There’s a good chance that you’ve read this already, at the very least you’ve probably heard of it. But that’s okay if you’ve already experienced The Last Lecture because this one falls into the ‘re-read every few years’ category. Is it in your personal library? Has it been a few years since you experienced it? It might be time to pick it back up. And then there are those of you who have been meaning to get to The Last Lecture but never made it. Let this be your official reminder. Hatchett Books | Hardcover | 2008 | 206pp
“A lot of professors give talks titled “The Last Lecture.” Maybe you’ve seen one? It has been a common exercise on college campuses. 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?”
And so begins The Last Lecture, a collection of true stories from a dying man.
In the case of Professor Randy Pausch, it really will be his last lecture. Just before he was asked to participate in this lecture series at Carnegie Mellon, he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He went through treatment optimistic and hopeful, but as the days wound down toward his lecture, he discovered that his treatment had failed, and he only had months to live.
It didn’t take long for Randy to decide on a topic. It would be called: “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams.” He also planned to turn it into a book and with his wife’s blessing, he spent his last few months making his last project count. The Last Lecture has touched the lives of millions of people worldwide.
In his book, he brought up his childhood and the dreams he had such as flying and working for Disney. And each one of his dreams came true in different ways. But the book is less about making your dreams come true and more about living a good life and watching your dreams come to you. You can read the book, or watch his lecture – or both. It wouldn’t do much justice for me to outline the book; this is one you have to experience for yourself.
“We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.”
The Last Lecture is a book to keep forever, a permanent coffee table dweller. Devoid of heavy spirituality and religion, it’s a book of common sense goodness that can be deferred to at any time of need, and for a person of any faith. It’s a book to pass along, to give as a gift, and to set upon your children when they are old enough.