The Last Lecture (Lessons in living) by Randy Pausch – Book Review

When the book was first released in 2008, I noticed it in bookstores. Somehow, I had no interest in reading it. It was released in hardcover and was expensive for my budget. I saw this book again recently and now it is paperback edition (published in 2012). This time, I bought it and finished reading it today.

It was not a dread or morbid reading about Professor Randy Pausch dying of pancreatic cancer delivering his last lecture. It was contrary to my initial reaction to such a book. It is not about dying but it is about living. Professor did this to leave a legacy, a memoir for his three young children. Through the lectures, he presented his life story from a young age to marriage, parenthood and journey coping with cancer.

Throughout the book, it was optimism and positivity. There was not a “why me” lamentation. He was a tenured Professor and was doing well in his field of expertise and it was with pity that the academic community lost a great lecturer/mentor.

He was born in 1960 and belonged to baby boomer generation who believed in hard work and tenacity. He passed away in 2008 after completing this book. Read this book for some great tips of living. This was all covered in Section V of the book.

I did not feel at all sad until the last section titled “Final Remarks”, Chapter 60. Prof Randy asked his wife Jai to come on stage as he was delivering his lecture. A surprise was in store for Jai, a wife who was his caregiver and a mother of three young children who was to loose his husband. A birthday cake was brought on to celebrate Jai’s birthday, though a day belatedly. The song of happy birthday sang by lecture attendees and the embrace of Randy and Jai on stage was just too much for me not to feel anything.

Dr Randy Pausch, a brilliant Professor of Computer Science, spared us details of struggle in his dying days. He left us with pleasant memory of him and similarly for his children to remember him by.

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