Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Last Lecture

Randy Pausch (oct 23'1960 - July'25 2008) , a professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. When he was asked to give his 'last lecture' at CMU, he didn't have to imagine it as his last; he was already counting his last few days. This book was inspired by that last lecture he gave on Sep 18-2007 titled - " Really achieving your childhood dreams". Some of you might have already watched the video of the lecture.... if not, here is the link to the video on youtube. It's amazing and really worth a watch!!

This book combines the inspiration, humour and intelligence that made his last lecture so memorable and phenomenal. I read a review of this book on a friend's blog and immediately bought a copy, 'coz from the review I read I knew I would treasure this book for a long time to come!

The book is a light read but offers you so much wisdom and food for thought. I finished it in just a few hours (it was too interesting to keep it down!) but I can see myself remembering a lot of things that he has said, for the rest of my life. Such is the impact. It's not some sort of a self-help book which gives you N-steps to success or happiness. Randy Pausch, by just describing his attitue towards life, his childhood dreams and his stories of success and failure, shows you a path to leading your life the right way. He says, this lecture/book was not intented only to those 400 people in the auditorium but for his kids. This, he calls as a head fake - which is nothing but 'indirect learning'. According to him,
There are 2 kinds of head fakes. The first is literal. On a football field, a player will move his head one way so you will think he's going in that direction. Then he goes the opposite way. It's like a magician using misdirection. The second kind of head fake is the really important one - the one that teaches people things they dont realize they're learning until well into the process. If you are a head fake specialist, your hidden objective is to get them to learn something you want them to learn.

Randy Pausch with his 3 kids. Photo courtesy: his website

The book really makes you think about what you want the most out of life - your job, your family, your marriage etc.. How would you spend your life if you knew you had only 6 more months to live? How would you leave your memories back to the ones who love you? What dreams would you fulfill? What would you give more priority to - your work, spouse, kids, friends, family? Such are the questions that you will inevitably start asking yourself as you read the book...
The book, which has immense amount of wisdom in it, also has a baggage full of emotions. I could see myself in tears at certain points. It was not out of sympathy but I was so moved by his love for his family, his wife and kids and his extremely optimistic outlook towards life. It's just amazing to see how strongly, and with a smile on his face, he faced his terminal illness. If you watch his video, you wont believe that you are actually listening to a guy who is suffering from cancer at its final stages.

Am sure by now you would have realized how much I loved this book!!! I highly recommend it and I really feel every one of u who reads this book will take away something with u which u will remember for the rest of your life...

Some useful links if you are interested to know more:

His blog -

If you have already read this book, let me know what you thought of it and I'll add a link to your review..

1 comment:

Arumugam said...

I recall a similar book "Tuesdays with Morrie" by Mitch Albom which was also about the same theme...both are very inspiring