The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
I was expecting bigger things from this book due to its ratings and recommendations across the web. It’s a brief and concise read, interesting in relation to Randy Pausch’s meditations on life with death knocking at his door (pancreatic cancer) and enjoyable enough to warrant a fair review. That said, there’s nothing groundbreaking in The Last Lecture that I haven’t read or heard before in most books of this nature. At times you’re looking for deeper insight, greater resonance, something more profound. This never comes but, suffice to say, isn’t a slight on Randy Pausch’s writing nor what he has to say, it’s just that I was expecting, due to what I’d heard about this book, something fantastically philosophical and wise.
As the book comes to a close, it does have the capacity to move you – as most books that take stock of a human life, in the window of death, might be expected to. Pausch’s life, recounted in pursuit of his childhood dreams, and his academic and family life, is just as valid as any other. There are plenty of lessons to learn from reading The Last Lecture, just none that I hadn’t already heard. Perhaps it’ll come better with time, as I move on to fatherhood, marriage, respect and acknowledgement in a career and a better understanding of my craft. Until that inevitable point however, I’ll probably find other books, ones more closely related to the stage of life I’m in right now, to have bigger impact.
Ch.6) “Have something to bring to the table, because that will make you more welcome.”
Ch.7) “When you see yourself doing something badly and nobody’s bothering to tell you anymore, that’s a bad place to be. You may not want to hear it, but your critics are often the ones telling you they still love you and care about you, and want to make you better.”
Ch.11) “The brick walls are there for a reason. They’re not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something.”
Ch.23) “Time must be explicitly managed, like money.”
Ch.23) “Time is all you have. And you may find one day that you have less than you think.”