Sunday, July 27, 2008

One day last April

I happened upon a small hardcover book of only 206 pages. I hadn't heard of it, but assumed by the massive display in my local Chapter's store that it was something big. I bought myself a copy of "The Last Lecture" by Randy Pausch.

Who was this guy?

Randy Pausch was a professor of Computer Science, Human Computer Interaction, and Design at Carnegie Mellon University. From 1988-1997, he taught at the University of Virginia. He is an award winning teacher and researcher, and has worked with Adobe, Google, Electronic Arts (EA), and Walt Disney Imagineering, and creator of the Alice project. He lived in Chesapeake, Virginia and is survived by his wife and three children.

It took me almost no time to inhale all 206 pages. News junkie that I am, I realized quickly that this was the guy that Charles Gibson was talking about in September of 2007 and Oprah had on her show soon after. This was the guy who gave the talk, as if it were his last chance, to impart wisdom to his audience; all that he had learned that he felt important in life, only to realize that he was dying of pancreatic cancer. It made the lecture even more poignant. This was "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams" (the actual lecture title) in book form. I had seen clips on TV and saw the complete talk on YouTube. Oh, how I had wanted a transcript.

Anyone who knows me knew that in that big bag I drag around with me from house to car, to school, to rink, to ball diamond, you could find that book the entire month of April, indeed, it had a home in my bag until I had to reorganize it for our recent family trip to Cape Cod.

His message is poignant, genuine, hopeful, witty, realistic, upbeat, kind and encouraging.

At this point, his death, July 25th of pancreatic cancer, has been all over the news. I've taken my well worn copy back off the shelf and have decided to read it again, though most lessons are still quite fresh in my mind. My own little tribute to his life in a corny kind of way.

If you have not picked up a copy, I encourage you to do so. If in his death his thoughts touch more people, then that cannot possibly be bad, or morbid, to treat yourself to a copy.

To me, the purchase of this small volume is one of very few no brainers.


Cyn M said...

Funny! I have his last lecture on my bookmarked list. I have yet to purchase this book, but come payday, I will have a copy of it!

Well written tribute Lee....I really enjoy your words!

KarenSue said...

I've been reading this also, what an excellent book.