Friday, November 14, 2008

The Last Lecture

"I lectured about the joy of life, about how much I appreciated life, even with so little of my own left. I talked abut honesty, integrity, gratitude, and other things I hold dear. And I tried very hard not to be boring."
~ Introduction to The Last Lecture,
Randy Pausch (Oct. 23, 1960 - July 25, 2008)
Unlike many lectures, this book is anything but boring. With but a few months left to live, Carnegie Mellon Professor Randy Pausch gave his last lecture at the university on Sept. 18, 2007 before a full auditorium. In his lecture entitled, "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams," Pausch talked about the lessons he learned, and gave advice on how to achieve goals and dreams, and the importance of helping others to reach theirs. He decided to also put his stories into a book of fifty-three "lectures", for the family he'd soon leave behind, and the world at large.

I've just finished reading The Last Lecture, coauthored by Jeffrey Zaslow, a very touching book about the lecture by Randy Pausch, professor of computer science, human computer interaction and design; he co-founded Carnegie Mellon’s Entertainment Technology Center, and was the creator of the Alice interactive computing program, used by students worldwide. Randy Pausch lost his life to pancreatic cancer at the age of 47, leaving behind his wife, Jai, and three young children. In his lecture, he talks a lot about the importance of his childhood dreams. I do not wish to spoil the book by telling you about each and every dream, but I will mention something notable from his childhood. As a teenager, he wanted to paint on the walls in his room, and his parents allowed him to express his creativity in this way. I mentioned this to my 11-year-old daughter, and asked her if she wanted to paint anything on her walls. Did she ever! The rainbow shown below was her first wall painting, and she's also added a couple of animals and is currently working on a tree. She loves painting on her walls! I think her room looks more unique with these paintings.

The filmed lecture and book are a way
for Randy's children, Chloe, Logan, and Dylan, who are now without their father, to "grow up" with him. For the rest of us, it's an inspiring book about living your best life.

You can listen to Randy Pausch's last lecture here. More than 37,000 Americans each year are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. My good friend Gayle-Robin lost her brother, Alan, to pancreatic cancer. This post is dedicated to Alan, who was a wonderful brother, uncle, and friend. For more information about pancreatic cancer, please visit The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.


  1. Thank you, Suko.
    My Mom has just finished reading this book and I'm going to read it next.
    I've heard so much about it and have been wanting to read it. You are another good reminder to do so.
    The possiblity of passing-on would make one really evaluate what matters most!
    I love the rainbow! You daughter is blessed!

  2. I've been wanting to read this book since I first heard of it. I saw a television program featuring Randy and also read about his death with soberness and sympathy for his family. I once heard cancer called the disease of love because it gives friends and family members a chance to say goodbye. I'm not sure I could call any life-threatening disease a "gift of love." But a life well-lived is definately a gift of love. Randy's life was one of those gifts.

  3. This is a wonderfully inspiring book, full of humor, candor, and positive advice. You will enjoy it!
    Thanks for your comment, Christie.

  4. Thank you so much Susan.
    This looks like a beautifully inspiring book which I must read. Your dedication to Alan is most heartfelt to us all.
    Love you,


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