The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch is still one of my favourite books, if not, THE favourite.
Pausch delivered his “Last Lecture”, titled Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams, at Carnegie Mellon on September 18, 2007. This talk was modeled after an ongoing series of lectures where top academics are asked to think deeply about what matters to them, and then give a hypothetical “final talk,” i.e., “what wisdom would you try to impart to the world if you knew it was your last chance?”
A month before giving the lecture, Pausch had received a prognosis that the pancreatic cancer, with which he had been diagnosed a year earlier, was terminal. Before speaking, Pausch received a long standing ovation from a large crowd of over 400 colleagues and students. When he motioned them to sit down, saying, “Make me earn it,” some in the audience shouted back, “You did!” During the lecture Pausch was upbeat and humorous, shrugging off the pity often given to those diagnosed with terminal illness. At one point, to prove his own vitality, Pausch dropped down and did push-ups on stage.
Here are some notable quotes from the book:
•Brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want something badly enough. They are there to keep out the other people.
•Find the best in everybody…. Wait long enough, and people will surprise and impress you. It might even take years, but people will show you theirgood side. Just keep waiting.
•Never underestimate the importance of having fun. I’m dying and I’m having fun. And I’m going to keep having fun every day, because there’s no other way to play it….Having fun for me is like a fish talking about the importance of water. I don’t know how it is like not to have fun…
•Be good at something, it makes you valuable.
and this one was to his kids
•It’s not about how to achieve your dreams. It’s about how to lead your life. If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself. The dreams will come to you.
I highly recommend this book.