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Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Last Lecture

It's a thin book, definitely a fast read. That is, until you finish it and realize, "I need to read that again". Here and here are links to video of/with Randy Pausch for those interested.

It's a story that you know the ending of. Most folks in this connected age have seen, or read, or heard about it. Randy Pausch is invited to give an annual lecture at Carnegie Mellon "The Last Lecture", a lecture series with the premise of "if you knew you were going to die, what is important enough that you need to share it now?" The kicker is, Randy Pausch has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and given 6 months to live. Randy knows he is going to die, and die very soon.

That he's leaving behind a wife and 3 very young children is enough to bring tears to your eyes, even if you don't read the book. But then, reading the book you come to realize what a vibrant spirit he was. I grieve that his children, and the world, will not have more time to learn from him.

More than the poignancy of this book, I will remember the lessons in it. The "head fake", the "Dutch uncle", "be a communitarian" and so many others, are lessons I can use as a parent, teacher, and coach. His philosophy of hard work, persistence, and optimism is one that makes any situation, even the worst situation, the best it can be.

He talks about the Tiggers and the Eeyores of the world. He's a Tigger, and I'm glad to have come to know him just a bit through this this book. He's not the only Tigger in the world, just one who got famous for a bit. To all the Tiggers I've been blessed to know, thanks for being you!

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