Monday, December 15, 2008

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch with Jeffrey Zaslow

On July 25, 2008, computer science professor, Randy Pausch, died at the age of 47.

"The brick walls are there for a reason," he said during his last lecture. "The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something."

But instead of focusing on his death, Pausch spoke about living his life and about his childhood dreams. Many college professors are asked to give a last lecture on college campuses, so it wasn't necessarily a unique experience for Professor Pausch. What made it unique, was the fact that he was dying of pancreatic cancer. This book came about because of his lecture. I had heard about it and was mildly curious. It's not a book that I would normally pick up but I had decided on joining a book group at church and it was the selection chosen for Dec. I wasn't sure what to expect but I was pleasantly captivated by this book. There were things that I could relate to, like working at Walt Disney World, and things that brought back some of my childhood dream memories too. It's been fun for me to ponder and think about what it was like being a child and what actually were my dreams again?! There isn't anything earth-shattering in this book, instead Pausch focused on family, friends, life experiences and educational experiences as well. I really enjoyed reading about his educational experiences. It was refreshing to think of him as a Professor at Carnegie Mellon and how his education had shaped his own life and the way he taught or dealt with students. I could sense his excitement for learning and living.
Here are a couple of my favorite quotes from the book:
"Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted. And experience is often the most valuable thing you have to offer."

"Time is all you have. And you may find one day that you have less than you think."

Overall, it was a good and an easy read. I've enjoyed discovering my inner child again because of it.


Rebecca Reid said...

I also liked the inspiration in this book!

Unknown said...

I heard about this right after he gave the initial lecture. Mr Pausch was a Computer Science professor, so it hit the Geek crowd first. You can still see recordings o the actual lecture on YouTube, I believe, he's a very interesting speaker.

Rebecca Reid said...

Lots of info and links to the last lecture are at

Serena said...

wow this book is more enticing than ever.