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The Last Lecture


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Category: Career & Self-Development

The Last Lecture

In this summary, you will learn

  • How dying professor Randy Pausch presented the lessons he learned
  • How childhood dreams plant the seeds for a meaningful life
  • How to raise inquisitive, optimistic children
  • Why happiness is impossible without gratitude


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Why you should read The Last Lecture

On July 4, 1939, Hall of Fame first baseman Lou Gehrig, fatally ill with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), the disease that would be named after him, told a capacity crowd at Yankee Stadium that he was “the luckiest man on the face of the earth.” Sixty-eight years later, computer science professor Randy Pausch, who had terminal pancreatic cancer, delivered his “last lecture.” Like Gehrig, Pausch used the opportunity to express his gratitude rather than focusing on his terrible misfortune. In an hour-long taped presentation that earned worldwide acclaim as it spread throughout the Internet, Pausch summarized his philosophy, and spoke of the importance of ambition, hard work and perseverance. Pausch’s main objective was to leave a meaningful legacy for his three children – and he succeeded brilliantly. His book, written with Jeffrey Zaslow, expands on the themes in his lecture, entitled “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams.” Pausch served up heaping portions of wonderful life-affirming advice. You’ll discover the qualities that made him so special. You’ll count your blessings. You’ll cry. You may even feel embarrassed or ashamed for those times when you lapse into self-pity. getAbstract believes that every reader can draw inspiration from this remarkable man who embraced and celebrated life even as he faced his death, which came on July 25, 2008.

About the Authors

Randy Pausch was a tenured professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University. He died on July 25, 2008. Jeffrey Zaslow, a Wall Street Journal columnist, attended Pausch’s last lecture and wrote the story that brought him international acclaim.

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  1. August 26, 2013 Patrick Brigger
    Love it. Well written and instructive!
  2. March 9, 2012 Patrick Brigger
    Ever since I read this summary, I carry a "thank you" rock with me in my pocket. it's an eye opener to the little things in life that matter the most...
  3. March 31, 2011 Yessenia Batista
    Lillian--thank you very much for you post. It was truly inspiring. We're glad you enjoyed the book as much as we enjoyed summarizing it. Every reader can really draw inspiration from this title. You just reminded me that it's time to read this summary again. We can't get enough reminders about this topic. Thanks!

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