The Last Lecture

Carnegie Mellon Professor Randy Pausch‘s The Last Lecture went viral. So viral that he was invited to reprise his lecture on Oprah and appear on Diane Sawyer. He received so many letters and emails from people who were touched by his lecture. 

Through this book, Randy Pausch was given a new medium to communicate. A professor dying of pancreatic cancer, Randy Pausch talked about “How to Really Achieve Your Childhood Dreams”. This relatively easy read is packed with life lessons and beautiful moments that make a well-lived life. Randy Pausch’s quest to preserve a legacy for his children unwittingly set the course for him to leave a legacy to the world. Experience is truly the best teacher. Pausch’s no-nonsense, no-self-pity attitude is something for all of us to learn from. His insights on parenting, discipline, perseverance, pride, humility and passion reminds us of things we know in our gut but too often forget. I cannot help but tear-up when he talks about what his wife of 8 years whispered to him during his last lecture. I also cried when he talks of his children and how he is saying goodbye to them without their knowledge. 

What makes the book different from watching the lecture is that Randy Pausch discusses the aftermath of the lecture. He talks of lessons he learned from the emails he received and even gives us a glimpse of applying what he learned from Diane Sawyer. But what truly struck me about The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch is the sense of humor and positive attitude the author exudes. Pausch, himself, quoted a friend who said that he is the poster boy for balancing optimism and realism. This is very true. He truly succeeded in leaving a legacy for his children. We will all do well to learn from him.

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