This book is about the life and death of Peter Barton, a very successful entreprenour who lived life fully, yet died early at the age of 51 from stomach cancer.
This story is told in alternative chapters by Barton and Laurence Shames, a writer who befriended Barton at the end of Barton's life in order to help him express his feelings and emotions about his impending death.
This small book contains very big ideas. Barton makes you understand how being wealthy doesn't automatically give you the best medical care, and it certainly doesn't protect you against death. He brings home in this very personal way how health and family are the things that are important, and that the end of life is a complicated, individual experience, full of reflection and introspection.
I thought that it was "gutsy" and generous of Barton to want to share his experiences with the world, and one gets the impression from the book that that is the kind of individual he was.
When you finish - you can do it easily in a few hours - you are left appreciative of the things that you normally take for granted, and can briefly try to comprehend the concept of living in the moment.
I say briefly because, alas, I think we are hardwired not to be able to live our lives the way Peter Barton did at the end of his life...living in the here and now and giving up the foolish pursuits that drive us daily. I think that is why books like this are important, so that we can read them and get back to what is important, and try to live our lives thinking about these issues and thus be "ready", when we face the end of our own lives.
Recommended, but I think I would have liked a little more information about Barton's illness and treatment although I understand that it was a conscious decision not to include that in the book.