Book fantastique: The Last Lecture

Randy Pausche was a phenomenal human being. And “The Last Lecture” is a phenomenal book!

“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 Pausche, 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.”

— From

The narrative is wonderfully written along with Jeffrey Zaslow and centres around all the things he said in the (now iconic!) Last Lecture. He talks about love, life, triumphs, failures, making other dreams and helping them acheive them! On the face of it, the description would sound very typical – and if you are not aware of the book or haven’t heard about it from any other sources, you’re probably going to say – “Oh yes, I know that genre – motiviation blah..!” … But beleive me, this book has to be read to be experienced!

It’s laid out in a very readable style – small chapters with little stories, anecdotes spanning not more then 4-5 pages – and each one has a lesson to bring out. Both the video and the book are inspiring! You have to see it to beleive it…and read it to experience it. (respectively!)

Here’s the video of The Last Lecture …

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Randy, a professor of computer science, human computer interaction and design,  co-founded Carnegie Mellon’s Entertainment Technology Center and was the creator of the Alice interactive computing program, which is being used by students worldwide. He gave his last lecture at the university Sept. 18, 2007. He  lost his battle with pancreatic cancer on July 25th, 2008.