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The Last Lecture [Hardcover]

Randy Pausch , Jeffrey Zaslow
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 23.99
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Book Description

April 9 2008
"We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand."
--Randy Pausch


A lot of professors give talks titled "The Last Lecture." Professors are asked to consider their demise and to ruminate on what matters most to them. And while they speak, audiences can't help but mull the same question: What wisdom would we impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance? If we had to vanish tomorrow, what would we want as our legacy?

When Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, was asked to give such a lecture, he didn't have to imagine it as his last, since he had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. But the lecture he gave--"Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams"--wasn't about dying. It was about the importance of overcoming obstacles, of enabling the dreams of others, of seizing every moment (because "time is all you have...and you may find one day that you have less than you think"). It was a summation of everything Randy had come to believe. It was about living.

In this book, Randy Pausch has combined the humor, inspiration and intelligence that made his lecture such a phenomenon and given it an indelible form. It is a book that will be shared for generations to come.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Made famous by his Last Lecture at Carnegie Mellon and the quick Internet proliferation of the video of the event, Pausch decided that maybe he just wasn't done lecturing. Despite being several months into the last stage of pancreatic cancer, he managed to put together this book. The crux of it is lessons and morals for his young and infant children to learn once he is gone. Despite his sometimes-contradictory life rules, it proves entertaining and at times inspirational. Surprisingly, the audiobook doesn't include the reading of Pausch's actual Last Lecture, which he gave on September 18, 2007, a month after being diagnosed. Erik Singer provides an excellent inflective voice that hints at the reveries of past experiences with family and children while wielding hope and regret for family he will leave behind. The first CD is enhanced with photos.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

Review

'incredibly moving' -- Daily Record --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Meaning of Life Aug. 13 2008
By Coach C TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Like all great people, Randy Pausch was a better person than any written text will ever represent. In my many College and University experiences I have had the privilege to listen to a few last lectures from my favorite professors in the past. All have been moving, all have inspired. But this "Last Lecture" is something different altogether. Pausch was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2006 and was given only several months to live, which makes his message all the more inspiring. Pausch gave his last lecture in Sept of 2007 and died July 2008.

As for Pausch's words, they will uplift you, they will inspire you to get your priorities straight and accomplish those life goals that you've always planned to do but always found excuses to avoid. Though similar in message to the recent movie "The Bucket List", I think Pausch's message is much more immediate. Why wait until you know you're dying, go do it now.

What really comes across in the text and even more so having watched his lectures online, is that Pausch was a guy that really got it. He loved being alive and he truly believed that he was blessed to be on this earth. Get this book for a friend or loved one that is going through some hardship, guaranteed they will feel better about themselves afterwards.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Last Lecture Nov. 29 2010
By Lauren
Format:Hardcover
The Last Lecture is a book filled with living-life-to-the-fullest advice from a college professor. While to some this might sound as interesting as reading a doctoral dissertation, you'd be surprised.

The author, Randy Pausch, a professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon who was diagnosed with terminal cancer, writes so well that you'd probably let him teach you about computers too. Some things he talks about include: remember to laugh, seizing every moment, overcoming obstacles, appreciate the gifts you recieve, and enabling the dreams of others.

Although the author died this year, his wisdom will no doubt be around awhile in this very enlightening book. Other books in this genre I liked include Finding Happiness in a Frustrating World.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 61 Great Mini-Lectures June 19 2008
Format:Hardcover
This quick read consists of 61 great mini-lectures, generously sprinkled with autobiographical anecdotes about growing up with many touching and inspirational family memories ["One rule in our house is that you may not ask one-word questions."]. Randy Pausch uses these stories to illustrate life's lessons about parenting, self-esteem, dignity, duty, integrity --and of the importance of dreaming and helping others achieve their dreams.
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars some worthwhile advise May 8 2008
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Ironically the one thing that Randy Pausch has going for him in this book is that he has a terminal illness. Not only does this give him some credibility and public appeal (the main reasons I found the book), it also gives him the ability to sift through the extraneous details of his life and distill it down to a few salient points. A bit like Dr Phil but not as glitzy and "in your face". The author actually dictated his thoughts to another writer who then helped organize them into this short and easily readable book. Those of us with young children have already thought about many of the points he raises but this essay helps to put it all together. Furthermore it is a good book to read in a night or two and pass on to someone you know who is overwhelmed with irrelevant worries or simply moving too fast through life to get the "big picture". No big words or difficult philosophical issues to hurt your brain, just good common sense and a touch of humor from a prof with a clearly humorless disease.
A great book for the book club crowd.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too Oct. 24 2008
Format:Hardcover
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 Imagineers. 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.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable.
Lots to learn from in this book. My older brother also has an aggressive form of cancer and The Last Lecture provides insights into my brother's suffering.
Published 1 month ago by Wolf Willow
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone should read this book, there are so many thought provoking...
You can read this book whether healthy or ill , fulfilled or floundering in life. It is an insight to the potential in all of us and our society. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Meg
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
Saw the video first and just had to have the book. Amazing what you can learn from one person's experiences and the handling of a deadly disease diagnosis
Published 4 months ago by The Facilitator
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring
I read The Last Lecture in one sitting. That might not be saying much because it's just over 200 pages, but it was a fantastic read. A truly heartbreaking, yet inspiring story. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Bryan Reid
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow
A very candid look at a very difficult time in a man's life. He carries himself with honor and leaves you with hope for others in this unfortunate position.
Published 8 months ago by Cheryl Berridge
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone should read this true story
Randy was dying; he had a message to share and boy what a message!
This book was surprisingly upbeat and funny. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Debra L. Stanich
4.0 out of 5 stars Uplifting, feel good novel
I came across this book during a training session for the local hospice program. The attitude Randy Pausch conveyed through this book is one that is uplifting, and optimistic. Read more
Published 10 months ago by leafinthewind
5.0 out of 5 stars book
I bought one of this book for each of my children. I hope they will pass it on to their children. Timeless information
Published 12 months ago by Jean Wolting
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartbreaking Inspiration
Randy Pausch shared something amazing with the world -- his life and his death. I read this on a whim and it is beautiful and inspiring. Amazing.
Published 13 months ago by Lori Armstrong
5.0 out of 5 stars A powerful tale
Everyone can benefit from this story, so well told. I remains on my bookshelf to be read again and again.
Published 14 months ago by Sheila White
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