Wednesday, February 5

Book Review: The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

Author: Randy Pausch (with Jeffrey Zaslow)
Title: The Last Lecture
Genre: Autobiography, Nonfiction
Pages: 206
First Published: April 8th, 2008
Where I Got It: Borrowed from library

"'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!"
In High School my teacher had read this to us. Every Friday she would read from this book for the last 20 minutes of class. I was so enthralled with Randy's story. I was enthralled by the man himself, mostly. I looked up to him. He was an arrogant ass sometimes, but he was a positive one. He was diagnosed with a death-sentence, but he didn't let it get him down. Sure he had his weak moments alone, but due to all the lessons he learned throughout life he remained positive. He had a family to take care of. 

Sometimes I found myself hating myself. I went through some horrible medical things in my youth and I actually survived. At times, especially in my youth, I find myself feeling sorry for myself. How could I feel sorry for myself while I got a chance to live? And Randy remained positive even though he had 3 to 6 months of good health left and eventually die. 

This book did take on a little more personal tone to it then it did in the actual lecture. He shared more stories of him and his family. It's easier to write about the super personal stuff then it is to say it in the lecture. Plus, in the lecture, he kept it more about childhood dreams. Along with the added personal stories he went into more depth with the stories he shared in the actual lecture. 

I read many, many reviews about this book. Can't help myself. Some reviews really made me mad. It shouldn't, because everyone has their own opinions. Some called it poorly written. I agree it was not the best piece of written literature known to man. It was written by a man who was a scientist. It is going to be short and precise and to the point. No amazing literary revolutions. No stunning similes or metaphors. Nothing. Just his story and the lessons he wants us to remember through our lives.

This book wasn't mind-blowing or revolutionary. It was a simple read and it makes you think. I truly do like books that make me think. There were so many good stories and lessons in the book. However, there was a kind of random one that made me smile and nod my head in complete agreement. The section was titled, "No Job is Beneath You". It is literally about not thinking any job is below you. The head fake lesson here is that you must remain humble and grateful for what you have. 

All-in-all, this was a good book. It has many good lessons. It is by no means the book of the century. It is not revolutionary or the best written novel in the world. A simple book with everyday lessons to help us through life. I recommend this to everyone. In the end I shall grant it 4 stars. I also do recommend to watch the actual lecture. It drives the point home. Click HERE to get to it


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Jenni said...

It's great to see that you were able to connect to this one on such a personal level. I've never heard of it but I get what you mean about bad reviews making you a bit tiffed for books that you really liked, you just want EVERYBODY to love them too!

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Carole Rae said...

B, you never knooooooooooooooooooooooow.

Jenni, I think you would like it! I just want everyone to love it. hahaha. Thats how I am with books I love, I ramble on and on about it to my friends.