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The Last Lecture

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by Randy Pausch and Jeffrey Zaslow

Click Here to Download the Book Numerous professors give talks titled "The Last Lecture." Professors are asked to ponder their passing and to cogitate on what is most important to them. And as they talk, audiences cannot keep from considering the same question: What enlightenment would we reveal to the world if we knew it was our last chance? In the event we had to vanish after today, what would we want as our legacy? In this publication, Randy Pausch has brought together the humor, creativity and intelligence that made his lecture such a sensation and given it an indelible form. It is a book that will be distributed for generations to come.

Reviews Randy Pausch was a Carnegie Mellon Professor (Oct. 23, 1960 - July 25, 2008) who gave his famous "Last Lecture" at the university on Sept. 18, 2007, before a packed McConomy Auditorium. The 47 year old professor had been diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer, the deadliest of cancers, and told he had 3-6 months of good health to live. The last lecture he gave, "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams" and this book which followed has received a lot of attention. One of his childhood dreams was to experience weightlessness and to be,or at least meet,Captain Kirk. He drew on his wall as a child the dreams he envisioned: a rocket ship, an elevator etc. He encourages parents to let their children express themselves by letting them draw on their walls as well. Other dreams of Randys were to play football with the Steelers and to get an article published in World Book Encyclopedia. Whimsical, funny, and profoundly sad, The Last Lecture is both memorable and entertaining. It is with humor that Pausch recounts the events that have shaped his life while reminding us of some basic life lessons that offer extraordinary wisdom. This book is packed with life lessons and reminders of what truly counts in life. After achieving his own dreams in his life cut short, he wanted to do his best to help other people achieve theirs. I found it fascinating that unnamed sources, reported that Hyperion offered $6.7 million for the book, beating Harper Collins in a bidding war.

The Last Lecture is a book written by Randy Pausch, a computer science professor that was diagnosed with cancer in 2006. In Fall of 2007, Pausch gave his “Last Lecture” at Carnegie Mellon entitled “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams” in which he tried to summarize in one hour what he believed to be the keys to happiness and success while death was knocking at his doorstep. The lecture became an internet phenomenon that would eventually lead to the publication of this book which consists of some 50 stories from Pausch’s life all reflecting his outstanding outlook on life. My mom gave me the book two years ago for Christmas, but I kept putting it off for no good reason. My job


revolves around taking phone calls forty hours a week from 12 to 9PM, which sounds like hell because it can be, but fortunately they usually die down shortly after 7PM which used to allow me to catch up on reading. When it became obvious that Charles Dickens’ writing style wasn’t exactly conducive to reading a few paragraphs here and there, A Tale of Two Cities was retired until I would have more free time. This was when I finally grabbed The Last Lecture off of the book case. The book is 224 very short pages (the book is half as tall as most books and the font is still the size of your average hard back), all of which are written very simply – as if someone were having a one-on-one conversation with you. The stories range from tales of Randy’s childhood to professional lessons in humility and the adventures of married life, all constantly showing a beautiful way of looking at life. The writer is a little full of himself on occasion, but he’s also fully aware that he has headstrong tendencies. Honestly, after reading about his life, he’s at the very least a little entitled to hearty sense of self. The man has done a lot and when he planned his lecture around fulfilling childhood dreams he brought a plethora of examples from his own life. As you may expect from a book about a man dying from cancer, there are more than a few times where you might be fighting back the tears. I practically never cry but the ending nailed me in the heart harder than The Green Mile. There are few books I’d recommend to everyone just because books are such a fragile genre and the effort that reading can take for some people makes it difficult to recommend anything without a hint of doubt, but The Last Lecture might be an exception. It’s an uplifting, optimistic story collection that reads more like an incredibly entertaining blog archive than an actual lecture. I might even go so far as to say if everyone read this and took it to heart, we’d live in a better world, which I realize sounds WAY too far, but Pausch’s ideals are a lovely glimmer of hope in a world that revolves around complaining and “FML” proclamations.

Exceedingly rare is the book that has the power to transform... to give readers pause... to move them to deep reflection about how they are living their lives, and how they might live their lives better. Rarer still is the book that elevates inspiration to the level of the otherworldly. The Last Lecture is that book. Based in part on a final college lecture given by Professor Randy Pausch at Carnegie Mellon and released on YouTube to worldwide acclaim, The Last Lecture offers us much more than another lesson on remaining stoic in the face of adversity. No - this is not just another feel good book from an individual with very little to feel good about. To attach such a label to The Last Lecture would be to seriously minimize the impact of this singularly insightful work. Much more than merely a story, The Last Lecture is a collection of anecdotes offered by a relatively young man (47) tragically suffering from terminal cancer and contemplating life in his final days. It becomes evident in this quick and easy read that what is important in life grows far clearer when one knows that his days on earth are numbered. Suddenly, those often self-imposed obstacles to true happiness - indeed, those trivial, mundane, perhaps even petty concerns that occupy too much of our time, monopolize our emotions, and get in the way of relationships - simply no longer matter. In an act of great love for not only his own family but for people the world over, Pausch, with able support from Jeffery Zaslow of the Wall Street Journal, allows the reader to see the world as he sees it - in a final sunset. It is as if his diagnosis brings a laser-like focus to his life philosophy and a mission-like zeal to communicating that philosophy to the rest of us. As readers, we could not be more fortunate. By turns whimsical, funny, and profoundly sad, The Last Lecture is both captivating and highly entertaining. With wry humor Pausch recounts the events that have shaped his life while treating us to deceptively simple life lessons that offer extraordinary wisdom. His insatiable curiosity and eternally youthful imagination draw us in as "a Pooh Bear is drawn to honey." With his family and friends as more than just casual participants, he relives the adventures and experiences in his life - both good and bad - and in the process enables us to learn often and much. His stories and messages tear at our hearts, though, as we are forced to ponder a world without this highly


intelligent and gifted individual. The Last Lecture is an immensely satisfying read that asks us to think deeply about whether we truly live or merely exist... whether in Pausch's words, we are a "Tigger or an Eeyore." At times his humorous anecdotes charming in an innocent, youthful way - seemingly beckon to us, inviting us to examine our own lives and to find in them a deeper purpose: to cherish our days on this earth and to relentlessly pursue our dreams while enabling others to pursue theirs. For all his many accomplishments, Pausch's story is utterly without arrogance or pretension. It is as if he is one of his beloved Disney characters devilishly letting us in on a ginormous secret! He combines self-effacing humor with matchless grace and humanity. His boundless wonder at the world is perhaps his most endearing quality. As his widow, Jai, will doubtless attest, it is completely disarming. Norman Rockwell could not have painted this boy's American life any better. It has been said that the world was truly better off with Randy Pausch in it, and that is no exaggeration. His legacy of great compassion and his unquenchable spirit, like the eternal flame, may flicker often but will burn ever brightly in the hearts of his family and readers of The Last Lecture alike. Randy - Thank you and rest well. Yours was a life well-lived, and you have taught us much. We will never forget you. Highly Recommend!

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