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Not Fade Away: A Short Life Well Lived

Not Fade Away: A Short Life Well Lived
Author: Laurence Shames - Peter Barton
ISBN 13: 9780060737313
ISBN 10: 6073731
Edition: Perennial ed.
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Publication Date: 2004-09-14
Format: Paperback
Pages: 224
List Price: $13.99

Look, I don't kid myself that my little death is any more important than those of the five or six billion people who've died before me. And I don't pretend to any special wisdom about what's happening. But that's the whole point, isn't it? I'm just one more person dying, trying to make sense of what I'm going through. . . .

Praise for Not Fade Away

"This is a wise, funny, and intensely true book—a generous gift from an amazing guy to those of us who are so busy getting through life that we sometimes forget why we're living. Sooner or later, we'll all make the journey Peter Barton took; now, thanks to him, it doesn't look so scary."

—Dave Barry

"A little masterpiece. . . a book to be read by everyone. . . . [It] may be the most honest book I have ever read. . . . Some of [the] phrases and sentences literally took my breath away. . . . [Not Fade Away] lit up my own mind and spirit—dare I include soul?—to consider my own life and purposes."

—Jim Lehrer

"You couldn't know Peter Barton and not know he would face dying in the most adventurous and original way. . . . This is a book full of insight and comfort, wisdom and hope."

—Barry Diller

Publishers Weekly

"I'm hardly the first person to notice that there is only the present, constantly," writes Barton in this extraordinary memoir. "The present moment is lived, and relieved; written, and rewritten. Every previous version still inhabits it." What gives this insight and the many others that follow uncommon power is the ever present fact that Barton, a pioneering entrepreneur in the cable television industry, was dying of stomach cancer as he wrote them. Alternating chapters with mystery writer Shames (The Naked Detective), Barton, who died in September, 2002, at 51, offers us-and his wife and three children-his final rewrite of a life filled with the optimism and idealism of his generation. Barton tells us how it feels to die while the party is still raging, offering us glimpses of a life that packed in everything from being a professional ski bum to working as an aide to New York State governor Hugh Carey to huge success as a visionary businessman (Barton helped found MTV, among other achievements). Readers will be knocked out by his honesty and his utter lack of self-pity or sentimentality. The "gift" of terminal cancer, according to Barton, is that "it doesn't kill you all at once. It gives you time to set your house in order.... It gives you time to think, to sum things up." Setting his house in order included taking his family for a balloon ride at dawn. Summing up what matters, he reminds us that it is the large and small moments of pleasure and love, those very present moments, that redeem us in the end. This is a very beautiful book about how to live. (Sept.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.