April 9, 2008, - 4:39 pm

If You Had Six Months to Live: “The Last Lecture”

By Debbie Schlussel
For the last several months, my friend, Detroit-based Wall Street Journal reporter and columnist Jeffrey Zaslow has been working on a book with Professor Randy Pausch, who learned he was dying of pancreatic cancer, the same fatal disease that took my father, last year.
The book, “The Last Lecture,” grew out of a college lecture that Pausch gave at Carnegie Mellon University. Traditionally, many profs there deliver what they’d say if it was their “last lecture.” For them, it’s pretend, but for him, it was as if it was real, since he’d been given six months to live. You might have read about this “Lecture of a Lifetime” in Jeff’s moving Wall Street Journal, which started it all.

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Jeff writes:

Randy recently passed the six-month mark since his terminal diagnosis. Given the severity of his pancreatic cancer, he isn‚Äôt sure about the road ahead. But he’s hanging in there. I’ve loved working with him on the book. It’s been an honor.
The attention for the book has been exciting, though bittersweet, given Randy’s condition. The media interest – there’s a lot in the week ahead – has been a fun diversion for him.

Now that the book is out, it has already hit #1 on Amazon.com, where it currently stands. Jeff has sent me a copy, and I will review it on this site (I have other books in the hopper for review, too–so other authors who’ve sent me their books, I’m getting to yours soon, too). I know it will be a good one, as I’ve excerpted many of Jeff’s WSJ columns on this site, and he was very kind and comforting to me, when my father was sick and dying. He is a mensch (and was a nationally syndicated advice column in the past–Dear Abby had nothing on him).
Jeff alerts that tonight on ABC at 10:00 p.m. Eastern, Diane Sawyer is doing an hour-long special on the book and Dr. Pausch. He’s seen it, and says it is very inspirational. Watch the video promo. I plan to watch.
If you miss tonight’s special, there will be plenty more media coverage of this unique book by very special people. And there is the official Last Lecture website featuring Pausch’s full “last lecture,” updates on his health condition, and media appearances.
Because my father went through the same thing as Pausch and had several months of mini-“last lectures” to me, Jeff also wrote me:

If you do write about it, you should relink to that tribute about your dad, which was so beautiful.

So, I am re-linking to my tribute to my beloved father, H.L. Schlussel, MD. Dad, I miss you so much.
Stay tuned for my review of “The Last Lecture.”

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3 Responses

I’m so happy you’ll soon be reviewing books! I’m a huge reader and I’ve often thought about asking your opinion on certain books. If only I could convince you that life is too short to be a movie reviewer….

LoveAManInAUniform on April 9, 2008 at 5:39 pm

Good story, I saw this a few weeks ago. Very moving.

samurai on April 10, 2008 at 12:05 am

I lost my father to that form of cancer too..it is a hard way to go..thank you for the work you do.

storagemanager on April 10, 2008 at 8:04 am

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