The Last Lecture – Randy Pausch Book Review

By Rishabh Diwakar
“An injured lion still wants to roar”
If you know that you have a very short time of good health, how would you like to spend your time? You want to fulfill your dreams, spend quality time with your family or do what you are best at. Very similar is the case of Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. He was asked to give a lecture and he couldn’t imagine it to be his last one. Randy said “We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand”. He finally gave the lecture “Really Achieving your Childhood Dreams” which was about adventures, lessons, overcoming hurdles in life, doing things that make us happy, enabling the dreams of others, seizing every moment(because “time is all you have…and you may find one day that you have less than you think you do”). In short, it was about living your life. He managed to motivate his audience even with his failures and adventures. He demonstrated the famous dialogue from the movie “Rocky” by relating it to his real-life experiences, and I quote, “It ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward”.
This book is inspiring, motivating and can craft the inanimate to life. The author has beautifully combined humor, intelligence and wisdom. He has exemplified many stories which cover subjects like hard work, team work, sacrifice, self-confidence, modesty, dreaming big, perseverance, positivity, courage and dealing with adversity. For the reader, the book is a glimpse into the life of a dying man who fights every moment to be alive and not a mere story.
He finds himself winning the parent lottery. He was influenced by his loving and supporting parents. During his life, he learnt many lessons from his experiences and has shared them in a striking manner. He also reveals how he achieved his childhood dream of becoming a Disney Imagineer, getting to Zero Gravity, being the coolest guy at amusement park and playing in the National football League (which he never made it).
The book shows a transformational change of his life when he is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, portrays the changes in his day to day life and how he managed to achieve more in those turbulent times. He always maintained a positive outlook. Pausch loved his wife and children and he expressed it after every slide of his last lecture. He has dedicated his last lecture to his children and concludes by looking forward to sharing his dreams for his children. He recounts that his wife Jai was his caregiver and this means a lot to him.
On the last page, he closes with the following poignant statement: “My life will be lost to pancreatic cancer. Two organizations I have worked with that are dedicated to fighting this disease are: The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and The Lustgarten Foundation.” This book makes us feel like family to him, supporting him in his battle against a terminal cancer.
He is an electronics engineer and is currently pursuing full time M.B.A in Energy and Infrastructure (Finance) from School of Petroleum Management, Gandhinagar. In past he has been associated with Tata Consultancy services Ltd for 3 years as a system engineer. He has also done research work for Indian Oil Corporation during his Internship and helped them to understand the role of media in branding.
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