Review: The Last Lecture

The Last Lecture is a book filled with living-life-to-the-fullest advice from a college professor. While to some this might sound as interesting as reading a doctoral dissertation, you'd be surprised.

The author, Randy Pausch, a professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon who was diagnosed with terminal cancer, writes so well that you'd probably let him teach you about computers too. Some things he talks about include: remember to laugh, seizing every moment, overcoming obstacles, appreciate the gifts you recieve, and enabling the dreams of others.

Although the author died this year, his wisdom will no doubt be around awhile in this very enlightening book. Other books in this genre I liked include "Finding Happiness in a Frustrating World". (source: author website)

I have wanted to read this book for months and since I knew I would be spending hours and hours hiking on vacation this summer, I bought the audio book from iTunes so I could listen (just under 6 hours, including an interview with the author). I was so inspired when hiking and listening to Randy Pausch’s story, it actually helped me push forward when I was exhausted – how do you stop hiking when you are listening to a dying man’s last wish?

This book reads like ‘Tuesday’s with Morrie’ and I will be buying this for gifts (I also need to pick up a copy for my guest room). Everyone should read this book.

Below is a good review I found on BN.COM that sums it up nicely:
I suggested this book as an afterthought to my book group who had been complaining about the dark and somber books we had been reading during the past year. When I pitched the idea of The Last Lecture and described it as the author's last work after being diagnosed with a terminal disease everyone was stunned into silence. When I realized what assumptions they had been making about this book I quickly explained that it is one of the most life affirming books they will ever read. It is simple in its structure and in the points that are made but, Randy's voice and the supporting anecdotal examples he provides make this book come alive. His passion for his life's dreams, his wife, young family and his work as a professor at Carnegie Mellon infuses all he does and touches everyone in his life in a meaningful way. If you were not at the lecture hall, have not yet seen the lecture on You Tube please do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of this book, so you can be touched by Randy's own instructional life lessons. Everyone in my book group loved it, people I had loaned copies to decided to keep them permanently and I will definitely get myself a replacement copy to keep handy as a reminder of the important opportunity life gives you to leave a legacy which continues long after you've gone in the people you have met for whom you've made a difference. This book is a real gem! While not an overtly spiritual work, I found it very comforting and inspiring. Add it to your library and give it as gift. This is definitely worth sharing with those people you care about.
Click here to listen to the lecture

Type: Patient Narrative, 224 pages, trade paperback

"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.

Reviews:BN.COM Review: Wow this is fantastic it really motivates you to reach for the stars and go for it. Thanks Randy and Family you are an inspiration.