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Death of Inspiring 'Last Lecture' Author Serves As Tragic Reminder (VIDEO)

by Sasha Brown-Worsham on February 11, 2012 at 1:58 PM

Jeffrey Zaslow, the newspaper writer turned bestselling author, died in a car accident on Friday at the age of 53. It is a stunningly tragic turn, but is also part of the message the book delivered: Life is short and we need to make each day count by living and loving to the fullest.

Zaslow's book The Last Lecture was co-written with Randy Pausch, a professor at Carnegie-Mellon, after Pausch delivered a stunning "last lecture" that became a worldwide phenomenon in 2007.

The Last Lecture is all about moments and what matters to people most. The original talk was called, "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams" but it was about so much more than that and Zaslow is the man who made it go viral. Sitting in the audience, he saw the power in Pausch's words and, in a piece for the Wall Street Journal, he let us all in on its beauty.

The column became a bestselling book and a new career for Zaslow. Following The Last Lecture, he wrote and co-wrote several other books that also made inspiring impacts, including one on Gabrielle Giffords, the Arizona Congresswoman who was shot last year and one on Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the US Airways pilot who landed an airliner on the Hudson River in New York.

But, for many,  it was The Last Lecture that made Zaslow's most famous. Here is his co-writer Pausch delivering an abbreviated version of The Last Lecture on Oprah:

The message Pausch and Zaslow gave us is clear: Life is short and what we do with the time we have is absolutely crucial. Pausch and Zaslow pointed out that happiness is a choice and "fun" is a choice, too. Having fun until the end was the way Pausch lived (he died in 2008).

Zaslow's sudden death at 53, while all-too-tragic is also a lesson for us all. We never know when our last moments will come. The message in The Last Lecture came from a man who knew he was in the process of dying, but they are really crucial for everyone. Any one of us could meet our ends today or tomorrow.

Zaslow lived a heroic life and inspired millions by bringing us this amazing message of hope and his tragic death is just another lesson that the only moments any of us have are right here and right now.

Jeffrey Zaslow died young and that is tragic, but his legacy won't be forgotten. My heart goes out to his wife and three children.

Did you read The Last Lecture?

 


Image via Amazon

Filed Under: accidents

Comments

10
  • me
    -- Nonmember comment from

    me

    February 11, 2012 at 2:07 PM
    Wow-I just read a story on the Huffington Post about the things dying people regret the most and now I come to cafemom and see this. It's so important to live the life YOU want(while treating others with respect and kindness of course). Not a selfish life, but going the path you want and doing important things for yourself and others. Thanks for the reminder.
  • Carey...
    --

    Carey2006

    February 11, 2012 at 2:14 PM

    Yes...I read it and I have it on video. This is so sad.....


  • flowr...
    --

    flowrsgalore

    February 11, 2012 at 4:33 PM

    This is so sad.  I loved his book The girls of Ames.  Recently read the Randy Pausch story. Excellent writing, thoroughly enjoyed both books.


  • 612Mom
    --

    612Mom

    February 11, 2012 at 10:50 PM
    He was just on a local radio show here in Minneapolis - last week if memory serves. You know how some people can raise the energy (vibration) wherever they are having spoken only a couple of seemingly mundane sentences? He was one of those people. I'm sad that his journey is over, but grateful for his
  • 612Mom
    --

    612Mom

    February 11, 2012 at 10:54 PM
    (darned big fingers on the iPhone)... Meant to conclude by saying I'm grateful to Mr. Zaslow for sharing his gifts.
  • ajbro...
    --

    ajbrownies

    February 12, 2012 at 1:36 AM

    This book is one of my favorite books. The story is beautiful and uplifting. What a sad ending. 


  • Danny...
    -- Facebook comment from

    Danny Bloom

    February 12, 2012 at 11:56 PM

    Solomon started a roundtable game among the 10 guests at the party — five couples — asking every individual guest for the secret to the success of their marriage. She said that Zaslow's answer to the secret of his 25-year marriage, in the form of a joke, brought the house down. "It was his traveling schedule," Solomon remembered. "We laughed so hard," Krieger-Cohen said.


  • Danny...
    -- Facebook comment from

    Danny Bloom

    February 13, 2012 at 9:04 AM

    thanks for correcting the Wash Post gaffe, you could at least say THANKS to me. you snob! sigh


  • Danny...
    -- Facebook comment from

    Danny Bloom

    February 13, 2012 at 9:11 AM

    You  fixed the minor gaffe now after 25 emails to you but u never once replied and said thanks. seesh, u write about life and gratitude and then u show none to me, friendly proofreader and friend of Jeff's. That's America for ya, mo manners anymore, everyone running scared!  you be a hypocrite girl!


  • Danny...
    -- Facebook comment from

    Danny Bloom

    February 16, 2012 at 12:07 AM
    "I do not accept Jeffrey Zaslow's death" is the title of my piece at Salon here. I realize this is the time to grieve and mourn, yes, and I also grieve and mourn. But I do not aceept Jeff's senseless and meaningless death. Read my piece to see why. And to see why the New York Times blogs at MediaDecoder and Tara Parker-Pope blog censored and deleted my comments on this side of the issue. Strange, that American media would censor facist censorship of comments that speak truth to reality. Why censor me? Thank you PR for allowing me to post here. Jeff would be proud of PW.
    s open-ness. I was a friend of Jeff's. Since 2008. A good man gone too soon.
    http://open.salon.com/blog/danbloom

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