Get Familiar—“The Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch

A few months ago I received some really bad (borderline devastating) news in reference to something I worked hard towards. I spent a good day in bed with a cheese pizza and Kit Kat bars when an episode of Oprah’s Life Class came featuring Carnegie Mellon professor, Randy Pausch. In the episode, Randy explained that while he was dying from pancreatic cancer he wanted to leave his children and students with something to remember him by. To do so, he gave a lecture aptly titled, The Last Lecture (below). The lecture went over my deaf ears as I was so frustrated by my dissipated opportunity, until Randy said a sentence that changed my perspective. He said, “Experience is what you get, when you didn’t get what you wanted.” With that one line I got out of bed and tossed out the pizza.

I later received the book as a gift from a coworker named MaryRose. I was thankful that she bought it because from start to finish, The Last Lecture is an insightful read. While it was written to immortalize the final words from the intellectual man, it is honestly a profound and motivational book that offers advice to a multitude of situations. Whether it’s going after a dream, falling in love, or raising children Randy tells his life story in a way that helps others redefine their own. It’s not your typical pauper to prince success narrative, but rather a man who was raised well and whose life lessons made his life better. His accounts opened a new perspective to a dreary situation in my life considering that Randy, a dying man, explained to me how to live my life fully. From finding a silver lining in the worst ideas, taking needed breaks, or most importantly living like optimistic Tigger instead of pessimistic Eeyore, there’s a pleasant and refreshing outlook that this books provides which everyone should take in. The book doesn’t aim to have you jot down important facts or memorize terminology; it simply shows you a way to live the life you dream about regardless of the roadblocks. Randy describes it best when he says:

“Brick walls are there for a reason. They give us a chance to show how badly we want something.”

Randy Pausch Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams

The Last Lecture
book image: Danielle Salmon
Randy Pausch Last Lecture – Achieving Your Childhood Dreams video: Carnegie Mellon University YouTube Channel


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“Brick walls are there for a reason. They give us a chance to show how badly we want something.” - Randy Pausch, "The Last Lecture"


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