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May 12, 2008

The Last Lecture

To millions who have watched him on the Internet or on Oprah Winfrey's TV show, Randy Pausch is the 47-year-old professor dying of cancer who inspired them with his “last lecture,” about achieving childhood dreams and living with integrity and joy. His neighbors in a Virginia suburb know him as the guy biking around the streets for exercise while chattering into a cell-phone headset.

That's what the Carnegie Mellon University computer science professor did to expand his 76-minute talk into a book without taking time that he doesn't have away from the people for whom the book was intended: his 3 children, all under 7 years of age, that he won't be around to help his wife, Jai, raise. I clearly remember watching his lecture on Oprah --so much of it was inspiring, moving, exciting, stirring, rousing; but also sad in a sense. The Professor was dying. After all, what do you say in a “last lecture?”

Pausch found out in September 2006 that he had pancreatic cancer, an especially deadly cancer with few treatment options. Last August, he learned the cancer had spread. Doctors told him he had 3 to 6 months live. He recently suffered heart and kidney failure. He's in pain all the time and he hasn't been strong enough to ride his bike. He's stopped chemotherapy and spends many days in bed. I just bought the book, the same size as the book Tuesdays with Morrie, by Mitch Abloom.  It arrived this morning -- 266 pages of discussions about enabling the dreams of others -- primarily his 3 children.

To read online, see Randy Pausch's blog and health report and  "The Last Lecture."

Have you read the book or listened to the lecture?

May 12, 2008 in Beka | Permalink


How inspiring Randy Pausch is! If you liked "The Last Lecture", another fantastic memoir I just read and highly recommend is "My Stroke of Insight" by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor. Her TEDTalk video (ted.com) has been seen as many times as The Last Lecture I think, and Oprah did 4 shows on her book, so there are a lot of similarities. In My Stroke of Insight, there's a happy ending though. It's an incredible story! I hear they're making it into a movie.

Posted by: Carla | Jun 3, 2008 12:35:46 AM

Randy Pausch returned to Carnegie Mellon to give the 2008 Class Graduatio speech.

With equal parts humor and heart, Pausch recently delivered a one-of-a-kind last lecture that moved an overflow crowd at Carnegie Mellon — and is now moving audiences around the globe.

Follow his inspiring journey through his childhood dreams to groundbreaking achievements at Carnegie Mellon. Use the following links to watch the lecture online, order a DVD, buy the new book and more.


Sometimes all we have left is to give and receive love.

Posted by: beka | May 19, 2008 8:26:46 PM

My husband, a university lecturer for 50 years, was deeply moved by this book and found many connections to colleagues and students in his academic life. Time is the most precious 'gift' anyone can give to another. Nursing does not alllow such 'gifts' as part of their professional practice nowadays.
The giver receives more than the receiver in the end.
Diana (New Zealand)

Posted by: Diana Grant-Mackie | May 16, 2008 1:41:40 AM

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