Genre: Nonfiction, Inspirational, Memoir
Reading Challenges: 19 for 100+ in 2009
I first heard the name of Randy Pausch when I read an excerpt from this book in a copy of Reader's Digest, while visiting with some extended family. I meant to get around to reading it someday, but found myself putting it off. I think I was afraid that reading it would result in tears and flashbacks to unpleasant memories related to my mother's lost battle with cancer. Finally, I broke down and decided to give the book a try.
I'm very glad I did. The Last Lecture surprised me; I was expecting a last will and testament, instead I found a love letter to life. Randy Pausch was someone who lived a blessed life, much the result of his own hard work and tenacity, who knew how to count his blessings. Reading his book made me think about all the great things that I already have in my life, and all of the great memories I've already made.
Pausch did try to teach some valuable lessons that he had been lucky enough to learn from in his own life. I specifically appreciated his thoughts on working well with others, and the idea that "brick walls are there to make us prove how much we want something." I found this book to be a fast paced, enjoyable read. This is no pity party, but a smile inducing memoir. Yes, I did find myself caring about Pausch and his family, and even wondering how his family has fared since he passed away in July of 2008.
If you haven't watched the last lecture that Pausch gave at Carnegie Mellon which was the inspiration for the book, you can view it here. If you have already watched the lecture, it is still worth reading the book, as Pausch expanded on many of the ideas he only briefly touched on during his live lecture. The book is much less technical than the live lecture, and contains more detailed stories of Pausch and his family. I really enjoyed this book. I'm glad I followed the advice of so many of my fellow bloggers and gave it a chance.