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Book – The Last Lecture

Author – Randy Pausch & Jeffrey Zaslow

Publisher – Hyperion (2008)

Page Numbers – 240

Reviewed by – Naisargi Bhatt



‘We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand’ –RANDY PAUSCH

The LAST LECTURE is an inspiring and motivational book, that may land you a reality check about life, or maybe even just a good cry; through stories and aphorisms about a professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University, Pennsylvania.

Randy Pausch had been diagnosed with ten tumours in his liver. The university where he worked offered a lecture series for students wherein the educators shared advice based on lessons learned from their lives. Randy had his chance to share before he died. “What wisdom would we impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance?”

He was a father of three young children and married to the woman of his dreams. “I knew what I was doing that day,” he writes in the book’s introduction, “Under the ruse of giving an academic lecture, I was trying to put myself in a bottle that would one day wash up on the beach for my children.”

His wife, Jai was not enthusiastic as Randy for his lecture. She knew he would pour a lot of time and energy into the lecture. But then she relented when she saw how much it meant to him to have a recording of his life lessons for their three children. It was his chance to say goodbye to many people in his working world.

“I’ve never understood pity and self-pity as an emotion. We have a finite amount of time whether short or long it doesn’t matter. Life is to be LIVED” he says.

Throughout the book, we revisit Randy Pausch’s fulfilment of his childhood dreams, the stories that illustrate themes such as dreaming big, hard work, perseverance, sacrifice, courage, a positive outlook and dealing with adversities. Rather than focusing on his last moments, it was a speech about living, each day as though it was your last.

“Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.”

It’s all about how you frame that experience, he explains. It’s not about what happens to you bout about how you react to what happens to you that makes a difference.

Randy Pausch is the main character of this book. After aggressive treatment, he still couldn’t get better and he knew his time on earth was limited. But, he believed in moving forward which takes, flow of the story at peak and rules over the heart.

“It’s not how hard you hit, it’s how hard you get hit.. and keep moving forward.” The ones who keep getting up and keep moving forward are the ones who win at the end. Life is hard, but compared to what? He discusses the disease and its effects on the remainder of his life in the chapter entitled ‘It’s About How to Live Your Life.’ He points out at the end of the lecture that we all have a finite time. He advises to count blessings and be thankful, that attracts more to be thankful for. Complaining cannot help us achieve our goals.


‘Time is all you have. And you may find one day, that you have less time than you think’ –RANDY PAUSCH

Never take time for granted. Each day you wake up is another day you are supposed to be here. There is a reason for your life. Hope to fill the pages of your ‘Once upon a time’ story right and vow to make each moment count. To die with dignity and grace is on everyone’s “to do” list but to treasure your “sheer existence” has a whole host of other emotions that rule your life. The book needs to be shared for generations to come.

Naisargi Bhatt is a student pursuing masters in medical biotechnology. She intends to pursue a course in literature once she finishes the current one. She loves writing and writes various forms and genres – philosophical, spiritual, romantic and others.