The Last Lecture

The Last Lecture


$20.39 $22.00 Save 7% Current price is $20.39, Original price is $22. You Save 7%. View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Tuesday, February 26

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781401323257
Publisher: Hachette Books
Publication date: 04/08/2008
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 11,016
Product dimensions: 5.62(w) x 7.37(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About 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.


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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

The Last Lecture (Enhanced Edition) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 450 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 4 months ago
This book was truly touching and inspiring.
Anonymous 5 months 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 8 months 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 8 months ago
Great life advice for pretty much everybody. Very touching.
Clif on LibraryThing 8 months 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 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 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 8 months 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 8 months 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 8 months 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 8 months 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 8 months 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 8 months 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 8 months 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 8 months 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 8 months 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 8 months ago
This is a book to buy and to keep around the house. Read the last chapter when you are having a bad day.
socialchild on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I usually stay away from memoirs and inspirational books because I have a very low tolerance for schmaltz. But I read this because it was written by a geek (like me). I figured that no one with a PhD in Computer Science would ever venture into the realms of schmaltz.I was right.This book is packed with good advice. Much of it is common sense, "I could've told you that," advice, but he presents it in a way that doesn't make it seem like the same-old, same-old.I'd recommend this book to anyone, but to educators in particular.
kimberligertz on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Very emotionally powerful. Concise chapter lead to easy reading.
redladysbooks on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I had first heard of Randy Pausch when I saw an interview he did on the Oprah show. I was very touched and inspired by his message, outlook on his life and approach to handling his cancer diagnosis. When I heard that this book was out, I knew that I had to read it. I found it full of wisdom, although many of the sentiments I've heard before. The author was able to apply them to his own life and share how he did this. My husband listened to the book on CD and we both felt that this book was one that made us stop and think about how short life can be and how important it is to appreciate each day that you are given. Sadly, Randy died last month and left behind a wife and 3 children who will be blessed by the choices he has made in preserving his legacy through this book and his You Tube video titled "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams.
Cecrow on LibraryThing 8 months ago
It's refreshing to read a book on the topic of mortality and getting the most out of life that's written by a personality closer to my own. Computer science professor notwithstanding, this was a profoundly moving piece of writing (and I'm not easily profoundly moved). I haven't viewed the lecture but I hear it's on YouTube and I'll definitely go looking for it. There's a ton of quotable stuff in here and memorable stories. I can only wish I'd be half so brave and eloquent if placed in the same position. Best wishes to his family.
jjmcgaffey on LibraryThing 8 months ago
It's a very hard book to think about - I think I'll add more to this in a week or so when I've digested it a bit. Parts are a bit syrupy, unavoidably - he did try (hard) to keep it on an even keel. I cried at several parts, and laughed at many parts, and recognized bits of myself and my family all over the place. Also recognized a lot of good advice, some of which I may well remember. It's definitely a _memorable_ book - I can't quite say whether it's a _good_ one or not. And I want to see the lecture as well (though I'm sure it will make less of an impression on me than the book - I don't learn/absorb well through audio). He did just die recently, though that wasn't the trigger for reading it (my sister read it for a book club and insisted we all had to read it too - Dad had it when the author died). More later, maybe - my head is stuffed.
seph on LibraryThing 8 months ago
This book is exactly what the author intended, a gift of his memories and life experiences for his children. Though I don't fall in with the Pausch followers, which I think would be a relief to Randy, I can see where this book would inspire and comfort many. For me, however, it was simply touching to get a look into the life of a good man, and heart-breaking to think of how much loss his friends and family must feel. He left an excellent legacy though. Very well done, Mr. Pausch, wherever you now are. Peace.