I heard about Randy Pausch and his Last Lecture some time last year. In case you haven’t heard of him: a computer-science professor at Carnegie Mellon University, Randy was told last August that his pancreatic cancer had spread and he had just three to six months to live. He’s 47 and has three kids—almost 2, 3 and 6. According to Wikipedia, Pausch delivered his “Last Lecture,” titled “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams,” at CMU 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?”.
I never got down to downloading his lecture from You Tube, but I got a copy of his book recently. This may not join the ranks of life changing books, but it is certain to impact many lives. At least I hope so. I found it inspirational. It has set me thinking about several things that we take for granted – like, time and time management. It also made me wonder whether we really do all we can to achieve something that we desperately want. He refers to obstacles in life as ‘brick walls’, and says: “The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out; the brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. The brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They are there to stop the other people!” The book is about hope, resilience, having dreams and working towards achieving them. I wish I had something like this to inspire me when I was in school.