Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Last Lecture by 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.

I have to admit, before my mom loaned me this book to read, I had never heard of Randy Pausch, and his Last Lecture. This was not something I would have picked up without a recommendation from mom. I enjoyed the book, but didn't find it awe inspiring.

The book is a quick read and the stories are short and to the point, some only a page or two. Most of the them are light but you could really tell Pausch cherished his family and was not really scared of dying, but was very sad to have to leave them behind. I think this book will be a treasure for his kids, who unfortunately never had the chance to really get to know him. 3.5 stars

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think it's hard to translate something "live" (or video'd and youTubed around the world, in this case)into book format. But it does make a more long-lasting tribute, and hopefully the money it brings in will help his kids through college, etc.
I haven't looked at the book; it was fitting of you to post this today in his memory.