The Last Lecture, by Randy Pausch

Cover ImageFinished 10-22-08, rating 4/5, non-fiction, pub. 2008

“Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.”   -Chapter 39

Professor Randy Pausch was a man who had it all – a dream job, wonderful wife, three healthy children.  What the 47 year old did not have was a lot of time.  He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and given a short time to live.  This book is a companion to the Last Lecture he gave at Carnegie Mellon University in August 2007. 

I’m not sure what I expected, but it was not the upbeat and entertaining read that the book proved to be.  His ability to deal with his prognosis in such a constructive and inspirational way was profoundly touching.  This book was written for his children and it is full of advice and wisdom, but also filled with stories that will make you smile, like Randy and Jai’s hot air balloon ride on their wedding day.

I liked so many things about this book.  His argument for handwritten notes, his take on dented cars, and his belief in being a true mentor for his students are a few things that come to mind.  He also mentioned Ohio State in passing and that always gets points with me. 

I would recommend this book to anyone without hesitation.  It only takes a short time to read, but it will leave you feeling better about life.

The website, http://thelastlecture.com/index.htm, has access to extra information and you can watch the hour long Last Lecture from there as well.  Randy died in July, but his great spirit will live on not only through his words, but also through the thousands of people he touched during his lifetime.