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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Review: The Last Lecture

I first saw The Last Lecture 4 years ago, and it touched and moved me in a way that no TedTalk ever did. It's nice to know that in an age of short-attention spans, the traditional lecture is still an art form that can be appreciated by many. If you haven't seen the video, you should do so now (this blog post can wait). It's highly recommended and well worth an hour of your time.
I didn't read the book The Last Lecture because I felt that the lecture had already been done so well that the book might not have anything to add. Yesterday (and it seems today), Amazon had a sale on the book at $1.99, so I picked it up hoping that 4 years would be enough distance that I could read the book and not find it to be a repeated experience.

To my delight, the book's not really a reprise of the lecture. The lecture's got some of the same information, but the book takes us through Professor Pausch's life, including his courtship with his wife, which he (quite rightly) left out of the lecture. What does come through is Pausch's love of life and willingness to grasp it for all that it's worth:
I don't know how not to have fun. I'm dying and I'm having fun. And I'm going to keep having fun every day I have left. Because there's no other way to play it.
Too often in our lives we have people telling us that we should buckle down to do serious work, or that the things that we really want to do is not as important as the things people are willing to pay us money to do. With his authority as a man dying of cancer and a professor of computer science at a preeminent university, Professor Pausch gives us (and just as importantly, his children) this precious gift.

There are no empty words in this book, and very little repetition. It can be finished in a couple of hours, and was very much worth my time reading. Highly Recommended.

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