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Friday, September 2, 2011

Guest Review: The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch, Jeffrey Zaslow

When I learned I was going to be away for a week on vacation I asked Juanita from Dare To Be Who You Are to write a review for my blog, I told her I was giving her a carte blanche, she could write a review for any book she wanted. I know she loves to read as much as I do, maybe we don’t like the same genres but our love for books is comparable, I know this because I grew up with her, she is my “little” sister. So here I leave you with her and don’t forget to check out her blog

Title: The Last Lecture
Author: Randy Pausch
Jeffrey Zaslow
Genre: Personal Improvement 
Publisher: Hyperion
Source: Guest Review by Juanita from
Format: E-book
"A lot of professors give talks titled "The Last Lecture." Professors are asked to consider their demise and to ruminate on what matters most to them. And while they speak, audiences can't help but mull the same question: What wisdom would we impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance? If we had to vanish tomorrow, what would we want as our legacy? When Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, was asked to give such a lecture, he didn't have to imagine it as his last, since he had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. But the lecture he gave--"Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams"--wasn't about dying. It was about the importance of overcoming obstacles, of enabling the dreams of others, of seizing every moment (because "time is all you have...and you may find one day that you have less than you think"). It was a summation of everything Randy had come to believe. It was about living. In this book, Randy Pausch has combined the humor, inspiration and intelligence that made his lecture such a phenomenon and given it an indelible form. It is a book that will be shared for generations to come."
Probably many of you have seen Randy Paush’s video in YouTube.   For the ones who have not seen it, or not know his story, He was a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, he was asked to give a lecture.  As Many Colleges this was what they call “the last lecture” where the teachers use it as the last time that they will teach the meaningful things in life to their students before they walk out of their class for the last time. At this time Mr. Paush was diagnosed with terminal cancer, he was only 46 and this really was his last lecture, he had just a couple of months left to live.  He was also the Father of 3 small children and a loved husband and admired person as well as a great family member.
As a parent I could relate to his anguish of knowing that you will soon die and you are leaving small children behind.  It was a lesson on life, it was a wake up call as is his video. It made me dream, and try to remember all my childhood dreams! and once again it made me feel they were possible (and I can say I am beginning to live them), it makes you think of the question that we get asked many times and that we ask ourselves many times. What would you do if you find out that you will die soon? And the scary part is that most of us are not really sure what the real answer will be.

It was impressive to see the passion he put in everything he did, and it was amazing to see the strength he had, without forgetting to have his moments to let his weakness show. I love the way he approached life, the way he dealt with his sickness. "When there’s an elephant in the room introduce him." , the way he made me laugh and yes cry in some parts.

This book gave me courage and made me look at my life in a different way, it will help you rethink your priorities in life, the value of hard work and the importance to give this knowledge to future generations.

This is a book about faith and reality, and how to mix them without crossing that very thin line that is in between them. It’s a practical guide to things that we would take as obvious but that in reality we know nothing about. It will make you rethink your values and what you think is worth in your life.

This will be my first recommendation as a parental guide, this will also be my first recommendation for anyone that doesn’t know what to do with their life, and this will also be my first recommendation for anyone that takes himself too serious, also if you value your material stuff too much this is the book to put things in perspective.
If you ever have doubts in your life, this book will also help you. I tried to think of any downside of this book and being objective there is none.  There will be parts that might make your eyes get a little “extra moist”, but in all is just a wake up call to enjoy every second of your life.

It’s a practical way to learn to see the good in what we tend to see bad, it’s a moment to accept that not everything is perfect, but we can make it work, it’s all a matter of the choices we make. You will feel this book deep inside you since it’s as real as life can get, you will be available to relate to many things no matter who you are, where you live, what your story is or your destination.
To say the least, wether you are a parent or not this is a must read, not only it’s a book that you would want to read, its a book that you would want to have handy and read over and over again, and each time you will learn something else that you can apply to your life.  This is also a book that you are going to want to give to the people you care about and that sometimes don’t know how to teach them important values. This will be your tool of choice.

I hope that all of you take the time to read this book, it will at least make you see life in a different way, maybe it won’t permanently change you, but it will certainly give you another angle to see your life.
At the end of the book all I could feel was admiration for Mr. Paush and to value all the legacy he left behind.  It was wonderful to have some kind of contact with someone as intelligent as he was, even if he is no longer here.

Favorite Quotes:
  • But engineering isn’t about perfect solutions; it’s about doing the best you can with limited resources.  Both the lecture and this book are my attempts to do exactly that”
  • “We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand”
  • "Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted. And experience is often the most valuable thing you have to offer."
  • "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. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people."
  • "Look, I'm going to find a way to be happy, and I'd really love to be happy with you, but if I can't be happy with you, then I'll find a way to be happy without you."
  • "When you're screwing up and nobody says anything to you anymore, that means they've given up on you."
  • "It's not how hard you hit. It's how hard you get hit...and keep moving forward.
Verdict: 5 Paws

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