Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Last Lecture

by Randy Pausch and Jeffrey Zaslow

from amazon.com:

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.

I kind of picked up this book on a whim. I was having a hard time navigating my new library - it's under construction and the signs that tell you where the books are were not accurate - so I was just kind of wandering around. I saw the book (which has a real cool cover) and vaguely remembered hearing that the author had died. It's a short book, so I decided to give it a try.

I'm not really sure how one reviews a book of this sort. Going in, I was afraid it would be over the top and cheesy. I didn't find it that way at all. His stories were mostly feel good stories with a moral attached at the end. Randy was able to do some really cool things in his life. Some of the stories/morals I agreed with completely, others less so (I can't imagine always carrying around $200!), but I didn't feel like I was being preached at or that I am bad for not agreeing with everything.

This book is a feel good read. The context of the story is quite sad - he's a dad leaving behind very young children - but he really does seem to be taking it all in stride. "We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand."

An enjoyable, quick read.


Laura H said...

KT, I listen to this one on CD during Thanksgiving and LOVED it. It is on my top 10 of this year's books. I felt it was very inspiring. The reader was very good too.

Chain Reader said...

I'm glad you reviewed this because I was wondering how it was. I feel like I've gotten the thumbs up!

KT said...

Laura H - I'm glad you liked it.

Chain - I think it's definitely worth checking out. I hope you'll like it!