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The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
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The Last Lecture (original 2008; edition 2008)

by Randy Pausch, Jeffrey Zaslow

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5,765232736 (4.04)162
Member:istril
Title:The Last Lecture
Authors:Randy Pausch
Other authors:Jeffrey Zaslow
Info:Hyperion (2008), Edition: 1st, Hardcover, 206 pages
Collections:Your library, Read but unowned
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The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch (2008)

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English (222)  Italian (4)  Catalan (1)  Swedish (1)  Spanish (1)  German (1)  Portuguese (1)  All languages (231)
Showing 1-5 of 222 (next | show all)
Randy Pausch writes his life, his parting words, his cumulative sum of life's knowledge in this book. It spans from childhood dreams to musings on his children's future, from lessons learned from his father to true cliches that he lives by. He writes about marriage, dealing with cancer, reaching for your dreams and never giving up, and more.

It's a little hard to write a review on this book because it is a little bit of an autobiography, a pinch of fable-like tales for kernels of wisdom, a dash of reminiscing, a splash of bragging and achievements, and other bits of emotion.

In the end, I am just left with a deep nod for this man who was able to impact so many people and also achieve many of his childhood dreams. I am of the mind that most people can make their life sound profound and filled with lessons for progeny - it's just that some are more eloquent than others. And 99% of the time, it never truly sinks in until the kid has actually experienced it for him or herself. So as true and poignant most of his advice was, I am not terribly impressed.

However, he does write very well that his advice never seems condescending - as he really is just imparting the advice that was given to him and the code by which he lived his own life.

And in the end, it doesn't really matter what I think because this book was never for me anyway - as clearly seen in the very last page of his book. So for its purpose, it is completely successful.

3 stars because I thought it was good. I probably wouldn't recommend it to anyone unless they were looking for a specific type of book like this. ( )
  NineLarks | Sep 15, 2014 |
Randy Pausch writes his life, his parting words, his cumulative sum of life's knowledge in this book. It spans from childhood dreams to musings on his children's future, from lessons learned from his father to true cliches that he lives by. He writes about marriage, dealing with cancer, reaching for your dreams and never giving up, and more.

It's a little hard to write a review on this book because it is a little bit of an autobiography, a pinch of fable-like tales for kernels of wisdom, a dash of reminiscing, a splash of bragging and achievements, and other bits of emotion.

In the end, I am just left with a deep nod for this man who was able to impact so many people and also achieve many of his childhood dreams. I am of the mind that most people can make their life sound profound and filled with lessons for progeny - it's just that some are more eloquent than others. And 99% of the time, it never truly sinks in until the kid has actually experienced it for him or herself. So as true and poignant most of his advice was, I am not terribly impressed.

However, he does write very well that his advice never seems condescending - as he really is just imparting the advice that was given to him and the code by which he lived his own life.

And in the end, it doesn't really matter what I think because this book was never for me anyway - as clearly seen in the very last page of his book. So for its purpose, it is completely successful.

3 stars because I thought it was good. I probably wouldn't recommend it to anyone unless they were looking for a specific type of book like this. ( )
  NineLarks | Sep 15, 2014 |
Wow.
  tlockney | Sep 7, 2014 |
"The Last Lecture" by Randy Pausch wasn't quite what I was expecting. I had heard about this computer science professor who gave a last lecture as he was dying from cancer, and I was expecting this book to contain a transcript of the actual lecture. Instead it was a book by the lecturer himself about the lecture. It goes a bit into what he said in the lecture, but a significant portion of the book is his view of preparing for the lecture, what the hurdles are in giving the lecture, and how the lecture was received. I found that those sections hindered my enjoyment of the content of the actual lecture.

Beyond that criticism, though, I didn't get much out of the content of his lecture, other than that he's led a blessed life. A lot of the lecture was about how he dreamed of working for Disney as a kid and how he made that dream come true as an adult when he took a sabbatical from his professorship. The tone was meant to be inspirational, but it seemed like his position at a top computer science department helped enormously in attaining his dream, so it just came across as "if you are already set in life, look how much farther you can get". Also, because his dream was to work at Disney, he spent a good deal of the book promoting Disney, and at times it almost felt like an advertisement.

There were some sections of the book, however, where he was describing unique ways that he's handled common interactions with people. For example, to get his coworkers to review technical articles for him, he'd leave sweets on their desk with a note saying to eat the sweets only after reading the article. It was bits like that where I thought, "hmm, now that's some interesting advice", that redeemed the book for me. ( )
  sbloom42 | May 21, 2014 |
I cried a lot reading this book! What wonderful life lessons we learn during his journey. ( )
  Mariavictoria | Apr 18, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 222 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (23 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Randy Pauschprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Randy Pauschmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Zaslow, Jeffreysecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Singer, ErikNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedication
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.
Quotations
...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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Audio book - unknown if abridged or unabridged.

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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:03:01 -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)

» see all 8 descriptions

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