Book Report - The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

By: Jeannette M. Nieves, Legal Assistant/General Practice Division

Quote Randy PauschWritten with humor and wisdom, this book serves as a reflection of the main points of Pausch’s lecture.  The author discussed the importance of childhood dreams, good parents in a child’s life; the importance to allow yourself to grow emotionally and intellectually and how to put people before material things.  This book imparts readers with a “how to” guide when striving to reach goals and dreams, but most important, this book was a legacy left to his three young children and millions of readers.

The author was a young professor and father who was terminally ill with pancreatic cancer; however, his lecture was about living.  Facing the reality of his diagnosis, Randy Pausch expands about the importance of overcoming obstacles, enabling the dreams of others and of seizing every moment.  I personally appreciated the areas when he explained the importance of allowing for changes in plans, asking yourself if you are spending time on the right things and that complaining is NOT an option. 

During his lecture, he goes over his suggestions and rules to-live-by:  Don’t complain, just work harder; Treat the disease, not the symptom; Don’t obsess over what people think; Check egos at the door; Praise each other; Look for the best in everybody; Watch what they do, not what they say; Whether you think you can or can’t, you are right! Loyalty is a two-way street; Tell the truth and Never give up.

My favorite quote in the book was “we cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand”. We cannot always control what happens to us, however, how we react to our circumstances can change completely the outcome in any situation.  How many times have you missed an opportunity because you are more preoccupied with what’s wrong in a situation? Are you using your energy and your time correctly? 

Finally, the author concludes the book by talking over his dreams for his children, which is for them to achieve their own dreams and that they will always be passionate about following their dreams.  He explains that the book is not about achieving dreams, but rather how to really live your life. 

This is a very inspiring, and emotional book that reminds us about how fragile we really are and the importance of making every day of your life count. 

“Experience is what you get, when you didn’t get what you wanted” – From The Last Lecture   The Last Lecture