The Last Lecture

The Last Lecture

by Randy Pausch

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Overview

"We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand."---Randy Pausch

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781401395513
Publisher: Hachette Books
Publication date: 04/08/2008
Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 21,675
File size: 2 MB
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Randy Pausch was a Professor of Computer Science, Human-Computer Interaction, and Design at Carnegie Mellon, where he was the co-founder of Carnegie Mellon's Entertainment Technology Center (ETC). He was a National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator and a Lilly Foundation Teaching Fellow. He had sabbaticals at Walt Disney Imagineering and Electronic Arts (EA), and consulted with Google on user interface design. Dr. Pausch received his bachelors in Computer Science from Brown University and his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University. He was the director of the Alice (www.alice.org) software project, and had traveled in zero-gravity. He lived with his wife, Jai, and their three young children in Virginia.

Jeff Zaslow wrote the Wall Street Journal column that fueled the initial interest in Randy Pausch's lecture. He is also the co-author of Captain Chesley Sullenberger's The Highest Duty and the author of The Girls from Ames, both bestsellers.

Introduction

I have an engineering problem.

While for the most part I'm in terrific physical shape, I have ten tumors in my liver and have only a few months left to live.

I am a father of three young children, and married to the woman of my dreams. While I could easily feel sorry for myself, that wouldn't do them, or me, any good.

So, how to spend my very limited time?

The obvious part is being with, and taking care of, my family. While I still can, I embrace every moment with them, and do the logistical things necessary to ease their path into a life without me.

The less obvious part is how to teach my children what I would have taught them over the next twenty years. They are too young now to have those conversations. All parents want to teach their children right from wrong, what we think is important, and how to deal with the challenges life will bring. We also want them to know some stories from our own lives, often as a way to teach them how to lead theirs. My desire to do that led me to give a "last lecture" at Carnegie Mellon University.

These lectures are routinely videotaped. I knew what I was doing that day. Under the ruse of giving an academic lecture, I was trying to put myself in a bottle that would one day wash up on the beach for my children. If I were a painter, I would have painted for them. If I were a musician, I would have composed music. But I am a lecturer. So I lectured.

I lectured about the joy of life, about how much I appreciated life, even with so little of my own left. I talked about honesty, integrity, gratitude, and other things I hold dear. And I tried very hard not to be boring.

This book is a way for me to continue what I began on stage. Because time is precious, and I want to spend all that I can with my kids, I asked Jeffrey Zaslow for help. Each day, I ride my bike around my neighborhood, getting exercise crucial for my health. On fifty-three long bike rides, I spoke to Jeff on my cell-phone headset. He then spent countless hours helping to turn my stories—I suppose we could call them fifty-three "lectures"—into the book that follows.

We knew right from the start: None of this is a replacement for a living parent. But engineering isn't about perfect solutions; it's about doing the best you can with limited resources. Both the lecture and this book are my attempts to do exactly that.

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The Last Lecture (Enhanced Edition) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 456 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book for a class and instantly loved it! This book is so motivational and inspired me to live each day to its potential because life is a gift. Randy put so much of himself into this that i felt like i truly got to know him. I took so many life lessons away from this humerous read and it continues to inspire me months after i read it. This will stay with you forever and may even change your outlook on life. This is simply amazing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I lovethis book. It taught me a lot about life. I wwould reccommend this book for all teenagers.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
At the time of reading my father was passing away from.cancer. It truely touched my heart in so many ways. Very easy read and inspiring. Filled with life like experiences he went through.
RobinMacBlane More than 1 year ago
"The Last Lecture" is very inspriational and heart-felt. I find it very refreshing to hear someone's true story and that that person wants to share his experience for the betterment of all. So sorry that the circumstances of his writing came about because of his terminal illness. That is why this story is so inspirational. Most of the time people do not use their time to the greatest benefit, become slack, and then, when it's almost too late, does the person then try to cram in a lifetime of everything into a few precious moments. Use time wisely and lovingly. May God Bless.
Anonymous 7 months ago
"The Last Lecture- Legacy" by Randy Pausch. This is an amazing book for many reasons. The main character of this book is Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University, was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer at very young age of 47 years. Despite of heavy treatments, his doctor gave him three-six months to live. so he decided to write a last lecture in form of legacy for his kids, students and family. He talked about honesty,integrity,gratitude,achieving childhood dreams and many more. The whole book is divided into six sections. which is very positive if focused on dreaming big, hard work, perseverance, sacrifice a positive outlook. In the second section, he talked about" Really achieving childhood dream" he shared his love for his parents, Moreover, he described his failure and how many of them translated later into success. he was extremely upset about his cancer but he decided to live out his remaining days as happily as possible with his loved once. he talked about "break down the brick walls" and how to be a tiggar and many more things. Randy pausch faces his imminent death with the some passion. He inspired me a lot in many ways, i think we shouldn't wait to achieve our dreams, because we never know the future. he celebrated his life, his family, his friends, his career. In the section four " Enabling the dreams of other" he gave many advice which is indeed true. I like his one of his quote which is "you can always change your plan, but if you have one". he truly inspired a lot by this book people gets motivated by his last lecture. I am little disappointed with him because in his last time he was busy in his last lecture but he should have spend more time with his family. In my opinion, this is the best book ever. It gives life long lesson about positive attitude , childhood dreams, legacy, motivation,and mostly how to live your life.
Anonymous 7 months ago
" The Last Lecture by Randy Paush" This book is inspirational book, I ever found. I don't hesitate to give rating as 5 for this book. The characters involved in this book are Randy Paush, a writer of this book, his wife and children. This books talks about the experience and dream in real life of the people. It also talks about how to grab opportunity and bring it in to own self. Iam really impressed with the strong thoughts and concrete idea of living as Randy Paush did it very energetically in his novel. His "Really achieving Childhood Dreams" impressed me in my real life. I found his book is filled with humor and intelligent. Not only those things, I really appreciate the way , the writer tried to relay lot of living successful messages and prioritize his lecture about the success instead of his incurable cancer. This book is one of my inspirational and motivating book in my life.
SassySam09 7 months ago
The main character in this story is a fairly, young teacher that has just found out that he has cancer. In the story the author goes back and fourth explaining his life now and his life from the past. You find yourself traveling on a time machine going back to his childhood, and the people and things that have made a big impact on his life. He writes this story because he knows his time here on earth is numbered and he wanted to write this for his children so they would better know who their father was. The book will inspire you, that no matter what you are going through in life you can make the best out of anything. I really did enjoy book. It was nice to really get to know Randy in his story, due to him giving such great details about his life. He not only wanted you to know how he was in the present, but he also wanted you to know how he grew up, the things that he would always remember and the people that made such an impact on him. I believe not only did he write the book for his children to know who their father was, but to also go and see those that did make an impact on their father. I think the book was a very, easy read and was enjoying book that will want you to keep reading and not put the book down. Randy put a lot of thought on how he was going to make this book dedicated to his children.
Myeasha Baltimore. 7 months ago
The last lecture was a great book for someone who needs motivation to not give up in life. The author Randy was a dying man, but that did not let him give up in life. Randy still had the courage to stand in front of people to tell them not to take their life for granted and to use their time wisely. He talked about real life situations that many people can relate to. Also he gave really good tips about procrastination, to make good use of your time, to fight for what you want. he says " A set back in life is not failure, it is a test to see how bad you want to accomplish your goal" to see if you will fight for what you want.
LizzyHenry17 7 months ago
Title: The Last Lecture Author: Randy Pausch Ratings: 4 out of 5 stars Summary: The novel is an autobiography by Randy Pausch who was given the opportunity to write a lecture about his own life and titled it “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams”. Shortly after, he finds out he has pancreatic cancer and he only has a few months to live. The lecture then became his last lecture. The lecture he gave was not all about dying, it was a lot about getting through obstacles in life and not giving up. He decided to write a book also called “The Last Lecture”. He wrote it for his children to read so they would know a little about their father when they are older. My Opinion: I think this novel was one of the best stories I have read. It is very motivational and shows that you should never give up, even if you are given news like Randy received. The only reason I gave the book 4 stars is because I think the author repeats himself a lot. Although, he does that I still think he puts a lot of helpful key points in the story and really explains the kind of person he was well.
DaltonFogelman 9 months ago
The Last Lecture proved to be a great read for anyone looking for a decently-sized, nonfiction read. This book goes over the life of Randy Pausch, a college teacher and family-man, with two infants who is diagnosed with fatal pancreatic cancer, and given a few months to live out his life. From then on, he decides to go and give a final lecture to his college students, that would go over his life. This book goes over the lecture that he gave to his kids, and Randy elaborates over the parts of his life. Each chapter of the book focuses on a part of his life, that correlates to the slides on his presentation. I had few dislikes for the book, and I thought it was both well written and emotional. The unique format of the book is also great, and makes each chapter much more unique and special to the readers. This book was great and is well-priced for a quick pickup for those who like reading and will draw you in for a solid few hours. Overall, I’d rate it a 5/5 read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was truly touching and inspiring.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was a great read, sad but great! Some chapters may be short but it makes you really stop and think about things in your daily life, how you look at things and how you can better yourself and others around you.
tjsjohanna on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What I enjoyed most about this book was the way Mr. Pausch invited his readers into his life, into what he found meaningful in the face of death, and into a way of approaching death in a life-affirming way. Many of the things he shares are not startlingly insightful, yet they are heartfelt and sincere. In some ways, that is the gift of the book - that normal people can approach the most difficult of life experiences with optimism, hope, and a sense of joy.
les121 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Great life advice for pretty much everybody. Very touching.
Clif on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Imminent death has a way of concentrating the mind. In Randy Pausch's case, diagnosis of a fatal disease inspired him to deliver a last lecture that will be remembered for many years as the mother of last lectures. Thanks to youtube.com thousands of people have viewed his last lecture. This book covers the same material that's in the lecture plus it contains additional comments, background information and embellishments of the stories. The book is about four times as long as the lecture. R...more Imminent death has a way of concentrating the mind. In Randy Pausch's case, diagnosis of a fatal disease inspired him to deliver a last lecture that will be remembered for many years as the mother of last lectures. Thanks to youtube.com thousands of people have viewed his last lecture. This book covers the same material that's in the lecture plus it contains additional comments, background information and embellishments of the stories. The book is about four times as long as the lecture. Randy had a life filled with accomplishments and interesting experiences. But it was his skill as a lecturer and story teller that enabled him to make a presentation containing a contagious optimism that ends up being a pep talk for the rest of us. What a way to say goodbye!Read in August, 2008
splinfo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A mostly unsentimental memoir about the people and events that Pausch talked about in "The Last Lecture", the talk he gave at Carnegie Mellon University in 2007 which became an Internet phenomenon. Excellent reader.
lchs.mrso on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Last Lecture by Randy PauschThis is a true story about a professor at Carnegie Mellon who is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and is given a limited time to live. Instead of focusing on his fight with cancer, though, he chooses to devote all of his time to being with his family and helping his kids grow up without him. He writes one last lecture for his college with the theme of ¿Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams.¿ In it, he focuses on finding what you really cared about as a child and making it a reality in your life.The cover of this book is mad to look like an unopened package with a spaceship drawn by a child on it. The cover does make a person curious as to what they will find in the book and about what it means.I would recommend this book to anyone who wants an excellent story about overcoming the inevitable and helping those around you. However, if someone is looking for a story with conflict and action, this is not it.
jmchshannon on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Simply put, if you have not seen the video of Mr. Pausch's last lecture or read this book, you need to make every effort to do so. Mr. Pausch's legacy on how to approach life and death is well worth the effort. His message spans generations, providing food for thought for young and old.Based on his last lecture given at Carnegie Mellon, the book references his thought process while developing this famous lecture, his feelings and thoughts while giving it and some of what occurred in his life in the months afterwards. His life lessons are simple but true but force the reader or listener to rethink one's own approach to life.One of the most enjoyable aspects of the novel is Mr. Pausch's self-awareness. He lived an extraordinary life, and he knows it. Yet, he does not take a single moment of that life for granted. Yes, he experienced situations most people will only dream of facing, both good and bad, yet he worked hard to achieve his dreams. His "unusual" approach to life - work hard, don't whine - is what made him successful, and it is a lesson a majority still need to learn.Make no mistake, The Last Lecture will tear at your heartstrings. One cannot help but place oneself into Mr. Pausch's shoes, wondering how one would react if faced with terminal cancer at a young age and with very young children. Yet, as painful as it was to read at times, it forced me to question my own attitudes and behaviors. As with other self-help books I've read this past year, it was exactly what I needed to read to help me see my own faults and where I was going wrong in my life at work and at home.The Last Lecture is a novel that will stay with me for a very long time. Mr. Pausch's love of life, his acceptance of the inevitable, his will to fight, and yet his ability to prepare for the future in which he will not be a part is unlike anything I've experienced to date. However, I cannot help but feel lucky that I was able to get a glimpse into this incredibly unselfish person's mindset and grateful that he felt comfortable enough to share with the world his very private thoughts. Mr. Pausch moved me to my very core.As an audio, The Last Lecture excels. Mr. Pausch has a natural story-telling ability that shines via audio. Mr. Singer was an excellent narrator, evoking a charm and sympathy that goes above and beyond the words on the page. He balances the more depressing aspects of the novel without becoming overly sentimental or emotional. As powerful as the novel is in print, I personally feel it was heightened by the audio performance.I cannot express how much I enjoyed this novel, even as I was exercising with tears running down my face. It is a novel unlike any other. I already have designs to purchase the novel for my son and will be downloading this to my husband's iPod for his listening enjoyment. If you have not had the pleasure, you truly need to add The Last Lecture to your TBR pile!
Kirstin2015 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Last Lecture is about a man, Randy Pausch, who is a professor that has been diagnosed with pancriatic cancer. Most professors give a "Last Lecture" before they retire. Randy Pausch gives his last lecture before he dies. This incredible story is about Randy's childhood dreams, his accomplishments and the lecture he gives a few months before he was told he is going to die. The Last Lecture is all about chasing after your dreams, and making the most of life. Randy Pausch has been diagnosed with cancer and told he is probably going to die and Instead of moping about he spends as much time as possible with his family and does things he's always dreamed about doing. This book has really inspired me to make the most of the time I have. To live like I was dying.
SqueakyChu on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The first thing I did after starting to read this book about a college professor dying of pancreatic cancer was to check online to see if he were still alive. As the memoirs of Randy Pausch open, even though I knew he was diagnosed with a terminal illness, he seemed so alive in his writing. It was the kind of ¿aliveness¿ that almost seems to defy the certainty of an imminent death. It was heartwarming, but sad, to read Randy words. If I would be in Randy¿s situation, I¿d probably want to write something similar although I¿m not sure I¿d be in the mood or have the fortitude to do so. What I liked most about his book was thinking that his words would eventually become a conversation that Randy would have with his children long after he¿d be gone. It was that part of the book, the fact that he¿d never live to see his children grown nor would they be able to really know their dad once he was gone, that I found the most difficult to read. I liked Randy¿s funny anecdotes. When someone looks back on memories of a departed individual, what lightens hearts the most are those funny stories that connect that person to friends and family. Randy¿s experiences were certainly notable. His inspirational thoughts and ideas were nice, but I don¿t think it take a terminal illness to live the way he proposes. Perhaps, in his case, it took his illness to open his eyes to this. Mostly I¿m grateful to the author, if only for simply sharing what it is like to be in his situation, maybe with the hope of helping other individuals in similar situations.
reannon on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Yes, I'd like to have known Randy Pausch. The book shows a man with a great sense of humor, intelligence, rationality, loving husband and father. It is a great tragedy he died so young, but he left a legacy that is helping so many people.
jpsnow on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was initially underwhelmed but soon found myself smiling along with Pausch and receiving a heartfelt lesson about making the most of life, every day.
cal8769 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If given the opportunity to talk about your life for the last time, what would you say. Randy Pausch was asked to lecture in the Last lecture series at the university where he taught. The twist is, he is dying for real.A moving talk about his children and wife, students and his mentors, and the lessons he has learned .
phoenixcomet on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Professor Randy Pausch is currently dying of pancreatic cancer. Asked to participate in the "Last Lecture" series of talks at Carnegie-Mellon, for Randy, it actually is his last lecture. The topic of his lecture was "Achieving your childhood dreams" and the message was one about hope and about perseverance. So much of what he experienced I could relate to. He chose to participate in the "last lecture" (where professors are asked to deliver to students the message they would like for them to take with them if they no longer existed) to send a message to humanity and mostly to send a memory to his kids that he will not be around to raise.
damcg63 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a book to buy and to keep around the house. Read the last chapter when you are having a bad day.