
If I make the time to deepen ones spirituality I w
May 20, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As the author and his wife face serious illness that has them quite possibly approaching the end-of-life, I picked up a copy of Stephen Levine’s 2009 book A Year to Live, in which the couple lived a full year as if it were their last. An author and teacher well-known for his work about death and dying, Levine undertook the experiment to see what he might discover about living by preparing to die.

A Year to Live teaches us how to live consciously and mindfully, every single day, hour, moment — as
Katarzyna Kotynia
Całość napisana bardzo przystępnym językiem. Jenak tylko kilka aspektów, poruszonych w książce, zwróciło moje zainteresowanie.
Autor skupia się na samoświadomości. Ćwiczenie "ostatni oddech - pierwszy oddech" z przyjemnością wdrożę we własnym życiu. Bardzo chętnie pogłębię swoją wiedzę związaną ze świadomym śnieniem, o krórej mówi jeden rozdział książki (szkoda, że to tylko jeden).
Natomiast przykłady medytacji oraz temat "ołtarz dla życia" fajnym wstępem dla początkujących, niekoniecznie musiało
Renee Legris
The basic theme is very intriguing, and of course relevant to every human being. What bothered me is that Stephen needed an editor with a firmer hand with grammar. Incomplete sentences, tangled clauses, unclear refer-backs. It got very frustrating - if I hadn't been reading it with a group I might have bailed. Eventually the key turned out to be deciding to think of him as a poet rather than a prose writer. Then all the idiosyncratic constructions were just "art"!

I'm not at all saying that he d
May 23, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Warmly recommended by someone at a Buddhist study group. I liked the idea that by preparing for death, we become more able to live fully. I thought it might be a good idea of what it takes to prepare for death when I didn't need it and was at the peak of my abilities. I have to admit to following on a stumbling block very early on - this book starts with the assumption of at least 15 minute meditations twice a day. My schedule and current level of discipline are not well suited. My practice is c ...more
Nov 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
A book which invites one to live an introspective life, and to be present in the here and now. The saying, "The trouble is that you think you have time" has stuck with me for some time now. It's not so much about procrastinating, but deferring dealing with the big issues that matter in life. Caught up in everyday happenings, we set an 'after (something) is completed / accomplished, then I'll deal with it' mark, which invariably gets moved forward as we continue to meet deadlines and other milest ...more
The concept isn't entirely new: "What would you do if you had only one year to live?" (And how do you know you have even that long?) Levine, who has worked for many years with the dying, describes his own experience in approaching life and death more mindfully. In the process, he offers specific recommendations for letting go of attachments, forgiving others and ourselves, and eliminating suffering without numbing ourselves to the entire range of feeling. The "soft-belly meditation" is one of th ...more
Raechelle Thomas
I really enjoyed this book. Though I don't plan to actually do the "one year to live" experiment, there are many lessons and meditations throughout the book that are just helpful to live a more full life, deepen ones spirituality and get a deeper sense of oneself. The book definitely can help one to fully appreciate the present; we are, after all, always just a moment away from death really since nobody knows when they will, in fact, die.

I quite liked the life review, the soft belly meditations
Holly Lindquist
Proper perspective is all too scarce these days. This slim little book attempts to supply perspective by insinuating that death might be around the corner, so darn it, better enjoy yourself while you can! It was a decent book, very conversational and easy to read, but it really didn't deliver anything new in the Perspective Department. For a better treatment of the "Egads! We may die!" subject, I'd suggest The Denial of Death.

(However, I did like the portion about getting lost in the desert wit
I thought it'll be a flurry of real life stories about how people really awoke and changed their lives. I expected it to be a truly motivational read for many of us stuck in their jobs or relationships that don't fulfill. I wanted practical examples stemming from all those pronouncements and mantras on mindfulness. Alas, I got only soothing incantations. They may be what some people need, but I really counted on something more brimming over with life than another book of compassionate deliberati ...more
Oct 15, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There's nothing like a book on dying that makes you want to live! I think the average person is afraid to look at his or her own mortality, and this book is a great guide to bring awareness holistically. Would you really hold onto grudges? Would you regret doing something or nothing? It makes you think about how you show up in the world and since we never know when we will leave, how will we be?

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American poet, author and teacher best known for his work on death and dying.
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“[D]etachment means letting go and nonattachment means simply letting be. (95)” 124 likes
“Letting ourselves be forgiven is one of the most difficult healings we will undertake. And one of the most fruitful. (79)” 86 likes
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