Review: The Last Lecture

The Last Lecture – Randy Pausch


From the back cover –

A lot of professors give talks titled “The Last Lecture.”  While they speak, audiences can’t help but mull the question:  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 overcoming obstacles, enabling the dreams of others, and seizing every moment.  It was about living.

Randy Pausch has combined the humor, inspiration, and intelligence that made his lecture such a phenomenon and created a book that will be shared for generations to come.

My thoughts –

You know what, I really enjoyed this little book.  The way Pausch gives his advice, or life lessons as he sort of calls each chapter, is very matter-of-fact and not at all preachy.  He’s basically saying, this is how I lived my life and I have been pretty successful and am incredibly happy, so maybe you should consider doing a few of these things too.  Which, in my opinion, is a great way to impart wisdom – don’t push it, just tell me what you think, why you think it, and how it helped you in our own life.  What I liked about Pausch’s book is that it was very concise, informative, wise, and even though he was expecting to die in the next 3-6 months, not at all sad.  Sure there were moment when he talked about being sad that he wouldn’t see his kids grow up, or when he acknowledged the fact that his wife would have a hard time without him, but he was rather optimistic about the entire thing.  He got his affairs in order, and then set about living as best he could for his last few months on earth.  And it was very inspiring to read… I really, really enjoyed reading it.

As a sidenote, I Wiki’d Pausch after I finished the book and turns out, he did pass away in late July of 2008.  If I have the timeline correct, I think that he lived an extra 6 months or so from what his doctor originally told him, which is nice to know.  After reading his book it’s weird for me to think that his family is currently in Virginia, and have been dealing with the last 5 months without him… it’s just, you know, so CURRENT, and most books you read aren’t so much like that.  I hope and pray with all my heart that his wife and three children are surrounded by family and friends and grieving in peace.  My heart goes out to them right now.

PS… read this book.  I really liked it and I think you will too.

Also reviewed by: Stacy at Stacy’s Bookblog, Kristen at Book Club Classics, Rebecca at Rebecca Reads, and Melissa at Shh I’m Reading.

8 thoughts on “Review: The Last Lecture”

  1. I saw him on Oprah maybe a year or so ago, and I absolutely fell in love with his story. I’ve watched his whole lecture on youtube and it really just speaks to me. I went out and got this book the day it was released & I definately loved it, I’m glad you liked it too!

  2. Thanks for your review, Heather. I’ve had this book on my TBR list since I saw his lecture on YouTube. He was a special man. Wise and full of grace. When I heard of his death, I also thought immediately of his wife and kids. He so obviously loved them all. I hope his children can one day take his words to heart and lead their own blessed life.

  3. I have heard about this. I actually didn’t know it was a book, but my friend had emailed a video of part of the lecture. I never did watch it because I thought it would be too sad. Maybe I should reconsider.

  4. I hadn’t heard of him until the day my husband told me he died. “Who?” I asked. He tried to explain to me, but I didn’t get it until I saw this book sitting on my mom’s coffee table. I agree, it’s very inspiring.

  5. when i was in 6th grade my teacher read this book to us. i liked it so much that i went and got it from the library and i read it. after i read it i recommended it to my mom and she loved it.

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