Professor Randy Pausch's now-famous "last lecture" continues in his new book, co-written with Jeffrey Zaslow. He wrote The Last Lecture on the phone with Zaslow while on fifty-three long bike rides to keep up his strength.
In the book’s introduction, Pausch writes “I knew what I was doing that day. Under the ruse of doing an academic lecture, I was trying to put myself in a bottle that would one day wash up on the beach for my children.”
He goes on to say that the book was his way of continuing his lecture “about the joy of life, about how I appreciated life, even with so little time left. I talked about honesty, integrity, gratitude, and other things I hold dear. And I tried very hard not to be boring.”
Pausch’s book offers sixty-one short essays which he divides into five sections: The Last Lecture, Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams, Adventures ... And Lessons Learned, Enabling the Dreams of Others, It’s About How to Live Your Life, and Final Remarks.
He writes about living, not about dying. The book is about love of family, mentoring young people, overcoming obstacles, seizing every moment, and the importance of having life dreams.
The wisdom of Randy Pausch is exemplified best in his words: “As I see it, a parent’s job is to encourage kids to develop joy for life and a great urge to follow their own dreams. The best we can do is to help them develop a personal set of tools for the task.”
“So my dreams for my kids are very exact: I want them to find their path to fulfillment. And given that I won’t be there, I want to make this clear: Kids, don’t try to figure out what I wanted you to become. I want you to become what you want to become.”
I hope The Last Lecture will inspire young people (and older adults) to begin considering their personal life legacies at an earlier age. It may bring about important changes in how they choose to live their lives. And have a positive impact on future generations of people who inhabit this beautiful world.