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A Book That Should Not Be Put Off Until Later
on May 12, 2013
Pausch's "Last Lecture" is a triumph of the best mindset contained within the human spirit. A mixture of life advice and autobiography, Pausch pours his heart out into this text to better all of us, his readers. Through the book, Pausch's courage in the face of death exemplifies what it means to have lived well, meeting many of the philosophical standards of Socrates, in his "Apology." And Pausch is refreshingly philosophical about his life and his then-coming tragedy, giving reason after reason as to why one might, even in the face of Thanatos, carry on the celebration of life to the end. Personally, my skin is quite thick when it comes to inspirational stories of any like, but Pausch's is penetrating, and I found it impossible to shake off his ability to inflict my heart with musings of the ultimate, and moving me to reassess my day-to-day perspective on life. That's how Pausch operates in his lecture: he works his way into our hearts by showing us how incredibly human he is (e.g., letting us in on his childhood dreams), breaking his terrible news of death to us, and then, when he's got us affected, he moves us to contemplation. In this philosophical contemplation, which is virtually an existentialist cry to the effect of continued, unremitting overcoming of obstacles (e.g., brick walls are built to show us how badly we want something), he is able to illustrate the splendors of life and teach us why we ought to value every minute aspect of it.
I have encountered few modern works that have achieved the emotively moving expression of this book and its ability to get to the core of the reader, penetrating the heart and plumbing the mind. This is one of those books that everyone needs to read, and the younger, the better. This is one that should not be put off.