The Last Lecture – A Book Review

The Last Lecture: Pausch, Randy, Zaslow, Jeffrey: 8601423086316: Books

Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.  And experience is often the most valuable thing you can offer . . .


Six Months

What would you do if you were told the cancer was back and that you had 3-6 months to live?

I would plan every trip I’ve been wanting to make, visit as much of my extended family as possible, read as many books as I could, and make the most of every minute of every day.  Would I keep working my job?  Maybe.  Would I write down my final thoughts on life and share with my family?  Probably.  Would I take the time to prepare a final lecture to the public on what is important in life?  No.  (I’d write a blog post, of course! :))

Randy Pausch was faced with these questions, and his answer was to write a final lecture to his students, his children, his wife, his friends, his family, and the greater public.  And that, dear reading friends, is what this book is all about.


Your life perspective changes with small occurrences throughout your life, but there are also the big events that change the way you look at the world.  Losing your first tooth, learning to drive, graduating college, getting married, having children, retiring, and yes, discovering that you have cancer.  When you know, even approximately, when your time is coming, life has a greater urgency.  Priorities change.  Family becomes even more important, time with friends is greatly treasured, and those bucket list items sometimes become reality.

Randy takes what I would call a magical look at life.  The way the story was written (and even the lifestyle of Randy Pausch) reminded me of the book Love Does by Bob Goff.  It’s a whimsical and dream-filled view of life.  Randy details some of the most important events in his life and as he does so, we see a desire to live life to the fullest, even before he has cancer.

Autobiographies are fascinating because of the difference in lifestyle between yourself and the author.  I also always enjoy getting to see the relationship between a man and woman develop into marriage and eventually a family.  I was not disappointed in this book!  Randy was definitely an interesting person and it was eye opening to see the enthusiasm he had in living life.  The story of his career was enjoyable to read as well, and that doesn’t even cover his wife and family!

In reading about Randy’s lifestyle, specifically his tendency towards adventure and spontaneity and dream-following, I took stock on my own rather drab life.  At first I leaned towards skepticism and a critical view of his choices.  I lean towards pessimism in basically every area of life; therefore, I find it hard to believe that people can live with such freedom and gusto on a continual basis.  But now as I’ve thought over it, I’m realizing that Randy’s example of peace and enthusiasm in life is something I should be seeing in my own life.

As Believers, we know life here on earth is going to be much harder than we would like it to be.  Life will be uncomfortable and even painful much of the time.  But there are joys to be found in each day, especially as a Believer.  I can live each day in peace because Christ has become my soul’s sure and steadfast anchor.  I can also live in freedom, a freedom far greater than that which Randy Pausch had!  I have been freed by Christ’s sacrifice to live in holiness and love towards God and others.  As for enthusiasm, God has created this earth for us to enjoy and savor all for His glory.  How can I not be excited that I get to live in such a time as this, despite it’s difficulties, persecutions, trials, and sorrows?

Although Randy doesn’t appear to be a Believer, we have some things to learn from his example.  I shared a few things in the last paragraph, but I now want to share the most important: we should live life with the end in mind.  As Randy came closer and closer to the time when he would succumb to cancer, he grew more determined to love his family and live a life to be remembered here on earth.  But what did he have to look forward to?  He had goals in mind: to provide for his wife for after he was gone, to leave his life’s work for his children to learn from.  But what about us?  What are living each day for?  What are we searching after and considering as our goal?  It is heaven and eternal glory with the Father.

To Read or Not to Read

I’m actually somewhat neutral on this book.  I was an interesting book and I enjoyed it.  But I could have gone through life without reading it and not been disappointed.  However, if you are lacking an appreciation for life right now, this may be a book for you to scour.  One thing to consider here is what you should be thinking on as you read a book like this.  As Believers we keep Christ in mind in all things, and this isn’t an exception!  Whether or not you go pick up this book to read, I hope you will take time to look over your life and the direction you are taking.

Until the next book! 🙂

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