The Last Lecture

The Last Lecture


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Patrick's Review

The premise is simple: if you were to give a ‘last lecture’ before you die, what would you say? For a computer science Professor in the USA, that becomes a reality when, after finding out he is riddled with cancer, he is given only a few months to live. Randy Pausch tackles this grim news with an optimist outlook; he considers his ‘last lecture’ as an opportunity to give his perspective on dying and what life means to him. As a young man confused about how to spend my time, this book was a real goosebump-inducer; knowing that your time is finite, you shouldn’t be in a rush to do thing; try to enjoy the moment. One particular anecdote is worth mentioning: Pausch writes about how he continues to learn things about his dead father, and how this assures him that his kids will still grow up learning something new about their father without him being there.

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch is one of the hardest-hitting books I have ever read. Pausch has written a guide to life, work, and family that expresses a sense of optimism despite his knowledge that he’s dying. He feels he has left his mark with his ‘last lecture,’ and hopes that his young kids and wife will find contentment knowing that everything he has to teach them is told through the stories of his life and what he has learnt. I loved this book.

Publisher’s Review 

'A phenomenon' - SUNDAY TIMES.

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: 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 humour, 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.