Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

Despite the fact that Carnegie Mellon University professor Randy Pausch was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer, he still agreed to give a last lecture to his students. The lecture that he called "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams" wasn't focused on academia, however, but on lessons and advice to live your life by. More importantly, Pausch wanted to give this lecture for not only his students, but also his three young children, who will grow up without him once he has passed.

In his lecture, Pausch, raised by a frugal school teacher and a philanthropic war veteran, reflects on poignant moments from his childhood and shares advice his father has imparted upon him. Simple things such as how a person's approach can make all the difference in the world or the importance of making your apologies sincere seem all the more relevant when told by Pausch.

Readers will also be amazed by the accomplishments he has made during his short time on earth. Not only did he teach virtual reality at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, he also was employed as an imagineer for Walt Disney World and worked on the team that developed the virtual reality Aladdin attraction that allows participants to virtually fly on a magic carpet.

Pausch reminds us that his accomplishments were not achieved without hard work and perseverance, as these were the very values that were instilled upon him as a child by his father.

Pausch's words are heartfelt but never overly sentimental, and you will find his lecture to be both inspiring and admirable. I feel like the world would be a better place if everyone could read this little treasure of a book.

Sadly, Pausch died on July 25, 2008 at the young age of 47. To watch the "Last Lecture" online, please visit http://www.cmu.edu/uls/journeys/randy-pausch/index.html.

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