Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Last Lecture

I have been reading again! I LOVE books. I usually read in the evenings after the girls go to bed - especially since Tom is working late on the beach now and NOTHING is on TV.

I have to do a special entry about my latest book I just finished. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. If you haven't heard of him yet, you may have been living under a rock recently.

He's a 47 year old computer science professor from Carnegie Mellon who was given the grave diagnosis of pancreatic cancer with 3-6 months left of good health last September. He was asked to give one final lecture to his college students which became well publicized beforehand leading to an audience of 400. In the audience was a journalist who documented the lecture. It was then spread around the Internet and many people took notice including Oprah. Suddenly he became famous for his speech about realizing your childhood dreams.

But this was not a lecture about learning about dying then going out and living out all your dreams. This was a lecture about living your dreams every single day whether you are dying or not. One thing he said that struck me was that on your death bed you do not think about the things you did not do well, you think about all the things you wanted to do but never did. He talks about finding your passion and living it as he did. He accomplished almost all of his childhood dreams before he ever became sick and he spreads the word on how to do it.

Many of his quotes came from inspirational people in his life. Every time someone gave him advice about something throughout his life he listened and remembered it. Starting with his tough football coach in elementary school all the way through colleagues at the university, everyone he met helped shape who he became.

Some points from the book that stick with me more than others:

"Manage time like money" - I've always thought this was important. I learned this one from Tom. He is big on the time management/budget issue. What Randy says about it - don't waste your time on the insignificant stuff - it doesn't matter if you polish the underside of the banister (does that count for vacuuming under the furniture?? Cause if so, I'm all set.)

"You can always change your plan but only if you have one - Make To Do Lists" - Ok, I don't do this one. Tom does. Tom insists on lists. Lists for what to accomplish in a day, lists for what to accomplish this year, lists for what to buy. I don't take the time to make the lists (see above about time like money), but I do catalog the lists in my head. I know what I need to accomplish. I would probably do better at accomplishing the tasks if I did write them down. What Randy says about it - it's good to break tasks up one step at a time.

"Brick walls are there to show us how badly we want something" - My personal take - I know what I want badly and I know what the insurmountable odds are of achieving, it. Seems like a really TALL brick wall, but I will persevere!

"When you're screwing up and no one is telling you anymore, that means they have given up on you."

"Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted."- Wow. How true. I have a lot of experience!

"The best shortcut is the long way, which is basically two words: Work Hard"

"When we are connected to others we become better people."

"Don't try to compensate your lack of parenting with material things - they can actually do harm in instilling a child's values." (So I don't need to buy the Wii? Whew!)

Those are just a few of the values that struck me. There are many more in the book as well as many heartfelt moments and tears to be shed. He is leaving behind a wife and 3 young children. Everyone needs to either read his book or visit his website - http://www.thelastlecture.com/index.htmand watch the lecture. I promise you that you will get something out of it.

1 comment:

Amy Young said...

I saw his Diane Sawyer special and bought the book immediately. I have yet to read it, but it's coming up soon in my lineup!
Thanks for all your book updates! Between your reviews and People magazine's suggestions, I have a massive ongoing list of books to get through!