Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Last Lecture

“We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand”.

We cannot decide the length of our life, but surely, the height that we attain. This is exactly what Randy Pausch does and inspires us to do. For unacquainted, Randy Pausch was a professor in Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon. Born in a typical middle class family, this person went on to create an Entertainment Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon, and later on became well-known for his legendary last lecture, which is available for future generations in the form of a video and a book.

Born with the winning ticket, as far as parents were concerned, he was lucky enough to live out his childhood dreams. Surely, he would love to cherish the dreams of his children and empower them to realize them, but for a terminal pancreatic cancer, which attacked him almost in the middle of his life. Then started the earnest attempts of a father, to give his children the fullest. The Last Lecture is also a part of this endeavor.

Most of the book is autobiographical, involving the incidents from his childhood to this last lecture, peppered with words of wisdom. But what I loved most is, this is not a traditional self-help stuff. This is a book which gives you insight into your life. Here is somebody with flesh and blood, giving down-to-earth tips to enrich your lives, though not in the materialistic sense. This journey of an inconsiderate but a passionate kid keeps us hooked till end. It’s just like one of us, narrating his experiences of fulfilling the dreams, some of which, even we have relished. And this journey is made more meaningful by the people who come across and leave their imprint.

From seemingly petty thing like answering “Park is open until 8 pm” to a question “When does the park close?”, Randy succeeds in changing our attitude. We are elated at the successes that he gets in achieving his dreams. Especially, his encounters with Disney World at various stages of his life are worth reading. The next in line is his gratitude towards the folks who shaped his life through their good deeds. And not to forget, that all this is written, when the death is waiting for you at the next turn.

He just sets an example, of how to live your life fully and enjoy every moment of whatever short span you are left with without whining about the fate. Then only you will be the richest one to die, as satisfaction is the wealth that you have with you on the deathbed.

So, get set go, on the life’s race, which is full of hurdles, waiting to be conquered, because, once again in Randy’s words, “Brick walls are there for a reason. ”


  1. Entire post is very well said....

    "this is not a traditional self-help stuff."
    is tempting me to read the book ...

    Keep writing:)

  2. Very nice post.All wisdom only gained but not enacted goes in vain.You did your part of imparting it as usual lets see if the reader enacts,as generally these are self help stuff;though not traditional ones..:)

  3. @Richa, Thanks...

    @Swati, I hope the story changes its traditional path here... ;)