The Last Lecture
Randy Pausch, Jeffrey Zaslow
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
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.
"We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand." --Randy Pausch
spent that week teaching, hanging out in an office up the hall from Jai. I stopped by a couple of times, however, just to see if she was all right. “I just wanted to see how you are,” I’d say. “If there’s anything I can do, let me know.” A few days later, Jai called. “Well, Randy, I’m sitting here missing you, just wishing you were here. That means something, doesn’t it?” Romancing the Brick Wall 7 9 She had come to a realization: She was in love, after all. Once again, my parents had come
coupled with more free-form peer feedback, which was essentially specific suggestions for improvement, such as “Let other people finish their sentences when they’re talking.” My hope was that more than a few students would see this information and say, “Wow, I’ve got to take it up a notch.” It was hard feedback to ignore, but some still managed. For one course I taught, I’d had students assess each other in the same way, but only let them know the quartile in which they ranked. I remember a
a lecture at the University of North Carolina. That was the trip that led to the most seminal moment in my life—when I met Jai. Make a Decision: Tigger or Eeyore 1 7 9 Sometimes, all you have to do is ask, and it can lead to all your dreams coming true. These days, given my short road ahead, I’ve gotten even better at “just asking.” As we all know, it often takes days to get medical results. Waiting around for medical news is not how I want to spend my time lately. So I always ask: “What’s
said. “That is what it is. We can’t change it. We just have to decide how we’ll respond. We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.” In that moment, I was definitely feeling healthy and whole, the Randy of old, powered no doubt by adrenaline and the thrill of a full house. I knew I looked pretty healthy, too, and that some people might have trouble reconciling that with the fact that I was near death. So I addressed it. “If I don’t seem as depressed or morose as I should
remember, when your father was your age, he was fighting the Germans.” After I got my PhD, my mother took great relish in introducing me by saying: “This is my son. He’s a doctor, but not the kind who helps people.” My parents knew what it really took to help people. They were always finding big projects off the beaten path, then throwing themselves into them. Together, they underwrote a fifty-student dormitory in rural Thailand, which was designed to help girls remain in school and avoid