Gold Star Award Winner!
There's nothing more bittersweet than reading a story where you know the ending before you start the first page. Everyone knows that on July 25, 2008, Randy Pausch lost his battle with cancer. But fortunately for those of us who never knew the man, he's left behind his legacy in THE LAST LECTURE. The well-known lecture can be viewed on YouTube, but with the help of a Wall Street Journal writer, Jeffrey Zaslow, he's taken his famous "last lecture" and written a book on how to live.
If you've watched the actual last lecture (I took the time after reading the book to sit and watch the entire talk), then the book is a perfect companion. If you've not seen the video, you will still be touched by the book. Though the book doesn't quote the lecture verbatim, Mr. Pausch has taken his lecture and expounded with more details and memories.
Having gone to university in Pittsburgh, I am very familiar with Carnegie Mellon University. When I first heard about the book and famous talk upon the death of Mr. Pausch, it was the mention of CMU that first caught my attention. I proceeded to get my hands on the book and read it in one quiet evening.
Mr. Pausch doesn't preach about his cancer, nor philosophize on death. Instead, he tells of his childhood dreams and how others can achieve their dreams. He speaks often of hitting a brick wall. He tells all that if you want something badly enough, then you will find a way around that brick wall. He shares with the reader his rejections by Brown University, Carnegie Mellon University, and even the Disney Imagineers. But he fought for what he wanted, and found a way to achieve his dreams.
He fondly thanks his parents for his wonderful childhood. He thanks his tough college mentor Andy van Dam. He tells about one of his students, whose dream was to work on the next Star Wars films. This coming in the early 1990s when no one anticipated there would be an additional three.
I believe all who pick up this book will be touched in some small way. It might not make you a better person for reading it, but I believe it will make you think. He offers simple suggestions for getting more out of life. It may be the simple truth of how to offer a sincere apology. It may be that you should put others first. Whatever it is, read the book with an open mind and be thankful that you are still alive and have the chance to live each day.
Reviewed by: Jaglvr