Friday, June 19, 2009
Review: The Last Lecture
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. www.thelastlecture.com
First I would like to acknowledge www.bookingmama.blogspot.com for the idea of putting the official book description at the top of my reviews. I liked it so much I followed the idea...hope you don't mind...
I recently finished The Last Lecture for another online book club and really found it refreshing and special. It isn't often that you pick up a book about someone's final days due to a terminal illness and don't spend the entire time crying. Mr. Pausch wrote - with the help of Jeff Zaslow- a touching legacy to leave his children. Upon learning of his terminal diagnosis he wanted to know that his kids would have something tangible to remember and get to know their father. This book will do exactly that. They will learn that he was full of life and joy and believed everyone should not only have dreams but should try to fulfill them. It is full of those cliches that everyone says all the time and never really thinks about. It breaks them down so you can understand just why they matter and what you should be doing with the knowledge. I have to admit that every once in awhile I found him to come across a bit arrogant, but I felt okay about it. This was a book for his children to know all he accomplished by pursuing dreams and to know the depth of his love. So, if it sometimes came across as a book to list those things then it did exactly what it was supposed to. He took all of those realized dreams and the times he had a true friend or mentor "put him in his place" and found a way to take a part in raising his children even when he is gone.
I found the writing to be easy to follow. It is a book I would like to encourage my teenage daughter to read, because I would like her to learn these lessons before she is out on her own in this world.