Book Summary of The Last Lecture
'The Last Lecture' is a truly inspirational book. The work of Randy Pausch, the book tells us how to live life joyously. If you would like to know how to be upbeat about life, how to fight the odds to achieve your dreams, and how to ensure that you live life to the fullest, it’s time to pick up 'The Last Lecture'!
The book developed as a result of a speech given by Randy Pausch, a professor at the Carnegie Mellon University. In an annual event known as the 'Last Lecture', the university invites one of its faculty members to deliver a speech to the lecture. The speech is to be based on the hypothetical premise that they are dying and this is their final lecture to the students.
In September 2007, the faculty member invited to give the speech was Randy Pausch. However, for Randy Pausch, the situation was not hypothetical. He had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and given just a few months to live. Beaming his CT scans around the auditorium, Randy Pausch delivered a lecture 'Achieving your Childhood Dreams', which was so inspirational and upbeat that it became an Internet sensation. It was downloaded by millions of viewers.
Given its impact, Randy Pausch collaborated with fellow alumni member Jeffrey Zaslow to write The Last Lecture. The book, like his lecture, focused on living and living as though every minute in life is your last one. The stories detailed in it help us to see how dealing with life's obstacles with humor, creativity and intelligence can help you not just achieve your dreams, but also to enable others' dreams. In his book, Randy Pausch says we must seize every moment, because “Time is all you have… and you may find one day that you have less than you think.”
General Reception and Other Adaptations
The book was a New York Times best seller for 85 weeks and sold more than 4.5 million copies in the US. It was also translated into several languages. Following the book, Randy Pausch appeared before the US Congress to testify on the need for more funding for research into pancreatic cancer.
About The Author
The author was a professor of Computer Science, Human Computer Interaction and Design at the Carnegie Mellon University. He also worked with Adobe, Disney, Electronics and Art as well as Google. Randy Pausch was deeply involved with a non-for-profit organization, Alice. He also co-founded a professional graduate program for interactive entertainment, the Entertainment Technology Centre.
His Personal Life
Randy Pausch lost his battle with cancer on July 25, 2008. He is survived by his wife Jai and three children. When he was working on the book, he was determined that it should not steal his time away from his children. He therefore used to speak about his thoughts and ideas to his co-author Zaslow on his cell phone headset while on his daily bike rides. Zaslow helped put it all together in the form of a book.