Sunday, June 08, 2008

The Last Lecture

I finished reading Randy Pausch's The Last Lecture maybe a month ago but only just finished watching the lecture and it was amazing.

I first read about it in MorningNewsBeat, an industry eNewsletter I subscribe to for work and picked the book up soon after and was so glad I did because it's so very inspirational - a father giving a last lecture that's really meant for his 3 young children.

The topic and timing was so very interesting because 1) my father died of cancer abroad in China when I was a child so we never had a proper goodbye as he was there for treatment and 2) I had recently found out that wL's mother, who I already knew had died of cancer, kept her illness a secret and didn't tell her children or husband who was in Hong Kong at the time until she was literally in her deathbed. wL's birthday was just around the corner and I knew that I had to give him this book as a gift because I figured if there was anyone who would appreciate this book like I did, it would be wL.

From the dust jacket:

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.

The lecture runs just over one and a quarter hours but it's funny and insightful and heartwarming, and if you are so inclined, read the book. You will not be disappointed.

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