Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Workweek, has been covering Soticism lately, most recently with a post on Seneca’s "On The Shortness Of Life," including this passage:

Vices beset us and surround us on every side, and they do not permit us to rise anew and lift up our eyes for the discernment of truth, but they keep us down when once they have overwhelmed us and we are chained to lust. Their victims are never allowed to return to their true selves; if ever they chance to find some release, like the waters of the deep sea which continue to heave even after the storm is past, they are tossed about, and no rest from their lusts abides.

Think you that I am speaking of the wretches whose evils are admitted? Look at those whose prosperity men flock to behold; they are smothered by their blessings. To how many are riches a burden! From how many do eloquence and the daily straining to display their powers draw forth blood! How many are pale from constant pleasures! To how many does the throng of clients that crowd about them leave no freedom! In short, run through the list of all these men from the lowest to the highest—this man desires an advocate, this one answers the call, that one is on trial, that one defends him, that one gives sentence; no one asserts his claim to himself, everyone is wasted for the sake of another.

Ask about the men whose names are known by heart, and you will see that these are the marks that distinguish them: A cultivates B and B cultivates C; no one is his own master. And then certain men show the most senseless indignation—they complain of the insolence of their superiors, because they were too busy to see them when they wished an audience! But can anyone have the hardihood to complain of the pride of another when he himself has no time to attend to himself?

After all, no matter who you are, the great man does sometimes look toward you even if his face is insolent, he does sometimes condescend to listen to your words, he permits you to appear at his side; but you never deign to look upon yourself, to give ear to yourself. There is no reason, therefore, to count anyone in debt for such services, seeing that, when you performed them, you had no wish for another’s company, but could not endure your own.

What Seneca would think of Above The Law’s 2008 survey, in which more than half of ATL’s BigLaw associate readers broke 2000 billable hours?

The Attorney Work / Life Balance Calculator shows that, assuming two weeks vacation, eleven holidays, five personal days, a half-hour commute and an unbillable hour a day (lunch, administration, water cooler, etc), then those associates are spending at least the 10.5 best hours of every workday in the office, car, courtroom, or conference room.

Throw in 6.7 hours of sleep every workday, a quarter-hour getting ready before and a quarter-hour decompressing after, a half-hour finding or making dinner, and they’re left with, at the most generous, 5.8 tired hours a weekday to themselves, plus the weekends, unless the partner calls them in.

Maybe that’s enough. Maybe they like what they do and where they’re going, they owe no apologies for that. I like what I do. So do many lawyers.

But life’s too short to do anything because you "should."