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I was shocked to read someone call the author narcissistic and bombastic in his mannerisms. Ugh. Why? Envy? A lack of understanding? The author talks about his relationship with his students and how he takes cancer, something that took my mother, and faced it head on. He takes a fear, a real fear, and travels from South Florida to California with merely the clothes on his back and the invitations from his former students. Wow! He must have made an impression because he had a boatload of invites and never slept on a bench! He has lots to be proud of. I don't call that narcissistic in the least.

Books like this aren't my type. I tend to shun away from them but this one was read from cover to cover. I couldn't help but finish it because I felt like I was traveling with the author. I felt like his student and I'm older than he is! As a teacher myself, our job IS NOT EASY. It takes a lot to love it with the vivaciousness this man did. He cared for his students and their innumerable testimonies prove that! Just go to his Facebook page and look at the support. It is touching and eye-opening.

Teachers, students, cancer patients/survivors, human beings...EVERYONE needs to read this book. It will touch your heart and inspire you. I'm proud I not only share a state with him (well, not anymore) but a passion of teaching. I plan to follow this man's life from now on. I bet you will too.
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on February 7, 2014
As a hospice worker, it is sometimes difficult to explain to my friends and associates what it is that we do. David Menasche does a wonderful job of explaining how, when he chose to end treatments and make his journey, that he was choosing to truly live. I would suggest reading this to anyone, and I will be sharing excerpts with my hospice staff at upcoming educational meetings.

My wish for all of us, whether we are imminently dying or imminently living, is that we could adopt for ourselves the attitudes of life, love and service that David found as he made this journey. Thank you, David Menasche, for sharing this part of your life with us.

Jeff Houck, Program Director, Compassionate Care Hospice, Akron, OH
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on March 30, 2014
Having gone to Coral Reef whilest he still taught there I was never lucky enough to have had him as my teacher but my closest friends had. Not once was that classroom door shut during any lunch or break. Any word that came out of someone's mouth about this man was not negative but inquisitive and loving and positive. I never had the chance to personally meet him (maybe it was my own fear of also becoming addicted to his presence) but having read this book has opened my eyes an made me cry more than I would like to admit. What a fantastic idol yes idol what is said in this book is so true and there are so many more inspiring stories from so many other students/ staff members who's lives he has touched that it would fill bookshelves. This is a man with pride and great candor and this book was fantastically written to reflect it. I can't help but be reminded of the Last Lecture except it makes me so incredibly excited to know he is still here among us and is still accessible to any who want to reach him. This book was just outstanding
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on April 22, 2014
I actually got this book at the library and thoroughly enjoyed it. I am not a classroom teacher but have done a little professional teaching at work. While teaching to adults may be different in some ways from teaching to K12 students, I was so impressed by his ideas for captivating and engaging young minds (high schoolers in this instance) I purchased the book to give to an English teacher friend of mine. And I don't want to limit this to one particular group - there were definitely techniques and engagement ideas I could export to captivate and transform minds in a professional environment as well. I think this should be required reading for any teacher of literature. What is so wonderful is to read how the engagement that Menasche accomplished truly changed and brightened the life path for so many of his students. It is heartwarming to read of his great adventure.
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on February 8, 2014
My daughter is a teacher, I have been a teacher, I am a lover of words, and I am sick. I downloaded this book to my iPad 30 seconds after hearing about it. And now, some hours later, with tears still wet on my face, I'm glad I did. It's possible I wanted to read this book because the author is sick, and I was looking for insight. It is also possible that I wanted to read about a person who taught, really taught. To read about the things he said, and did, and how those things will live long after him. And isn't that something we all want? To be remembered - in a good way ; ) Well, I will remember Menasche. I will encourage others to read his book, and hope they will be inspired as I have.
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on April 26, 2014
The world needs more teachers like David Menasche. He has a true gift to teach, its deep in his soul. When faced with the truth that his cancer would prevent him from teaching in a classroom, he found a way to carry on teaching through the pages of this book. I felt inspired to create my own priority list and find my own self after finishing his book. I am sure there are so many more readers out there doing the very same thing. For this, his legacy will live on and reach a classroom size he could have never dreamed to have had. All of us who read this book are now Menasche's students. Thank you for your inspiration. Your true love for your students and passion for learning and growing were conveyed in your story and it gives me hope that there are people out there that truly and deeply care for others.
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on February 17, 2014
The news is full of depressing stories. David Menasche's story is a beacon of light in a dark world.

I initially ordered the book because I was interested in the systems (including the Priority List) David used to teach his high school English students. I couldn't put it down and read it cover to cover in an afternoon. David's journey and perspectives do offer insights about what it takes to be a truly great teacher and also on how to live life to its fullest without being afraid of death (even when it stares you in the face). David's story - which is told in a straightforward and honest way - includes lessons about friendship, vulnerability, courage, and growth.

The book moved me to tears and inspired me. It made me wish I could meet and talk to David. It reinforced my commitment to working with young people on a volunteer basis now that I am retired. I recommend it to anyone who is interested in seeing the world and humanity through a positive lens for a change.
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on January 29, 2014
I found this book from an opinion article about not being afraid of dying, authored by Menasche, that may or may not have been largely a plug for his book. I figured, "who cares if it is, because as he approaches the end of his life, what does he have to gain from money?" And for that matter, it was awfully gracious of him to write a book in his limited moments, so I felt it was worth a read, and I liked the premise.

I wanted to connect with someone who was confronting death head on. I recently lost my Grandmother very abruptly to complications from cancer. It is the first (and only) death I have ever witnessed up close and personally. I was given the privilege and pain of watching the entire process from her bedside without interruption. It was heart-wrenching and terrifying, the clinical way which it occurred and the jagged emptiness it filled me with to imagine that the end of my own life could be similarly awful has haunted me ever since. I wanted to find someone who could bravely stare death in the face and have an answer, because I couldn't. To that end, I am very grateful for this book.

I'll start my review by saying, this book wasn't exactly what I expected, and from a literary stand point, it's nothing spectacular. From a human standpoint, it's everything, and it changed my life in the subtle way that I think Menasche sets out to. As I began reading, there were many times where Menasche would point out some of the teaching techniques he would try, and the impact it would have, and I found myself rolling my eyes a bit - like he would say how he would respect his students, and in return they respected him, and as a maxim that works just fine, but the way he gets from a to b without any points in between was a bit ridiculous, as I've seen teachers who have tried to take the same route with their students and not even get a tenth of the traction. However, in time, I found myself excusing this, because surely this is not a book written to describe his teaching methods in depth (which, would actually make for a great sequel), and as he met with his students in the latter-half of the book, specific stories helped change the "I did this, then, MAGIC HAPPENED!" impression of his generalizations into something more understandable.

My problem was that I wanted him to be superhuman, someone I could idolize, someone who had these epic words of wisdom that nobody else could offer me who didn't walk in his shoes. He does not represent that ideal. I think he wishes he did - but I do not believe he thinks it of himself either. Rather, once my expectations were appropriately re-calibrated, I grew from liking this book to loving it. It is in his inescapable humanity that his story becomes believable. He isn't trying to be anybody but himself, and he's just trying to get the word out on his experiences before he can't any longer. At least, that's my impression.

I find solace in his unedited honesty. His book may in part be to prove his worth to himself, to apologize to his wife, and to establish a legacy where others who were not his students can see him through ideal eyes. I can't blame him for any of these things, and are the exact things I would want to do if I were in his position. He doesn't hide it, he doesn't mince words - I don't think there's time to; this book is what it is, and that is what makes it beautiful. I can feel him reflecting on himself, I can feel the tug of him drawing on his prior students to build himself up inside as his cancer drags him down. I am enamored with a man who both figuratively and literally runs from the reaper, denies and ignores it in a sense, while embracing that some day, he will no longer be able to have any control over his fate and will eventually, willingly or not, submit. This isn't a heavily refined autobiography, this is a blog in paperback format, the necessarily hastily edited thoughts of a dying man who has little time to weigh each word and just wants to go out knowing he made a difference. Don't we all.

I read this book in several hours one early morning when anxiety and insomnia kept me from my dreams. I cried nearly the entire way through, from watching a disease destroy a wonderful life, to watching a man refuse to be defined by that disease, to seeing the outpouring of love and support toward him, to watching him slowly and (albeit with documented difficulty) graciously lose a strong measure of control over his life and faculties. I wish I could have found the easy answers in this book to my consternation regarding death, but, I think with hard problems come only the hard answers - the ones we don't want to accept or the ones that only fit the person giving the answer. There is no right way to go about dying, but watching one man confront the issues of a fading life with honesty gives me a sort of strength and hope and also re-illustrates the importance of living the life I want to grow into right now, this day. I wish this book could have been longer and spent more time delving into the intimate details of each interaction he had, but I am happy with the glimpses I've got.

I tip my hat to Mr. Menasche. It is with great courage that he stopped his treatment and accepted his fate and the adventure that would govern his final days. I hope I too can find my own path to self fulfillment, for whatever it is worth when a fate becomes imminent and inevitable.

If you ever read this Mr. Menasche, thank you for sharing your story, and know that you've made a connection and impact upon yet another stranger whose path you'll likely never cross. You're a great teacher indeed and I wish I could have been one of your students, at a minimum just to see what it was all about. But, in a way, I guess that now I am.
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on February 1, 2014
I couldn't put the book down! It was such a touching story of David and his journey to rediscover his meaning in life. After being diagnosed with brain cancer he took charge of his life and didn't let his illness beat him down. Making it his journey cross country, visiting his former students along the way, you see how he transforms from almost giving up to gaining back his strength and will to survive. I loved everything about this book from the funny anecdotes of past events and the excerpts from his past students. This is one book you won't regret reading.
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on May 1, 2014
I bought this book because I read my sister's keeper and this was on the recommended read page with high reviews. I am sorry, I was not enthralled in this read. I thought it was rather boring and simplistic. I work in oncology and loved loved loved my sister's keeper, but this book just didn't do it for me.
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