Book Review: The Last Lecture


The Last Lecture
by Randy Pausch

In this inspiring memoir Randy Pausch, a Carnegie Mellon University professor of computer science, delivers his last lecture, a college tradition for esteemed retiring professors asked what they’d tell the world if they knew it was their final chance to speak.

What is extraordinary here is that it would actually be his last, as Pausch had found out that he was dying of pancreatic cancer and did not have much time left.


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He presents his talk as an ode to “really achieving your childhood dreams,” looking back as an adult now with three children of his own and trying to share the wisdom he has learned throughout his life. During the lecture, complete with slides showing the CT scans of his cancer, he touches upon what is going to happen to him.

“We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand,” he says.

“The Last Lecture” is told from hindsight, such as how people reacted to it and his thoughts as it was going on. The book, co-authored by Jeffrey Zaslow a Wall Street Journal reporter and Carnegie Mellon alum who attended the lecture and first wrote a column about it, recounts the lessons Pausch shared.

The Last Lecture is an enchanting and optimistic memoir that tells the story of a man who truly loved life and learned to embrace it.

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