"Not Fade Away: A Short Life Well Lived"
I was pessimistic about the entire premise of this book, but, luckily, I got over myself and read it.
This isn’t a book about overcoming adversity. It will not take you out of your middle-class American comfort zone with harrowing accounts of war-torn or economically defunct far-off lands. There are no child soldiers, and there is nothing that makes you question the basic moral fiber of the human race.
But that is the point.
By his own account, Peter Barton lived in a forgiving time where one could spend his twenties doing almost anything involving a van, odd jobs, and pot and then, by his thirties, be making a salary to support a family. He lived an outrageous youth and left his family well taken care of at age 51.
But again that is the point.
Most Americans, and the vast majority of the entrepreneurs and technology industry folks, who find their way to this review on a technology company’s website will relate to the story for a simple reason: we live in a time now for the technology industry as Barton did for the cable industry. Money is flowing, times are good, and people are changing the world every day. There is an infectious optimism that tomorrow will be better than today, that our children’s lives will be filled with every advantage, that the world is on the uptick.
Every negative word I can find on this book revolves around the plentifulness of experience and wealth that Peter Barton had in his life. As if this somehow leaves his words and reflections bereft of meaning. He, however, lived a life that embodies the American Dream, and if this life is devoid of meaning, why do we dream it for the future? Why are we fighting so hard to make sure this dream survives for our children?
The tragedy of cancer striking a father with young children, a loving wife, and much more to give the world forced Barton to reflect on the meaning of his life, of the time he lived, what lessons he could give.
In this book are truths I hope will be relevant to my life, and eventually to my children, about how to smartly take risks, how to never fear the road less traveled, how to live a full life, and how to love. I recommend you take an afternoon and listen to what Barton and his co-author have to say about a “short life well lived.”