The Last Lecture review

last-lectureIf you have internet access and you’re familiar with the video of Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture at Carnegie Mellon University, you may not get much out of this review.  The book is an extension of the lecture itself however, so it is certainly worth reading!  For anyone not familiar with the impetus of the book, it stems from a tradition at Carnegie Mellon of inviting professors to deliver a message of ultimate importance in a series called “Journeys.”  Pausch had already been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer when he was invited to give his last lecture, so it took on more meaning than the series intended.  Pausch delivered an inspiring lecture on achieving childhood dreams that has gone on to touch innumerably more lives than those that packed the hall that day.  A computer science professor, he must have been delighted by the way the video has been propagated online.  As a father of three young children, Pausch directed his comments to leave a legacy for his kids, and that legacy has become something of a phenomenon.

I can’t really say that I took away any new life lessons from reading the book, but that isn’t saying it didn’t resonate with me.  His mentality of overcoming obstacles was similar to my own (“Brick walls are there to keep out those who don’t want it enough”), and I was impressed by how far that mindset took him.  I could also identify with his experience playing football and his “recovering jerk” status.  Like Pausch I have two sons and a daughter, and this book has prompted me to ponder the legacy I am leaving for them, which is one of the primary services of reading.  This happens to be a terrific New Year’s Eve read!


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