Some books leave an indelible imprint on our hearts and minds. "The Last Lecture" by Randy Pausch is one such masterpiece.
In its review of the book, Amazon.com says, "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. It was a summation of everything Randy had come to believe. It was about living."
The book is sprinkled with some sparkling nuggets of wisdom. Here are my favourites:
- "We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand."
- "Just because you're in the driver's seat, doesn't mean you have to run people over."
- "When you're screwing up and nobody says anything to you anymore, that means they've given up on you."
- "Brick walls are there for a reason. They give us a chance to show how badly we want something."
- "Sometimes, all you have to do is ask."
- "If I could only give three words of advice, it would be "tell the truth." If I got three more words, I'd add: "All the time.""
- "Time is all you have. And you may find one day that you have less than you think."
Randy lost his battle with pancreatic cancer on July 25th, 2008. But his last lecture will last forever.
Here's the video that inspired the book:
Thanks so much, Randy!