Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

"We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand." -Randy Pausch

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 Pausch, 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.

This was the unabridged audiobook on CD edition (4 discs).

I had been looking forward to reading this for some time, after hearing rave reviews about it. I have to say I was a bit disappointed. I did enjoy the book, but I didn't think it was fabulous. The stories were entertaining and the narrator did a beautiful job. There were points where I laughed, points where I teared up, and points where I was bored. I'm definitely glad it wasn't any longer than it was.

I'd give it an eight. Good, but not great.

Rating: ★★★★★★★★☆☆


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