The last lecture by Randy Pausch

This book is part of my new years resolution . It is second in the series.

It is not a fiction novel. It is as true as it gets out there. It will change the way you look at life and if it will not bring out such radical changes in your life, it will at least make you re-think of what you have been doing with your life until now. And if this does not bring any of these things to your mind, I do not know what will.

It is the story of Randy Pausch who was a professor at Carnegie Mellon University. He was also many other things. In 2006, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. And he died in 2008. But he did gave a ‘last lecture’ at Carnegie Mellon. And boy that lecture was something. And he said that this lecture was the last fake-head he gave. Go ahead and find out what the term fake-head means by reading the book. I am not going to spoil it for you. This lecture was not meant for the audience inside the auditorium but for his three kids who were so young at that time to really understand or remember any of this. So, he wanted to leave something for his kids to look upto to find out about their dad. And he also said if he was a painter, he would paint something for them. And since he was a professor, so he lectured for them.

Now I am not going to give out any more details about the book. But I am going to tell you my favourite lines from the book or stories from it as this book is full of amazing quotes and awesome stories. Here goes:


Brick walls are there for a reason, it gives us a chance to show how badly we want something

Brick walls here are the obstacles you face when you want to achieve something. And if you really want to do it, you will find a way to do it.


Time is all you have. And one day you may find that you have less than what you think.

This one he learnt the hard way when he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was given a 3-6 months of healthy life. And I have read it time and time again, people who suffer from such diseases or somebody who have near death experience, they all have same thing to see. That life is precious, do not cry about petty things in life and do what you gotta do.


Experience is what you get when you do not get what you wanted

This is a great advice. We all get disappointed when we fail at something after we have worked so hard to achieve it. But I will remember this one that I have just found out a way to fail at something and I am not going to repeat the same mistakes.
I read this in an article about entrepreneurs. It said that companies are more inclined to hire people who have failed at something, specially at the level of CEO’s as they are lot less likely to fail than someone who has never tasted failure.

4. On when people complain about government or an organisation spend billions of dollars to achieve something like trying to land people on the moon. When that money could be used to serve the hungry and try and solve the hunger problems in the country and the world.

When you use money to fight poverty, you are working at the margins. But when you’re spending billions to put people on the moon, you are inspiring all of us.

True indeed ..!!


Complaining does not work as a strategy. We all have finite time and energy. Any time we spend whining is unlikely to help us achieve our goals. And it won’t make us happier.

6. And a story for the last.
Randy said this is a lesson for the folks at management.
When Randy and his sister( who is 2 years older than him ) were kids. They went to Disneyland. And they went to one of the gift shops. And they bought a salt and pepper bottle from the shop. And when they went out of the shop, it fell from their hands, hit the ground and broke.
A man who saw this happen told Randy to go back to the shop and ask them to replace the gift. And Randy said why would they do that. It is not their fault. I broke it. I should have been careful.
Then the man said, there is no harm in trying. So the kids went back to the shop and told the guys working at the shop about how exactly it broke. And the shopkeeper replaced the broken one with a new one and did not ask them to pay for it again. And he also said that it was probably our mistake that we did not package it good enough to not brake when it accidentally fells on the ground. So the kids were obviously happy. They went back home and told this story to their parents and they always remembered this little gesture from the shopkeeper. And over the years it was a tradition sort of to visit Disneyland and Randy’s parents spent more than 100,000$ in tickets and souvenirs. So all in all it was good investment of $10 by the Disney shopkeeper which evaluated to $100K over the years.

I think this is crucial to every one as it not only tells us how we should treat our customers, but also tells us how we should treat each other. How there should be humility, forgiveness and willingness to help each other and it is only then we can help to make this world a better place to live.

I hope you will read the book and get inspired. And this is the youtube link to the video of the last lecture by Randy Pausch.


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