Book Review: The Last Lecture

The first time I learned about Randy Pausch was from my mom. She asked if I've ever heard of The Last Lecture and I shook my head. She said Pausch was a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, a husband, a father, and diagnosed with terminal cancer. The first thought that went through my head was, "So?" Call me insensitive, but millions of people, with families, in this world are diagnosed with cancer. What makes this guy special? I quickly brushed her off and we moved onto a different topic.

A couple of weeks later, he appeared on Oprah (I was channel surfing). And because if it is on Oprah, it must be good (me being very sarcastic), right? So after months of saying I would read his book, I finally did. It only took me one night and the next morning to finish. It's a small book with short chapters. Each chapter tells a personal story, sometimes amusing, but always with a lesson.

The Last Lecture is filled with common sense advice about how to live your life. Most are cliches and have been said before by others in the past, but I find his personal stories interesting - especially the Disney ones. He's a man with lots of accomplishments (ie. being a Disney Imagineer!) and a positive outlook about life. I admire that.

Having said that, in the book, Pausch comes across as arrogant and self-serving. I understand that the book is intended to be a memoir for his children, and it should remain just that. We are given glimpses of his memories and life experiences, and, while fascinating at times, I found this autobiography did little to inspire me. Pausch draws life lessons from his own life experiences, but he does so in a way that seems to expound on his own greatness. For me, being humble is everything.

Skip the book. Watch the lecture if you are really that curious. I will unlikely watch/read anything Oprah-recommended again.


  1. Eddy's mom told me abt him too, and I also saw him on the evening news. I flipped thru the book at Page One in 101 and remembered his chapter on a bad apologie is worse than no apologie, which i agree. I'll have to go bk and read the rest.

  2. Good job Sug, this guy is just trying to make a buck. He should've just kept it personal instead. Then again, you can't blame a guy for trying to make some extra dough before he croaks. After all, hardly any of us is out there working for free, right?


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