Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
The Last Lecture Hardcover – Deluxe Edition, April 8, 2008
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
"We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand."
A lot of professors give talks titled "The Last Lecture." Professors are asked to consider their demise and to ruminate on what matters most to them. And while they speak, audiences can't help but mull the same question: What wisdom would we impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance? If we had to vanish tomorrow, what would we want as our legacy?
When Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, was asked to give such a lecture, he didn't have to imagine it as his last, since he had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. But the lecture he gave--"Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams"--wasn't about dying. It was about the importance of overcoming obstacles, of enabling the dreams of others, of seizing every moment (because "time is all you have...and you may find one day that you have less than you think"). It was a summation of everything Randy had come to believe. It was about living.
In this book, Randy Pausch has combined the humor, inspiration and intelligence that made his lecture such a phenomenon and given it an indelible form. It is a book that will be shared for generations to come.
Questions for Randy Pausch
We were shy about barging in on Randy Pausch's valuable time to ask him a few questions about his expansion of his famous Last Lecture into the book by the same name, but he was gracious enough to take a moment to answer. (See Randy to the right with his kids, Dylan, Logan, and Chloe.) As anyone who has watched the lecture or read the book will understand, the really crucial question is the last one, and we weren't surprised to learn that the "secret" to winning giant stuffed animals on the midway, like most anything else, is sheer persistence.
Amazon.com: I apologize for asking a question you must get far more often than you'd like, but how are you feeling?
Pausch: The tumors are not yet large enough to affect my health, so all the problems are related to the chemotherapy. I have neuropathy (numbness in fingers and toes), and varying degrees of GI discomfort, mild nausea, and fatigue. Occasionally I have an unusually bad reaction to a chemo infusion (last week, I spiked a 103 fever), but all of this is a small price to pay for walkin' around.
Amazon.com: Your lecture at Carnegie Mellon has reached millions of people, but even with the short time you apparently have, you wanted to write a book. What did you want to say in a book that you weren't able to say in the lecture?
Pausch: Well, the lecture was written quickly--in under a week. And it was time-limited. I had a great six-hour lecture I could give, but I suspect it would have been less popular at that length ;-).
A book allows me to cover many, many more stories from my life and the attendant lessons I hope my kids can take from them. Also, much of my lecture at Carnegie Mellon focused on the professional side of my life--my students, colleagues and career. The book is a far more personal look at my childhood dreams and all the lessons I've learned. Putting words on paper, I've found, was a better way for me to share all the yearnings I have regarding my wife, children and other loved ones. I knew I couldn't have gone into those subjects on stage without getting emotional.
Amazon.com: You talk about the importance--and the possibility!--of following your childhood dreams, and of keeping that childlike sense of wonder. But are there things you didn't learn until you were a grownup that helped you do that?
Pausch: That's a great question. I think the most important thing I learned as I grew older was that you can't get anywhere without help. That means people have to want to help you, and that begs the question: What kind of person do other people seem to want to help? That strikes me as a pretty good operational answer to the existential question: "What kind of person should you try to be?"
Amazon.com: One of the things that struck me most about your talk was how many other people you talked about. You made me want to meet them and work with them--and believe me, I wouldn't make much of a computer scientist. Do you think the people you've brought together will be your legacy as well?
Pausch: Like any teacher, my students are my biggest professional legacy. I'd like to think that the people I've crossed paths with have learned something from me, and I know I learned a great deal from them, for which I am very grateful. Certainly, I've dedicated a lot of my teaching to helping young folks realize how they need to be able to work with other people--especially other people who are very different from themselves.
Amazon.com: And last, the most important question: What's the secret for knocking down those milk bottles on the midway?
Pausch: Two-part answer:
1) long arms
2) discretionary income / persistence
Actually, I was never good at the milk bottles. I'm more of a ring toss and softball-in-milk-can guy, myself. More seriously, though, most people try these games once, don't win immediately, and then give up. I've won *lots* of midway stuffed animals, but I don't ever recall winning one on the very first try. Nor did I expect to. That's why I think midway games are a great metaphor for life.
From Publishers Weekly
Made famous by his Last Lecture at Carnegie Mellon and the quick Internet proliferation of the video of the event, Pausch decided that maybe he just wasn't done lecturing. Despite being several months into the last stage of pancreatic cancer, he managed to put together this book. The crux of it is lessons and morals for his young and infant children to learn once he is gone. Despite his sometimes-contradictory life rules, it proves entertaining and at times inspirational. Surprisingly, the audiobook doesn't include the reading of Pausch's actual Last Lecture, which he gave on September 18, 2007, a month after being diagnosed. Erik Singer provides an excellent inflective voice that hints at the reveries of past experiences with family and children while wielding hope and regret for family he will leave behind. The first CD is enhanced with photos.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
At a time when many would be bemoaning their fate, he preaches the joys of life and finding meaning in every moment. He doesn't feel remorse, regret or give us the feeling he considers himself a victim in any way. Instead he talks of the adventure of life itself, taken in the moment and the ways that we can make each of those moments meaningful and productive for ourselves and others.
He argues against self-limiting thoughts and inspires those who hear or read his words to move foreward through every challenge unafraid and with a sense that whatever the challenge, it amounts to little more than opening and closing a door.
This is a story of life's passages, from moment to moment, and finding the courage within to meet each challenge without fear. It is a must for anyone interested in pursuing their own personal evolution.
Reviewer: Dr W. P. Palmer.
This is the story of a sincere man with scientific training writing autobiographically to draw out the lessons from his own life and provide these lessons to a general audience for their use, but more particularly to his own family as something by which to remember him. It is easily readable and plausible, but the outcomes of what appear to be chance events in Randy Pausch’s life are presented in terms of being inviolable scientific laws. For example, consider the story in Chapter 50 entitled ‘The $100,000 salt and pepper shaker’. It is a nice little story of kindness by Disney World staff to Randy and his sister when they were young, which Randy claims he and his family were able to repay ten thousand-fold when he was an adult. He draws out the moral from this story is that ‘on every level, institutions can and should have a heart’. Probably no one will disagree with this statement, but Pausch leaves businesses with no practical advice as to precisely how this may be done.
Randy Pausch’s account of his life shows him to have been both talented and fortunate up to his untimely demise, though he eventually accepted this with more grace and dignity than many of us could manage. Different individuals will accept some of his moralizing and reject the rest. The idea of supporting ‘a last lecture’ by Carnegie Mellon University seems to be a good one and would be worthy of emulation by other universities. From the length of the book, it contained material for at least six last lectures. Pausch claims to have been a ‘science nerd’ and to have been scientific in the organization of his life. This may not be possible or even desirable, but from his description, Pausch’s life was not as scientific as he considered it to be. The book is very definitely worth reading!
The Last Lecture spans the decades from his early childhood to his final months. The vignettes are unforgettable and breathe with vitality. His true stories make you smile, or shed a tear, or nod your head in agreement, or say, “I gotta give this book to my kids.”
Each story is like an Aesop Fable or Zen Parable. Personal stories of Disneyland, Star Trek and Captain Kirk, floating in Zero Gravity, running into “brick walls”, finding “the one”, flying in a hot air balloon, achieving his dreams… all have “head fakes” (as Pausch likes to call them). His stories teach crucial life lessons in an amiable and stimulating way.
Pausch’s Last Lecture is a legacy for his young children and wife, and we get to share in his generosity. We, too, are the beneficiaries of his well-lived life, his wit, and his wisdom (which includes a brilliant road map to happiness and fulfillment).
One of the best books I’ve read in a very long time. Highly recommended.
Most recent customer reviews
It's also a humbling book