26 July 2009 ~ 0 Comments

(Book) The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch


You are supposed to cry when you read this book, and I did a lot of that. I think the fact that you read this knowing that the man has less than a year to live as he wrote it makes it even more powerful – and sad.

The book is what you would expect from a professor that is writing about what they’ve learned in their life. He’s a little pompous from time to time and knows that he is being that way, he has a huge ego and isn’t afraid to admit it. Unfortunately, his personality grated me from time to time.

However, when thinking about how this book was written – on a bike, knowing he has a limited number of days to do this and wanting to leave a legacy for his children. I truly do believe this book was written for his kids – both as a hope it would as well as it has and leave them in a very comfortable lifestyle AND as a way of him leaving advice, thoughts, hopes and dreams for them.

As I was writing this, a friend asked me if I thought this book was worth buying and reading. I really don’t know. I haven’t seen the Last Lecture DVD or YouTube or whatever. I think if you need a good cry, this will do the trick. Some of his quotes in the book are memorable, so I’ll leave you with my personal favorite. Perhaps I identified with this one so much because I can be critical myself. I always tell people what I’m thinking.

When you see yourself doing something badly and nobody’s bothering to tell you anymore, that’s a very bad place to be. Your critics are your ones telling you they still love you and care.


“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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