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The Last Lecture

Relevant Links:
[YouTube] Randy Pausch Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams
Amazon Link
Wikipedia Article

This is one of my favorite books, and it has greatly shaped my career as a computer scientist. I strongly encourage you to read the book, especially college males who are trying to figure out what to do with their lives and what kind of men they want to become. The YouTube presentation is also a great way to spend 76 minutes, but there's a lot more extra stuff in the book. Many thanks to my mom and dad for giving it to me for Christmas back in 2007 (and for letting me paint my room purple in 7th grade).

On September 18, 2007, computer science professor Randy Pausch stepped in front of an audience of 400 people at Carnegie Mellon University to deliver a last lecture called “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams.” With slides of his CT scans beaming out to the audience, Randy told his audience about the cancer thatis devouring his pancreas and that will claim his life in a matter of months. On the stage that day, Randy was youthful, energetic, handsome, often cheerfully, darkly funny. He seemed invincible. But this was a brief moment, as he himself acknowledged.

Randy’s lecture has become a phenomenon, as has the book he wrote based on the same principles, celebrating the dreams we all strive to make realities. Sadly, Randy lost his battle to pancreatic cancer on July 25th, 2008, but his legacy will continue to inspire us all, for generations to come.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:

People are more important than things.
- Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

Luck is where preparation meets opportunity.
- Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

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.
- Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

If you wait long enough, people will surprise and impress you.
- Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted.
- Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

Showing gratitude is one of the simplest yet most powerful things humans can do for each other. Send hand written thank you notes.
- Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

Proper apologies have three parts:
1. What I did was wrong.
2. I feel badly that I hurt you.
3. How do I make this better?
- Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

If you can find your footing between two cultures, sometimes you can have the best of both worlds.
- Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

Sometimes, all you have to do is ask.
- Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

So today's talk was about achieving childhood dreams, but did you figure out the head fake? It's not about how to achieve your dreams. It's about how to lead your life. If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself. The dreams will come to you.
- Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later.
- Fred Brooks Jr. (Brooks Law)