How would you deal with the news that you have 3-6 months to live? That’s the news that Mr. Pausch got. With equal part tears and determination, he dealt with it in a very unique manner: he gave a lecture and wrote a book on that lecture.
Mr. Pausch was a Computer Science Professor. His was a very analytical mind and so he went about preparing for his death very methodically. He moved his wife and 3 young children down to Virgina so that they would be near family to better get support after he’s gone. Then he set about putting together his last lecture. In the lecture he tells people not exactly how to live, but how he lived and if they wanted to follow his example, they were sure to find happiness.
Cliches are cliche for a reason. So his hackneyed message of “follow your dreams” rings true and, because its coming from a dying man, doesn’t seem all that trite. For example, he always wanted to work for Disney and even though he was confronted by what he calls a brick wall of opposition, he made it happen. He took a sabbatical from his teaching and worked with them for a short time and in the process lived his dream. Then there was his dream of playing in the NFL…one that didn’t happen. He was, however, able to make the best of the situation. His coach was one of those stereotypical tough love coaches and that type of teaching method rubbed off on Randy. That leads me to my biggest takeaway from this book. I don’t particularly like the man.
He sees everything as black and white, his obstinate and know-it-all attitude is one that rubs me the wrong way. I see very little in this world as clear cut. Randy admits these faults as well. He knows he comes across as arrogant at times and is tough to get along with. This acknowledgement makes it easier for me to reconcile my final thought: the lessons he conveys are in no way diminished by the fact that I wouldn’t be able to get along with him in person. He was truly a remarkable man and this was a remarkable book