The Last Lecture
by Randy Pausch and Jeffrey Zaslow
Click Here to Download the Book Numerous professors give talks titled "The Last Lecture." Professors are requested to ponder their passing and to cogitate on what is most important to them. And as they speak, listeners cannot help but consider the same question: What enlightenment would we convey to the universe if we knew it was our final opportunity? In the event we had to vanish tomorrow, what would we desire as our legacy? In this book, Randy Pausch has merged the wit, creativity and intelligence that made his lecture such a phenomenon and given it an enduring form. It is a publication that will be distributed for generations to come.
Reviews Imagine you are asked to give a "last lecture" as a university professor. This is a lecture that, if you could only pass on one last bit of your wisdom and experience, you would give to your students. As Carnegie Mellon was planning a series of these lectures, computer science professor Randy Pausch was asked to quickly select a topic for his lecture to be printed on a poster for the series. Days later he was informed that his cancer treatment was unsuccessful, and that he would not live longer than just a few months. With three young children, Pausch decided that it was in the best interest of his family if he compiled all that he - as a father - wanted to pass to his daughter and sons into one documented item. Pausch recalls, "I was trying to put myself in a bottle that would one day wash up on the beach for my children." And "The Last Lecture," consisting of fifty-three stories and pieces of advice, was that bottle. Not even half way through reading, I realized my life up until that point had ran nearly parallel to that of Pausch; we had similar childhoods, aspirations and flaws. Because these three points are the primary focuses of the book, I felt quite a personal connection to the messages. I was also pleasantly surprised to read such intimate reflections from a computer science professor, someone I would have guessed to be rather uptight.
I loved this book. It was one of those little gems of writing, much like Gibran's "The Prophet," that can be read very quickly and easily but whose philosophical profoundness begs you to slow down and really 'get' what the author is saying before moving on. It's also one of those books that you read and then in some situation in the future you are reminded of something the author said on the subject, and are compelled to revisit the text to read it in their own words. I will say, though, that this book is best read AFTER watching the actual lecture. He refers to bits of the lecture throughout the book, and while he recaps it enough to follow along without having seen the video, if you have watched his lecture first-hand you REALLY hear his voice coming through the words on the page. It breathes life into the book and really adds a whole new layer of enjoyment to the writing.
Diagnosed with incurable cancer, and only given a few months to live, the young father has to decide. What should be his legacy? What should he leave of himself to his two children, one of whom is too young to ever have any first hand memories of him. How does he say goodbye to the loves of his life. This book is Randy Pausch's legacy, to his family and to the world. Some leave a legacy of money, others leave a monument. Dr Pausch was a professor. He worked with words and ideas. And that is what he leaves as his legacy. The book comes out of his "Last Lecture", a talk that can be found on YouTube. Randy uses the book to tell who he is, what he believed in, what was important to him. All the things that one tries to convey over a lifetime, often unsuccessfully. He conveys his outlook on life. The love of life; The optimism; The drive to give; The simple joy in living. A wonderful set of values. Was the author perfect? Probably not. Does that matter? No it does not. I found it a wonderfully bittersweet book. It just makes you sit down and remember about all the wonder and joy that there is in this world. Randy Pausch died in 2008. The book, I think, is timeless.
Click Here to Download the Book