Customer Reviews for

The Last Lecture

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

34 out of 35 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

43 out of 73 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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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    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. <BR/><BR/>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. <BR/><BR/>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".

    34 out of 35 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2010

    Moving

    I saw Randy Pausch give "the last lecture" on television. It was very emotional, witty, and incredibly brave. When the book came out I had to get it. It adds to his lecture and expands our perspective on life. Great read.

    17 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 5, 2012

    Inspirational and Thought Provoking

    I say believe the hype of this book. This book shows how to see the bright side of life and how to be mentally and emotionally strong. With his diagnosis he never felt sorry for himself; he only worried about how the lives’ of his young children, wife and many friends would be after he died. He never asked for pity, but instead asked for ways to help others and make his children remember him. Even though he might come off as arrogant at some points of the book I truly believe that he tried his best not to be. He is not trying to brag when he says he helped some people reach their dreams because people helped him reach his dreams. If he truly was arrogant he would state that he never took help but only gave. He realizes that sometimes people need help to reach their dreams. He knows the values of having giant dreams. I find it amazing that even with everything that has happened he finds the good in everything. He sees the hard work of his students and tries to make them even better. He knows there is good in every situation and person. The most motivation part of this book for me is his philosophy on “Brick Walls” or things that prevent us from getting what we want or dream to have. He explains that in any situation if you go at something with enough tenacity you can succeed in getting over and around the wall. However, never be afraid to ask for help to get around the brick walls of your life. This book is successful in touching the hearts of many and showing that life is good. This book can help you look at your self differently, making you realize how good life actually is. In the end, I would recommend this book to anyone and really hope that Randy’s message reaches all, especially his children.

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2010

    A Thought-Provoking, Inspirational Story

    This book helped me to realign my priorities and shift my focus to what I should really be doing in my life. It is a sad book, yet written with a positive, upbeat tone, one that really gives you hope. May we all merit to make the most out of our days here on Earth, impacting the world in a positive sense and being there for our loved ones.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 9, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Breaking Down the Brick Walls

    Randy Pausch is a man anyone would recognize as "a renaissance man". He's a man that never really lost his way because he's had sight unintentionally set on adulthood since he was a kid. He didn't become lost like most of us do as we get older and get side tracked into careers like a lawyer, engineer, or some other clich&#233; job nowadays. He dreamed big when he was young, and more of his dreams came true in his short lifetime than most with a "full" life because he just never let go of those dreams.
    His scientific mind and extremely optimistic point of view is what helped get Pausch through the rest of his remaining life after being diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer. He is a very accomplished teacher, Imagineer, loving husband, and father of 3 to name just a few of his completed dreams. The story goes on to talk about how truly important childhood dreams really are and how they link to becoming a better human being.
    Now I would like to think that a normal persons reaction to being diagnosed with a terminal illness would be a extremely over-the-top pity party. That is exactly how Pausch did not react. I definitely love Pausch's positive attitude throughout the his illness and the composing of the book and his last lecture. The book is extremely inspirational and it really makes you think about ways to handle your own life. Pausch is careful not to preach though, because to a critical mind he could definitely come across as that way. Instead, he really challenges you to be who you want to be and form your own values; he obviously brings up his own opinions, but it's meant for more "food for your thought" kind of translation and provides people with a general guidance to tapping into your knowledge and deciding what values and experiences speak through and about you.
    Nothing really negative to say about the book except the writing style I suppose. Now while Pausch conquered much in his life, and English Major was not among his feats. The writing style is rather jumpy. In one instance he may be talking about his family and kids, then jump to driving a convertible blasting the soundtrack to "The Lion King", then jump to intentionally pouring soda in the back seat of a car, then jump to being overcharged at a supermarket. All of which are extremely relevant to the overall theme, but until you finish the book, it seems rather choppy.
    If you're down for a good-feel read even with the main character dying, well, this book is for you. Pausch does an amazing job speaking to the general public about how dying...really isn't that bad. Because at least you have time to remember all the life you've had, the good and the bad, and you still get to look forward to what time you have left. To get the full effect of Randy Pausch's life, you can't just watch the lecture. While the actual lecture about Pausch's life, values, and experiences, the book The Last Lecture is a more in depth look at the crafting behind the lecture and his thought process. And both were intended for only his kids to begin with, but thousands of people have now been touched by Pausch's emotionally jerking yet inspiring story.
    The easiest read to compare The Last Lecture to is Mitch Albom's Tuesdays With Morrie simply because they both deal with a happy-go-lucky dying man with a lot to say before they finally go. The message in both speaks to the potential in all of us to lead a great life.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2010

    nice read

    I understand why Oprah put it on her book club list. It was very touching. It was an easy read which I liked. And its a perfect book to put i you purse and read while in line at the post office. I hope you like it as much as i did, I passed it on to my sibiling to read.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 13, 2010

    The Last Lecture Review For English 2

    Randy Pausch was a professor at Carnegie Mellon University who was asked to give a speech for the university in front of hundreds of people. Randy had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and the doctors told him he only had a couple months to live. Randy and his wife discussed the speech, because if he worked on it he would not be able to spend much time with his family, but Randy pointed out that with this lecture he could leave a memory for his children when they grow up. Randy ended up doing the speech and titled it "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams." The speech is online and anybody can see it. The lecture is filled with great humor, touching moments, and amazing advise.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2012

    Simply amazing

    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.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 14, 2012

    Great motivational book. It talks about living out your childhoo

    Great motivational book. It talks about living out your childhood dreams and enabling the dreams of others. It also is about the importance of writing thank you notes and show gratitude towards others. It is okay to ask to do/see something, the worse response from that can be &ldquo;no.&rdquo;

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 26, 2010

    Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams

    The Last Lecture was a very imporational book written by Randy Pausch. Randy Pausch had Pancreatic Cancer, the most deadly cancers in the male body. In this book, Randy talks about his dreams, and how he wanted and strived to accomplish them. Pausch says, "Brick walls are there for a reason: they let us prove how badly they want something." Randy shows that he truly believes in this quote because he lives his life to the fullest. The book was inspired by the speach that he had to give to his students. Before retiring, Randy had to write this speech for the students about his life. He didn't chose to write about the demon that is slowly killing him. He wrote about how he loved his life, and he gave many examples of the happiness he had.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2012

    Great book

    I lovethis book. It taught me a lot about life. I wwould reccommend this book for all teenagers.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2014

    What an inspirational book! I have read it multiple times, and r

    What an inspirational book! I have read it multiple times, and recommended it to a lot of people that i know.
    It is truly a book to cherish for years to come.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 23, 2014

    Imagine you are in your early forties, life is good, and you hav

    Imagine you are in your early forties, life is good, and you have your dream job and a wonderful family, but then you are told that you have pancreatic cancer an have only a few months to live. How would react? The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch is about just that. The book is a very inspiring true story, Mr. Pausch discusses how he is not letting the pancreatic cancer bring him down and he is living his life to the fullest. Mr. Pausch's story made me think that if a man can still be happy and continue to follow his dreams under the worst circumstances why can’t I stay positive and chase my dreams too.
    In the book, Mr. Pausch wanted to leave some sort of a legacy for his children, and since he was a college professor he liked giving lectures. Mr. Pausch then made it his goal to write and give a lecture about enjoying life and following dreams. The lecture would help his kids get to know who their father was when he died because he was going to have it recorded. Mr. Pausch gave some very valuable incite on staying positive and living life to the fullest.
    This book was very interesting and inspiring to me because I tend to get discouraged when something goes wrong and it holds me back sometimes. If Mr. Pausch can make the most of his life and still chase his dreams and accomplish so much with such a serious affliction, then I am going to make the best out of every situation that I experience, good or bad. I recommend this book to anyone and everyone who has ever been discouraged pulled down by a rough time in life. It will help to show you that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel and hard work really does pay off.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2014

    Great read

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2013

    Randy Pausch is man of grit and magnificent personality from ins

    Randy Pausch is man of grit and magnificent personality from inside.His speech moved me.Ironically I was emotionally weeping and inspired at the same time.Even during his short stay he made tremendous impact in people who came under his influence.

    He asserts(lessons he intends people learn from him)
    1.Live your child hood dreams daringly which is essential for a life full of meaning and happiness and personal growth
    2.Life is short -Value your time as it is the only &quot;space&quot; where we &quot;get&quot; to &quot;live our dreams&quot;. There is no guarantee for tomorrow.
    3.Get the Basics right-Master the basics.He uses one of the simplest and easily understandable analogy of football
    4.Be Good at something -To be a person of value one has to be good/skillful at least something like writing,art-music,dance etc,sportsman ability,teaching ,communication,creative imagination,academics,technical stuff or cooking or surfing or swimming ....literally every conceivable skill
    5.Commitment +Hard + Smart Work -Be committed.Work hard and smart(use intelligence to devise smart plans)

    R.I.P . Great man!You certainly made difference into the heart of many people in America as well as the world.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2013

    What would you do if you knew you only had so much time to live?

    What would you do if you knew you only had so much time to live? Skydive? Ride a bull? How about give a lecture setting the stepping stones for your children and creating your legacy. This is what Randy Pausch, author of The Last Lecture, did. Not only is this book a biography but it is also a book of morals and a set of steps on achieving your goals and becoming a better parent or teacher. He goes through his life in first person telling ways he has been successful in life do to how certain events effected him. He talks about how you can achieve all your goals by climbing over the many brick walls life puts in your way. He writes that to create the most successful people you must be straight forward and honest with all people. Although you never actually get to know what he said at the last lecture you know that it was a spectacular one.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 14, 2010

    Inspirational And Heart-Felt

    "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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 31, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    My daughter called to thank me for giving her a copy of this book!

    This is a book I'll read again. It's thought provoking. It inspires me to be a better person. It doesn't preach. It's perhaps the best advice on parenting I've ever read, probably because it comes from the perspective of experience (e.g., growing up with great parents) as opposed to being a how to guide. I gave my daughter, the mother of a five year old, a copy of this book for Christmas. I received a call from her a couple of weeks later literaly gushing over the positive experience reading this book provided. She couldn't stop talking about the book and, although my granddaugher is only five, my daughter wishes she had read this book a couple of years ago! She, too, plans to reread this book from time to time. Randy Pausch has an attitude toward life that we should all aspire to emulate. A great read. Thank you Randy! RIP.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 19, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Awesome!

    Thank you, Professor, for your last lecture. A deeply well-thought out lesson on achieving your childhood dreams. I've been out of college more than a few years, but I sat down and listed my dreams. Wow! So many achievements in so few years! Maybe it's because I'm a "Tigger". (Read the book - you'll understand). Touching, packed full of wisdom, not preachy, just resourceful. I've been inspired to do the same, leaving a legacy to my family as I fight my own battle with cancer, and yes, I want my bottle to wash up on the beach for my husband and children. In the meantime, I open up a great red, and hold it up to the Pausch family in gratefulness, in hope, in hugging more tightly.....

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2009

    I recomend this book to everyone and anyone.

    I can sum this book up in 2 words. Life Changing. Its an absolutley amazing book that really gives you a whole new take on life. It will touch your heart.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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