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    One Book 2011

      

    Video images by Melrose Park, District 89

     

    Jeffrey Zaslow died on February 10, 2012, at age 53.

     The Last Lecture      by Randy Pausch & Jeffrey Zaslow

    LastLecture_largeOn Sept. 18, 2007, computer science professor Randy Pausch stepped in front of an audience of 400 people at Carnegie Mellon University to deliver a last lecture called "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams." With slides of his CT scans beaming out to the audience, Randy told his audience about the cancer that is devouring his pancreas and that will claim his life in a matter of months. On the stage that day, Randy was youthful, energetic, handsome, often cheerfully, darkly funny. He seemed invincible. But this was a brief moment, as he himself acknowledged. Randy’s lecture has become a phenomenon, as has the book he wrote based on the same principles, celebrating the dreams we all strive to make realities. Sadly, Randy lost his battle to pancreatic cancer on July 25, 2008, but his legacy will continue to inspire us all, for generations to come.

    LastLecture_collage

    The Last Lecture goes beyond the now-famous lecture to inspire us all to live each day of our lives with purpose and joy.

    "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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