The Last Lecture
Randy Pausch, Jeffrey Zaslow, Published April 8, 2008, Hyperion
We have just celebrated Mother’s Day, and I really miss my Mom. She died almost 30 years ago, and especially on Mother’s Day she is in my thoughts. I was perusing through my book collection, and picked this book up to read again. It reminded me to think more about her life and less about her death. So this book review is dedicated to Mom, and to all those we have lost through the years.
Many 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.
Pausch’s “Last Lecture” is available in a YouTube video, and I would recommend watching it. However, the book adds some great material. If you want a great quick read, one that will give you a quick uplift and help you to remember what is really important, this is a good one.