Sunday, August 17, 2008

Book Review:The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

Book Review:

The Last Lecture

About The Book:
The Last Lecture goes beyond the now-famous lecture to inspire us all to live each day of our lives with purpose and joy.

“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.

I had first heard of Randy Pausch when I saw an interview he did on the Oprah show. I was very touched and inspired by his message, outlook on his life and approach to handling his cancer diagnosis. When I heard that this book was out, I knew that I had to read it. I found it full of wisdom, although many of the sentiments I've heard before. The author was able to apply them to his own life and share how he did this. My husband listened to the book on CD and we both felt that this book was one that made us stop and think about how short life can be and how important it is to appreciate each day that you are given. Sadly, Randy died last month and left behind a wife and 3 children who will be blessed by the choices he has made in preserving his legacy through this book and his You Tube video titled "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams.


  1. Hi Bonnie, I've been thinking of reading this for a while now. I saw him on 20/20 I think it was and it broke my heart. Very sad that such a good man passed on so soon.

  2. Dar,
    I would recommend reading the book.
    It's a short book and very meaningful. Randy had accomplished a lot in his life and had an amazing spirit through his diagnosis and treatment. It's the kind of book that makes you pause and think about things in life and your own outlook and attitudes. I haven't watched the You Tube video yet but plan to this week.


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