The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Globe Life

June 19, 2009

Book review: 'Last Lecture' should have been read sooner

“The Last Lecture”

By Randy Pausch with Jeffrey Zaslow

I am generally not someone who gushes over books, particularly non-fiction titles, but “The Last Lecture” inspired and impressed me so much, I can not say enough about it. I will admit that I bought this book not long after it was published and it sat on my nightstand for quite awhile. I buy few non-fiction books in the first place (no need since the library is very handy!) so for me to buy it and have it sit, is unusual. I should have read it immediately. It will be one I reread and reread.

The “Last Lecture” series at Carnegie Mellon University is a series of lectures given by people, often university professors, who are to talk about “their personal and professional journeys.” When Randy Pausch was asked to give his “last lecture,” he knew it would truly be his last lecture.

Pausch had recently been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, one of the most deadly forms of cancer, with a life expectancy of three to six months. He wanted this lecture to be his legacy to his family and his way of communicating all the life lessons he would not be able to teach his young children himself. The lecture was to be videotaped for his family so his children could view it later in life. (The lecture may be watched in its entirety on YouTube, where it has been viewed over 8 million times.)

The book expands on his talk through a number of short chapters divided into sections. Pausch talks about the lecture, growing up, his dreams, his career, Jai, his wife, and their three children in these five sections. He takes the reader through his life starting with the last lecture before going back to his childhood years and moving forward through his life.

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