Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Book Review : The Last Lecture

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Author : Randy Pausch (Professor, Carnegie Mellon).

The author diagnosed with terminal illness - Pancrreatic cancer, gives his last lecture to his students, his colleagues and to his family so that they all have some part of him with them when he is no more. The author died in July,2008 but the disease gave him some time to make preparations for that day and for the loved ones when they have to spend their lives without him. He left his wife and three little children behind and while reading the book, I could feel the pain of the author of not being around his children in their growing up years. But before leaving this world, he tried his best to leave his mark on their lives which they can keep feeling as they grow up.
He formulated his thoughts in a lecture which he gave to his students in the Carenegie Mellon hall and named it "Really achieving your childhood dreams", which was video recorded for his children to understand how their father was and he expanded his lecture into a book with some more details. The video recording of this lecture is freely available online.
The author has walked the listeners of his lecture and the readers of his book through his life. He had a fulfilling childhood with loving parents who encouraged the children by being the role models themselves in whatever they wanted to teach the children, letting them listen to their hearts and being with them rather than filling their childhood with material things. In the second part of the book, he has given some tips on living life positively and with satisfaction even when you are facing the last moment of the life so closely.
After reading this book, I felt that he really tried to do full justice with the remaining time he had with his family, his students and with the world at large and he succeeded in his attempt to a great extent. He has tried to make a capsule of his life ( in the form of book and lecture), whatever he learnt in his years on earth and whatever he wanted his children and people to learn from him and that was the next best he could think of doing if he could not control increasing his time being alive.
He has given the wisdom of living life by just not preaching what to do and what not to do but instead by actually quoting his own experiences. So he actually practiced before he told other people to follow those things - telling the truth, working hard, apologising sincerily if a mistake has been made and keep trying even if you come across brick walls while trying to achieve something, not trying to fix things when they do not need one. The one that I liked the most is how to view things in the perspective they deserve and not blowing the issues out of proportion.
Overall it was a very interesting reading and towards the end it is so emtional that the reader feels with the emotions and thoughts of the author as he is about to leave his loved ones behind.

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