Wednesday, September 24, 2008

"The Last Lecture" by Randy Pausch

"The brick walls are there for a reason."

And if you were Randy Pausch, you faced several brick walls in your lifetime, most of which you were able to knock down or find a way around. All but the biggest, strongest wall he faced - pancreatic cancer. He left behind three young children and a loving wife. But more than that, he inspired a lot of people when he his "last lecture" hit YouTube, then newscasts around the world.

Honestly, there's not much in this book that you probably haven't read somewhere else. That's not a bad thing, as I think we all need to be reminded from time to time of life's little lessons, things like "be honest", "have fun", and "you never know how much time you'll get". If there was one lesson that stood out overall, I suppose it's the one I've heard several times in several different ways - live your life. LIVE it, not just put up with it, or walk through it with blinders, or hope for a different one all the time.

This book is short and a good read. It was hard to get through parts of it, knowing that the author lost his battle earlier this summer. It was very difficult to read about how he felt about dying; it wasn't so much his anger at "why me?" but his worry about his kids. And it was obvious that he loved his wife and wanted to try to do whatever he could to help her with his impending death. It's one of those books that makes you want to go out and try to be a better person, even if it's just for a few hours. I think the world would be a better place if we all tried to be better people, but I'm also a realist. Change is a very slow process, better suited to building things like the Grand Canyon.

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