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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 lectures named "The Last Lecture." Professors are asked to ponder their demise and to reflect on what means the most to them. And as they speak, listeners can't keep from mulling the same subject: What enlightenment would we convey to the world if we knew it was our last opportunity? In the event we had to disappear after today, what would we desire as our legacy? In this publication, Randy Pausch has merged the wit, inspiration and intelligence that made his lecture such a phenomenon and given it an indelible form. It is a publication that will be shared for generations to come.

Reviews Reading the last lecture was very inspiring. Randy Pausch's recount of his lecture prior to dying of pancreatic cancer left me in awe. His fortitude and love for life is remarkable and what a beautiful legacy he left to the world. (The lecture was dedicated to his children originally as a way for them to get to know their father after he had passed.) One of my favorite quotes from the book is "A spark of enthusiasm turned into fireworks." That is how my life feels since I have been reading Working on Yourself Doesn't Work: The 3 Simple Ideas That Will Instantaneously Transform Your Life by Ariel and Shya Kane and attending their Monday Night evenings and workshops in New York City. Their approach to living in the moment has ignited sparks in all areas of my life. By taking care of what is directly in front of me, things become effortless and activities, regardless of what they are (laundry, work, exercise), are full of satisfaction. I feel a sense of connectedness to the world that I had never experienced before. I recommend both authors to start the fireworks in your life and as a great gift to your dear ones.

"Don't laugh, but I buy a lot of Audible books and listen to them on my walk to and from work each day. I know, I know.... it makes me sound like an old lady, but I learn by listening, so what can I say? (Laugh if you want, but in less than a week, I'm now smarter than the guy standing next to me, and that's all that counts.) I hate to ruin it for you, but the book's author, Carnegie Mellon University professor Randy Pausch, dies at the beginning of the book. And sadly, he also dies in the end. I can hear you already. 'Yeah! The last lecture of a dying man --sounds super fun -- sign me up!' Ignore that voice in your head, and read (or listen!) to this book. You will not regret it. It's full of practical life advice and some valuable lessons for following your dreams. (Not a single mention of 'Kumbayah' or walking across fire, just sound logic.) Two of my favorites: 'If you can't follow your own dreams, helping someone follow THEIRS can also be pretty damn fulfilling' and 'walls are put in front of us for a reason: to find out how bad we really want it.' There's an abundance of good stuff here. I've listened to this book several times.


There's nothing more bittersweet than reading a story where you know the ending before you start the first page. Everyone knows that on July 25, 2008, Randy Pausch lost his battle with cancer. But fortunately for those of us who never knew the man, he's left behind his legacy in THE LAST LECTURE. The well-known lecture can be viewed on YouTube, but with the help of a Wall Street Journal writer, Jeffrey Zaslow, he's taken his famous "last lecture" and written a book on how to live. If you've watched the actual last lecture (I took the time after reading the book to sit and watch the entire talk), then the book is a perfect companion. If you've not seen the video, you will still be touched by the book. Though the book doesn't quote the lecture verbatim, Mr. Pausch has taken his lecture and expounded with more details and memories. Having gone to university in Pittsburgh, I am very familiar with Carnegie Mellon University. When I first heard about the book and famous talk upon the death of Mr. Pausch, it was the mention of CMU that first caught my attention. I proceeded to get my hands on the book and read it in one quiet evening. Mr. Pausch doesn't preach about his cancer, nor philosophize on death. Instead, he tells of his childhood dreams and how others can achieve their dreams. He speaks often of hitting a brick wall. He tells all that if you want something badly enough, then you will find a way around that brick wall. He shares with the reader his rejections by Brown University, Carnegie Mellon University, and even the Disney Imaginers. But he fought for what he wanted, and found a way to achieve his dreams. He fondly thanks his parents for his wonderful childhood. He thanks his tough college mentor Andy van Dam. He tells about one of his students, whose dream was to work on the next Star Wars films. This coming in the early 1990s when no one anticipated there would be an additional three. I believe all who pick up this book will be touched in some small way. It might not make you a better person for reading it, but I believe it will make you think. He offers simple suggestions for getting more out of life. It may be the simple truth of how to offer a sincere apology. It may be that you should put others first. Whatever it is, read the book with an open mind and be thankful that you are still alive and have the chance to live each day.

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