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The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

The Last Lecture (original 2008; edition 2008)

by Randy Pausch, Jeffrey Zaslow

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7,146272499 (4.02)185
Title:The Last Lecture
Authors:Randy Pausch
Other authors:Jeffrey Zaslow
Info:Hyperion (2008), Edition: 1st, Hardcover, 224 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch (2008)


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English (261)  Italian (4)  Catalan (1)  Swedish (1)  Spanish (1)  German (1)  Portuguese (1)  All (270)
Showing 1-5 of 261 (next | show all)
The Last Lecture was a book that was offhandedly recommended to me by my cousin Holly. Shortly after she recommended it to me, a number of other people noted it as a book that seemed "pretty popular right now" so I should "probably read it." Not exactly the best recommendation, given very few of the people who recommended it to me had actually read it. When my mother was looking for a book to read, I passed on the title to her with those recommendations intact. She read it in two days.

The Last Lecture was a very quick read, but a very thoughtful book. Although short and "easy reading" it benefits from sitting back and thinking on it for a time. The lessons within it are lessons that are really for everybody, and the advice it gives is advice that everyone can benefit from. Although the bulk of what is contained in it is just common sense (For instance, when asked why he got tenure early his response was that if the person asking called him up Friday at 10 he could answer it segueing into the "Work Hard" section of the talk.) it is still common sense that seems to be lacking a lot in today's culture.

I'd recommend this book to just about anyone. It's a thoughtful reflection on a life and one well worth taking. I'm glad to see the book got as popular as it did. ( )
  Lepophagus | Jun 14, 2018 |
What a dad!

This book is.. imbued with dadness. A dad who wants to get the biggest stuffed animal at the carnival games, a dad who speaks in football metaphors and admires his tough love childhood coach, a dad who simply and easily asks people for what he wants (because they just might give it to you, son, and if you don't get it, and you really really want it, then ask tenaciously), a dad who talks about Disney like, all the time. Daaaaaaad! A dad's dad.

And this is for his kids. Not me.

( )
  Joanna.Oyzon | Apr 17, 2018 |
This is one of those books to give anyone who is about to graduate high school or is struggling in high school. Pausch gives a lot of great advice on how to view life, enjoy it and achieve whatever you want while doing so. Pausch also gives you a great outlook on how having a serious illess shouldn't hold you back but should make you live life to the fullest. I hope his children really enjoy this one day and see what a wonderful man their father was. I never knew the guy but from this book, I feel like I have and he has forever touched my life with his touching story and thoughts. ( )
  IntrovertedBooks | Mar 26, 2018 |
I read this for work...I was not so impressed with Randy Pausch's so called "life lessons." And I was not impressed that a dying man spent so much of his time speaking of his accomplishments and so little time speaking about his family, his life, and his wisdom. By completely skipping his own spirituality and fears, the book felt cold and arrogant to me. Stopped reading when Randy began to impart "time management" wisdom when he suggested not sitting when talking on the phone in order to minimize useless time talking to someone on the phone.

Perhaps for some this book is inspiring but I'd be willing to be there are about a handful of better books to give to graduates, the terminally ill, and others looking for inspiration from another person's life. ( )
  ylimejane | Feb 7, 2018 |
I watched a programme on this book a while ago. It was interesting and inspiring, so when I came across the book I thought I would give it a read. Seems the programme basically was a recital of the book. It was still inspiring, and heartfelt, but I didn't feel I was reading anything new. Randy Pausch's story is an example of how to die well. ( )
  KatiaMDavis | Dec 19, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 261 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (23 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Randy Pauschprimary authorall editionscalculated
Pausch, Randymain authorall editionsconfirmed
Zaslow, Jeffreysecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Singer, ErikNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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With thanks to my parents who allowed me to dream, and with hopes for the dreams my children will have.
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I have an engineering problem.
...The brick walls are there to stop the people who don't want it badly enough. They're there to stop the "other" people. -p 73
Self esteem? He knew there was really only one way to teach kids how to develop it: You give them something they can’t do, they work hard until they find they can do it, and you just keep repeating the process.”
Not everything needs to be fixed.
Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 141040711X, Hardcover)

"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.

Questions for Randy Pausch

We were shy about barging in on Randy Pausch's valuable time to ask him a few questions about his expansion of his famous Last Lecture into the book by the same name, but he was gracious enough to take a moment to answer. (See Randy to the right with his kids, Dylan, Logan, and Chloe.) As anyone who has watched the lecture or read the book will understand, the really crucial question is the last one, and we weren't surprised to learn that the "secret" to winning giant stuffed animals on the midway, like most anything else, is sheer persistence.

Amazon.com: I apologize for asking a question you must get far more often than you'd like, but how are you feeling?

Pausch: The tumors are not yet large enough to affect my health, so all the problems are related to the chemotherapy. I have neuropathy (numbness in fingers and toes), and varying degrees of GI discomfort, mild nausea, and fatigue. Occasionally I have an unusually bad reaction to a chemo infusion (last week, I spiked a 103 fever), but all of this is a small price to pay for walkin' around.

Amazon.com: Your lecture at Carnegie Mellon has reached millions of people, but even with the short time you apparently have, you wanted to write a book. What did you want to say in a book that you weren't able to say in the lecture?

Pausch: Well, the lecture was written quickly--in under a week. And it was time-limited. I had a great six-hour lecture I could give, but I suspect it would have been less popular at that length ;-).

A book allows me to cover many, many more stories from my life and the attendant lessons I hope my kids can take from them. Also, much of my lecture at Carnegie Mellon focused on the professional side of my life--my students, colleagues and career. The book is a far more personal look at my childhood dreams and all the lessons I've learned. Putting words on paper, I've found, was a better way for me to share all the yearnings I have regarding my wife, children and other loved ones. I knew I couldn't have gone into those subjects on stage without getting emotional.

Amazon.com: You talk about the importance--and the possibility!--of following your childhood dreams, and of keeping that childlike sense of wonder. But are there things you didn't learn until you were a grownup that helped you do that?

Pausch: That's a great question. I think the most important thing I learned as I grew older was that you can't get anywhere without help. That means people have to want to help you, and that begs the question: What kind of person do other people seem to want to help? That strikes me as a pretty good operational answer to the existential question: "What kind of person should you try to be?"

Amazon.com: One of the things that struck me most about your talk was how many other people you talked about. You made me want to meet them and work with them--and believe me, I wouldn't make much of a computer scientist. Do you think the people you've brought together will be your legacy as well?

Pausch: Like any teacher, my students are my biggest professional legacy. I'd like to think that the people I've crossed paths with have learned something from me, and I know I learned a great deal from them, for which I am very grateful. Certainly, I've dedicated a lot of my teaching to helping young folks realize how they need to be able to work with other people--especially other people who are very different from themselves.

Amazon.com: And last, the most important question: What's the secret for knocking down those milk bottles on the midway?

Pausch: Two-part answer:
     1) long arms
     2) discretionary income / persistence

Actually, I was never good at the milk bottles. I'm more of a ring toss and softball-in-milk-can guy, myself. More seriously, though, most people try these games once, don't win immediately, and then give up. I've won *lots* of midway stuffed animals, but I don't ever recall winning one on the very first try. Nor did I expect to. That's why I think midway games are a great metaphor for life.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:29 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Reflections of a Carnegie Mellon computer science professor who lectured on "Really achieving your childhood dreams," shortly after having been diagnosed with terminal cancer. His advice concerned seizing the moment while living, rather than dying.

(summary from another edition)

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