If you haven’t yet, take the time to watch something called The Last Lecture. It can be found all over Google, YouTube and of course at thelastlecture.com
The Last Lecture for those living under a rock was given by an incredibly brave man by the name of Randy Pausch. Randy had pancreatic cancer and had only months to live. Carnegie Melon has a longstanding tradition of allowing its professors to give a “last lecture”. It’s essentially the lecture that they would give if they found out they were dying. Randy had the unfortunate coincidence of actually being terminal when he gave his lecture. In it, he spoke about achieving his childhood dreams, how he went about doing it, his children and his wife Jai. He talked about how he was raised, the values his parents instilled in him and how important it is to live each day to the fullest.
This book takes that lecture (which lasted a little over an hour) and puts it into a nice light little read which spans just more then 200 pages. It’s broken down into short chapters (maybe a page or two at most) that are written almost as anecdotes or musings. Randy relays stories that vary from him being on the football team to the time when he took his staff to Disney World to celebrate a major accomplishment. He talks about smashing VCRs in front of his classes and painting his room when he was a child. What he talks very little about is the cancer that is literally eating him alive. In fact, if he didn’t remind you from time to time you may just forget about it as you read this book.
As the father of two small children I can only imagine the pain that Randy must have felt knowing that he would miss so much of his children’s lives. He utilized both the lecture and this book as something that he could leave behind for them. Be prepared for a couple of tears because once you sit back and realize what he’s doing it’s tough to hold them back. If you’ve read this far into this “review” then you know how I feel about the book. I’m not going to bother going into any more detail.
Rest in peace Randy. You were an incredible man with and unbelievable outlook in the face of such adversity. While your wife and children will miss you terribly you should know that you’ve left a lasting legacy that reaches much further than your family unit.