Have you ever had a childhood dream? Did you accomplish it? If not, what's stopping you?
Randy Pausch, a respected and influential member of the computer science community, wrote The Last Lecture after hearing the news his pancreatic cancer had metastasized, inevitably giving him a death sentence. You are probably thinking this book sounds like a downer, but quite the contrary, this book is incredibly uplifting!
Randy participated in a lecture series on September 18, 2007 at Carnegie Mellon titled The Last Lecture. This type of lecture series is very common where professors speak to their students hypothetically as if they are going to die, but for Randy this was not hypothetical. This book is a more expanded version of that lecture and now anyone can watch it online. In writing this book, he truly evaluates his legacy, not only to his peers, but to his children who at the time were five, two and one. This book acts as a self-reflective letter to his children, who for the most part, will never know him.
Randy has an inspiring and refreshing outlook on life. One thing that struck me is Randy does not care about things, he cares about people. People matter and things do not. Another point Mr. Pausch emphasizes is the importance of childhood dreams. When he was a child, he dreamed and he dreamed big. Those dreams motivated him through his entire life and it is a piece of wisdom that has made me reflect on my childhood dreams as well. Randy was able to accomplish all of his childhood dreams and navigates the reader through his life experiences with humor and ease.
Randy stresses most of all that life is short. We only have a finite amount of time and we should not waste any of it. This book is an incredibly moving work of non-fiction that will continue to inspire people for many years to come. The Last Lecture is a must read and who knows--he may even inspire you to act on one of your childhood dreams. For Randy, everything is magical and anything is possible. He follows the sage words of Walt Disney: "If you can dream it, you can do it!"
Recommended by Shannon Jackson