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Publisher's Summary

"It takes an entire lifetime to learn how to die", wrote the Roman Stoic philosopher Seneca (c. 4 BC-65 AD). He counseled readers to "study death always", and took his own advice, returning to the subject again and again in all his writings, yet he never treated it in a complete work. How to Die gathers in one volume, for the first time, Seneca's remarkable meditations on death and dying. Edited and translated by James S. Romm, How to Die reveals a provocative thinker and dazzling writer who speaks with a startling frankness about the need to accept death or even, under certain conditions, to seek it out.

Seneca believed that life is only a journey toward death and that one must rehearse for death throughout life. Here, he tells us how to practice for death, how to die well, and how to understand the role of a good death in a good life. He stresses the universality of death, its importance as life's final rite of passage, and its ability to liberate us from pain, slavery, or political oppression.

Featuring beautifully rendered new translations, How to Die also includes an enlightening introduction, notes, the original Latin texts, and an epilogue presenting Tacitus's description of Seneca's grim suicide.

Introduced, edited, and translated by James S. Romm

©2018 Princeton University Press (P)2018 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

What listeners say about How to Die

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The reading is somewhat flat.

His voice can be somewhat dull and boring at times, however it was still a good purchase.

3 people found this helpful

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How to Live by Learning How to Die

How to Die is a guide on how to live and how to be free. James Romm has selected, translated, and provided context on Seneca’s works about death to help me live better and to prepare for death when it comes. I learned why I should not fear death, how not to have regrets, and how to live freely. He made Seneca’s words come alive.

I am working my way through this series of books. They are an excellent way to present different concepts in philosophy. Each book is a great way to learn about living and dying, leadership, controlling your emotions, and other ideas. They introduce me to different philosophers and point me in directions I would not have gone without such introductions.

The audible version enhanced the experience and made it easier to understand the concepts presented.

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It's really negative

There's a few lines that are something like: If life is hard, you're a vein away from solving your troubles. I understand seeing that life is about balance and with life is death. But this way just negative and way too pro death. Then again, it's interesting to know another point of view. I could see naïve people taking their life after reading this book. So, I don't recommend it at all. Just understand that you'll die, everyone dies, and if you're sad over it, you should be said about life. You can die any second. So enjoy your seconds. Remember that all problems are temporary and even hard ones aren't worth permanent solutions like suicide despite what this theory claims.

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Audio performance not great

The speaker’s voice sounded robotic and mispronounced the name of Seneca’s compatriots. Maybe I am wrong but I don’t think Marcia is pronounced “Mark-ia” or Lucilius as “Lu-kill-ius”.

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Amazing

This will be one of the best uses of 2:30 in human history! Must read!

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Awful narration

The narrator speaks like Google's TTS, ruined it for me. Also, as the audio book lacks the Latin it is consequently very brief. Having been reading and rereading Seneca for years I know that he had an awful lot more to say about death and suicide which has been omitted from this book. Also, his tradegies are not included which included some great lines, such as "Greedy for life is he, who refuses to die, along with the dying world". Why couldn't these quotes and many like them been added to an appendix? Romm is a great translator, and his book 'Dying Every Day: Seneca in the court of Nero' is fantastic. Just a shame he hasn't included more passages from Seneca in this book. The hardcover might be good for those who are new to Seneca and just want a taste of Seneca's views on death and suicide, but not really suitable for seasoned readers of Seneca. This audiobook was really let down by the narration though, irritating at times.

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A solid narrative performance!

Most clear intonation, although full of nuances. A true classic, both in content and execution.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 03-09-22

excellent audio

Great insights and narrative. awareness of the fragility of mortality at it's highest. simply brilliant.

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  • D. Usher
  • 08-01-19

3 Stars

Not as good as I hoped it would be. Mostly just tales and stories but nothing outstanding. The voice is too robotic.

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  • Nathan
  • 12-03-18

Great Reading, Poor Arguments

Seneca has interesting ideas presented, but they don't hold up in a contemporary fashion. When Seneca presents an argument, they are obviously very thought out, and very empirical. However, where I feel he is lacking is where he doesn't represent the lower classes of Roman society very well (and therefore could correlate with our own class divide in the 21st century). Another thing omitted or possibly unconsidered is that to a contemporary understanding, daily living makes it very difficult to happily accept a fulfilled life. Seneca doesn't tell us how to change these things, but rather, why.