Title: The Last Lecture
Author: Randy Pausch
Genre: Non-Fiction, Thought
Publisher: Two Roads
Publication Date: 24th June 2010
Summary: When Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, was asked to give ‘a last lecture’ lecture, he didn’t have to imagine it as his last, since he had recently been diagnosed with terminal pancreatic 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.
Read this book. If it’s the only book you read this week, this year, this life time, i urge you to make this book the one. It takes quite a lot for a book to impact me as much as this one has, but it has so many incredible life lessons, teamed with a fantastic, tragic story that it’s hard not to learn something. This book is so important, i have no idea why more people are not aware of it.
I picked The Last Lecture up a few months ago after learning the premise. Randy Pausch was a computer scientist, working at Carnegie Mellon as a lecturer and had been on some pretty great life adventures so far. Recently married and a new father to three young children, Randy was diagnosed with terminal cancer. This book is the story (in his own words) of how he got to the point of delivering his final lecture and dealing with the loss of his life.
I’ve read books similar to this before, mainly thought provoking books about depression and mental health. Books that make you think about life. This was completely different because it was coming from a person who knew fully well he was near death. Randy was aware he had months to live, he was aware he had a wonderful family and work life and he was also aware he needed to create a lasting impression on everyone around him; for his sake and theirs.
This book is not just a book about how to live your life, it’s so much more than that. It gives anecdotes of Randy’s life and experiences he’s been through to become the successful man he was. The Last Lecture gives you hints and tips on how to improve your own life, stop stress and worry and also gives an insight in to how those things have worked for someone nearing the end of life.
Randy was only forty seven when he passed away, leaving behind a young family, and that is present within this story. He wanted to give his children something to remember him by, and at times his last lecture was just that.
There were so many parts to his life that i enjoyed learning about. For instance, there are stories of Disney in this book where Randy worked closely with the company as an imaginer. It’s so much more than a story about death and the road to dying.
The writing is easily digestible and makes you want to keep reading and keep reading. It makes you want to learn more of his family and more of his work life and what truly happened in the end. There are bite sized nuggets of intelligence that sound so obvious yet so far away from anything i would have ever thought. It makes you think about your own life.
The strongest part of this book for me was the voice that came across in the writing. Randy had a way or portraying himself which i believe to be his true self. He didn’t leave any part of his life or family out of the book, which made it so much more raw and real. I appreciated the honesty that he gives the audience with his story.
There are obviously sad parts to this story, especially in the final few chapters i shed a few tears. But Randy dedicated the last few months of his life to not just enlightening his children’s lives, but the lives of many others by teaching them things he’d learned throughout his life. That’s a very brave and noble thing to do. He sailed through with such optimism, happiness and determination that it’s hard not to like him as a person.
I cannot recommend this book enough, it was truly wonderful. My pages are filled with sticky notes on the pages that i want to read over and over again. It’s refreshing to find a non-fiction book that is filled with intelligence, humour and inspiration all in one. I still fully cannot bring my thoughts together of this book, but i suggest you go get yourself a copy.
If you’d like to learn more about Randy’s story or his Last Lecture, you can purchase his book along side a recording of his Last Lecture being on YouTube.