Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Last Lecture, by Randy Pausch

* Note, this book was written by Randy Pausch, with the assistance of Jeff Zaslow. For more information on the Last Lecture, both lecture and book, please follow the link in the text below.

This is a book I borrowed from my sister last weekend. After my last review, I needed to follow up with something inspirational. I was worried that this book might be a little to sad. I was so wrong.

The book was written as a follow up to the now infamous Last Lecture given by Dr. Randy Pausch at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Part of a regular lecture series, this would indeed be a last lecture for Pausch, who was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer.

In the lecture, as well as the first part of the book, Pausch talks about achieving childhood dreams. Pausch achieved a lot of amazing childhood dreams. He goes on to talk about how he was able to help so many other people achieve their childhood dreams. And finally, he talks about his wife and children, and the lessons he has learned as a result of his diagnosis, as well as the message he wanted to leave behind as his legacy.

For a book written by a man who knew, undoubtedly, that he was dying, there is very little sadness to be found in these pages. In fact, I felt a little ashamed, as a lay in bed reading it, because I was feeling under the weather, and here was a man making end of life arrangements and finding joy, yes, joy at every turn.

This book made me appreciate a lot of things about my husband that I often take for granted, and Pausch describes his little quirks, and how they affect his marriage. I plan to use some of the lessons he presents in the book as tools to help continue building a strong loving marriage and family. His methods obviously work.

The book is so inspiring, and I only teared up once, when he was talking about his daughter. At the time he wrote the book, she was only 18 months old, and he knew, realistically, that she would most likely not have any real memories of her father, so he writes in the book that she needs to know the he, her father, was the first man to fall in love with her. As a daddy's girl, my heart broke a little and a few tears slipped out. But in general, the book was incredibly uplifting, and made me feel like I, too, could do anything, which is why I continue to write these blogs. So to Randy, up in Heaven (I am sure of it) thank you for the inspiration to go after my dreams. And to all of you reading, thanks for helping my dreams come true, because you are, even if you do not realize it.