The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch & Jeffrey Zaslow

My GoodReads’ Star Rating: 3 stars out of 5, which means I liked it! ((Follow me at GoodReads!))

A Bookish Observation

The first time I heard Randy Pausch’s “The Last Lecture”, about ten years ago, I was blown away by the wisdom he shared. Recently I came across the hardback edition 2008 at my local charity shop, so I snapped it up, and started reading it immediately. The impact it had on me, this time around, was different, I pondered about a person’s sense of self and whether it can be too big or too small. (I should share the fact that I’m an introvert, therefore when I read about a person embracing the love of many, I don’t quite end up on the same page.) The wisdom within the book is very good and it is an important book to read, however this time around it left me wondering about the personality behind the wisdom he shared, and his sense that what he knew mattered; and, don’t be mistaken, it does. I’m just left wondering about ego, and a confusion about whether or not it’s OK. Putting my pondering aside, here are a couple of quotes from the book that got me nodding in agreement:

Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.


Showing gratitude is one of the simplest yet most powerful things humans can do for each other.


Also, Mr Pausch describes a thing called a “head-fake”, which is a teaching technique where a person is taught something “they don’t realise they’re learning until well into the process.” Here’s a quote indicating that, although the whole lecture was about how to achieve childhood dreams, it was really about something else. Here are the wise words:

… today’s talk was about achieving childhood dreams…” [But that’s a head-fake.] “it’s not about how to achieve your dreams. It’s about how to lead your life. If you lead your life the right way the karma will take care of itself. The dreams will come to you …


I got a lot out of the book, the first time, and even more the second time around. It’s worth the read. (There’s a lot about Mr Pausch’s lecture on the internet, because it has been rated very highly.) I believe he will be remembered as someone who made a difference, a positive difference.

There’s a Wikipedia entry, where you can find out more: Click here!

You can view Randy Pausch’s lecture too, via YouTube. It has had nearly 20 million and is provided by the Carnegie Mellon University’s YouTube Account. It’s long, but worth the time, it’s length is over an hour.

A little about the author

“Randy” Pausch was an American educator, a professor of computer science, human–computer interaction, and design at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He learned he had pancreatic cancer in September 2006. In August 2007, he was given a terminal diagnosis: “3 to 6 months of good health left”. He gave an upbeat lecture titled “The Last Lecture: Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams” on September 18, 2007, at Carnegie Mellon, which became a popular YouTube video and led to other media appearances. He then co-authored a book called The Last Lecture on the same theme, which became a New York Times best-seller. Mr Pausch died of complications from pancreatic cancer on July 25, 2008, aged 47. Source: Wikipedia

Jeffrey Zaslow was an American author (died 2012) and journalist and a columnist for The Wall Street Journal. He was widely known as coauthor of best-selling books. Also he was the sole author of numerous books. Source: Wikipedia

Genre – Non Fiction

Memoir, Self Help,

First Published