The Last Lecture

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 ...

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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.

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Editorial Reviews

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Over the years, numerous professors have given talks entitled "The Last Lecture." For Carnegie Mellon University professor Randy Pausch, however, the topic was no mere formality. When he presented his "last lecture" to hundreds of faculty and students last September, he already knew that he had metastatic pancreatic cancer. Despite a grim prognosis, Dr. Pausch delivered an upbeat, urgent call for his listeners to achieve their childhood dreams. Since then, this good-natured computer science specialist has become a worldwide celebrity; named "Person of the Week" by ABC News and invited to be a guest on Oprah. This memoir recounts the story of a brave man's encounter with a sense of his own mortality. An inspiring message for anyone who ages.
Publishers Weekly

Made famous by his "Last Lecture" at Carnegie Mellon and the quick Internet proliferation of the video of the event, Pausch decided that maybe he just wasn't done lecturing. Despite being several months into the last stage of pancreatic cancer, he managed to put together this book. The crux of it is lessons and morals for his young and infant children to learn once he is gone. Despite his sometimes-contradictory life rules, it proves entertaining and at times inspirational. Surprisingly, the audiobook doesn't include the reading of Pausch's actual "Last Lecture," which he gave on September 18, 2007, a month after being diagnosed. Erik Singer provides an excellent inflective voice that hints at the reveries of past experiences with family and children while wielding hope and regret for family he will leave behind. The first CD is enhanced with photos. Simultaneous release with the Hyperion hardcover. (May)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9788952209245
  • Publisher: Salrim Life
  • Publication date: 6/28/2008
  • Language: Korean
  • Pages: 286
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 7.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Randy Pausch was a Professor of Computer Science, Human Computer Interaction, and Design at Carnegie Mellon University. From 1988-1997, he taught at the University of Virginia. He was an award-winning teacher and researcher, and worked with Adobe, Google, Electronic Arts (EA), and Walt Disney Imagineering, and pioneered the Alice project. Although Pausch lost his cancer battle on July 25, 2008, his legacy lives on through The Last Lecture.

Jeffrey Zaslow, a columnist for The Wall Street Journal, attended the last lecture, and wrote the story that helped fuel worldwide interest in it. He lives in suburban Detroit with his wife, Sherry, and daughters Jordan, Alex and Eden.

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Table of Contents

I The Last Lecture 1

II Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams 19

III Adventures... and Lessons Learned 55

IV Enabling the Dreams of Others 105

V It's About How to Live Your Life 129

VI Final Remarks 199

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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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