Customer Reviews for

The Last Lecture

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

31 out of 32 people found this review helpful.

The Last Lecture

"The Last Lecture" is a book filled with living-life-to-the-fullest advice from a college professor. While to some this might sound as interesting as reading a doctoral dissertation, you'd be surprised.

The author, Randy Pausch, a professor of computer science...
"The Last Lecture" is a book filled with living-life-to-the-fullest advice from a college professor. While to some this might sound as interesting as reading a doctoral dissertation, you'd be surprised.

The author, Randy Pausch, a professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon who was diagnosed with terminal cancer, writes so well that you'd probably let him teach you about computers too. Some things he talks about include: remember to laugh, seizing every moment, overcoming obstacles, appreciate the gifts you recieve, and enabling the dreams of others.

Although the author died this year, his wisdom will no doubt be around awhile in this very enlightening book. Other books in this genre I liked include "Finding Happiness in a Frustrating World".

posted by 756396 on January 2, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

41 out of 70 people found this review helpful.

Don't believe the hype!

The Last Lecture certainly garnered quite a bit of popularity over the last year. Personally, I heard about the book from friends, bosses, coworkers, and classmates; every literate person I knew seemed to be raving out the book. Not wanting to be left behind in the lite...
The Last Lecture certainly garnered quite a bit of popularity over the last year. Personally, I heard about the book from friends, bosses, coworkers, and classmates; every literate person I knew seemed to be raving out the book. Not wanting to be left behind in the literary scene, I recently chose to read the book for myself.

I can't say that I disliked the book. Jeffrey Zaslow did a fine job converting Pausch's actual lecture into an easy-to-read series of stories. The stories themselves, however, were not the life-changing event that I anticipated. While it was striking at points to hear someone discuss death without even an ounce of fear or remorse, Pausch was not an entirely likable narrator. Too often his tales come across as arrogant and self-aggrandizing.

At the book's end, upon reflecting on the book's various messages and themes, I found myself realizing that The Last Lecture had not taught me anything new. The book's messages, while important, are ones that have been told so many times in so many various capacities that they now feel more like cliches than new, profound musings.

As I said, I did not dislike The Last Lecture. It was just another book that, for me, did not live up to its hype.

posted by KariRakas on November 6, 2008

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  • Posted February 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Somewhat Gloomy

    I'm not sure what I expected this book to be like, but had I known I think I would not have purchased it. It was almost a blow-by-blow of the author's death from pancreatic cancer. Having just lost my wife less than 2 years ago, I guess it was too soon for me to read something gloomy. Although my wife's death was very sudden and the author's was more protracted, I still found it depressing. I rated it has high as I did because it is a well written book. The professor had a somewhat unique sense of humor. I admire him for the things he did with and for his family in the months preceding his death. The book ends before his death, so I had to go online to find out that, yes, he did in fact pass on in July of 2008 I believe it was.<BR/> I will give the book to a friend and not request it's return. In future I will wait to purchase a book until after I have read the reviews here on B&N website. SQ

    4 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 2, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Inspiring, but...

    When Randy Pausch found out that he had terminal cancer and only a few months to live, he decided to give a “last lecture” providing insightful life advice about achieving goals and remaining optimistic. Everyone I have spoken to about this book absolutely loved it. Indeed, I found it very inspirational. He seems to have achieved all of his childhood dreams and managed to remain optimistic when he only had a few months left to live. However, it fell a bit short for me because his goals were so very different than my own. He was a self-proclaimed workaholic—ALL of his achieved goals were career driven. Apparently despite the wishes of his wife, he decided to spend a lot of time during his final months preparing this final high-impact lecture. The lecture was indeed a success. Good for him—clearly it was something he needed to do. But I hope I am never so focused on my career that I would spend the final months of my life working instead of spending time with my family and loved ones. Perhaps I am just pessimistic, but I seem to be the only one who found his story outwardly inspiring, but for the wrong reasons.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 16, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    The Last Lecture

    I listened to Randy Pausch's lecture prior to reading this book. The book is a rehash of his moving lecture with some background details added. In some ways, I found the lecture more moving because Randy Pausch was such a terrific speaker. Sometimes the spoken word can have more impact than the written word. But I'm glad that I read this book just to remind me of what's important in life. Randy Pausch left us with a treasured testimonial.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2013

    The Last Lecture, written by Randy Pausch is a motivating novel

    The Last Lecture, written by Randy Pausch is a motivating novel that captures the reader’s attention. It makes you think about how little of time you have and that each moment is precious. I felt that the book only talked about Randy’s life, by saying how great his childhood was and how he accomplished his childhood dreams. It did not really explain how to improve your own life as much as it did about how he lived his life. I still felt that it was a moving book and makes you think about your own life, and inspires you to live more fully. The book can also encourage people to never give up and overcome obstacles. It has good lessons but I feel that it can relate to some people better than others. I would recommend this book to someone who is struggling or has a limited amount of time left on earth, but I would not strongly recommend it to anyone else.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2013

    I didn┬┐t really find The Last Lecture to be very interesting. It

    I didn’t really find The Last Lecture to be very interesting. It seemed to me like he was really just a good guy that hadn’t had many hardships in his life and didn’t really know how to deal with this one. I thought it was very admirable that he wanted his children to know about him after he was dead, however, his lack of experience with really difficult hardships made the overall book a bit pointless. He did have some very good points, such as the fact that teachers and coaches have grown too soft in their teaching methods, and there were some good stories, like when his parents let him paint his room. However, I would not recommend the book unless, you too, are dying from cancer and have had a relatively easy and boring life. I realize that this may sound cynical and negative, but, this was my reaction. 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2013

    The Last lecture is about Randy Paush who is suffering from term

    The Last lecture is about Randy Paush who is suffering from terminal cancer.After teaching at Carnegie Mellon he is asked to give the last lecture to his students before he dies. but instead of lecturing his students before he dies. but instead of lecturing his students on death and how to live their life's to the fullest. He lectures the on &quot;Really achieving your childhood dreams&quot;. some major themes throughout the book were freedom to be yourself, loyalty to live and support your dreams. and the stages of life because the entire book is all about self growth and achieving your dreams. someone should read this book if they want to a mind opening and uplifting read. the writing style of this book is first person(telling a story). i really liked how specific the details were. but i did not like the fact that it only talked about past dreams not future or present dreams it was a bit morbid.
    Children would not like this book because it is a bit depressing due to the fact it talks a bout and is centered around death.it should not be made into a movie and over all i would give it a 3 1/2 out of 5 stars.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2010

    Good book!

    I enjoyed the book and would probaly recommend it to a friend or relative that needed some words of encouragement.

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  • Posted August 9, 2009

    We should be more attentive to our families

    Thought this was an interesting book. It made me think more about my family and life's journey. It doesn't matter to my children now but when they get older, it will be interesting for them to read stories I write for them. The things I did as a child and thoughts and ideas I had growing up. I wish I had those stories from my parents. In the Last Lecture, he was able to have the time to record the special moments.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2008

    Quick read

    This book was a nice quick read. It told numerous short stories about the author's life experiences. These stories were filled with wit and a little wisdom. The tone of the book attempts to be one of inspiration but, due to the overall theme ends up being a-little sad.

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