Of the Shortness of Life

Read by Jonathan Hockey

(3.7 stars; 103 reviews)

Seneca the Younger wrote the moral essay "De Brevitate Vitae" — "On the Shortness of Life" — to his friend Paulinus. The philosopher brings up many Stoic principles on the nature of time, namely that men waste much of it in meaningless pursuits. According to the essay, nature gives man enough time to do what is really important and the individual must allot it properly. (1 hr 4 min)


Chapters 1 to 5 13:00 Read by Jonathan Hockey
Chapters 6 to 10 16:25 Read by Jonathan Hockey
Chapters 11 to 15 19:36 Read by Jonathan Hockey
Chapters 16 to 20 15:15 Read by Jonathan Hockey


Unlistenable, unfortunately.

(1 stars)

The reader is very quiet and runs on too quickly, so its hard to understand what he is saying. the recording quality is awful, so you cannot turn the volume up enough to hear it without the hissing and popping of consonants driving you insane. unlistenable.

to the reader...

(1 stars)

what? Speak up! I'm sorry I could've even finish this due to the speaker I was looking forward to this read too. but thanks for volunteering..

seneca on the shortness of life..

(0.5 stars)

What a shame one of the greatest books of all time butchered by this reader. Bless him for donating his precious time. Although I feel a book that has lasted since? 345 ad deserves better. Truly disappointing.. Im sorry I try not to complain, but this one needs a great reader! I have the book.

An essential book (that deserves a second version)

(3.5 stars)

"If such men wish to know how short their lives are, let them think how small of a fraction of them is their own." This sums up most of this opus by Seneca. The Stoic philosopher argues that the brevity we see in our existence is but a reflection of time poorly spent. Anachronically, this could culminate in utilitarianism, but it's a powerful statement nonetheless. Jonathan Hockey's reading, much like in the first section of Seneca's "Of Peace of Mind", is very muffled and poorly recorded, with a lot of heavy breathing, plosive sounds and some words being a bit indiscernible. His effort and dedication are praiseworthy, but his delivery could be slower in a few passages and at times his pronunciation was kind of hard for me to understand.

Could not listen to this reader...

(0.5 stars)

I was looking forward to listening to this book. However I was unable to get through even the second chapter due the the reader and the poor quality of the recording. Please do another recording of this book.

Beautiful, but diminished by the read

(1.5 stars)

Seneca's words are above the words of man. This one is no exception. The only issue is the read. The readers voice and accent is great, but... He reads too fast, too quiet, he's too close to the mic. The audio has not been adjusted in any way at all and very raw with low end equipment being used or used improperly. It's nice to put on in the background as a story to fall asleep to, but not something that's really understood or enjoyed. It's a shame.

(4 stars)

Rate the quality of the recording, meh, it's not studio quality. But more importantly to rate the content, this is something everyone should read, as well as mull in a bit to absorb the deeper human truths.


(3 stars)

Seneca's perspective on the most purposive life to lead is very interesting to consider even today. The recording, however, was of a lower quality, bring too quiet and too hard on consonant pronunciations.