I try to keep my posts on this blog light-hearted and entertaining. Generally speaking that's how I like to roll through life. Every once and awhile though, a thought wanders through my mind that is a little more contemplative and introspective..
A few months ago, I overheard a few of my children mentioning that they had read the book, "The Last Lecture," by Randy Pausch. (Randy Pausch was a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon when he was asked to give a talk entitled "The Last Lecture." Many professors give talks titled "The Last Lecture." They are asked to consider their demise and to ruminate on what matters most to them. Randy Pausch didn't have to imagine it as his last lecture, because he had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer.) Some of my children mentioned that they had even watched the lecture online. Earlier this year I had tuned into Oprah for a few seconds when she was interviewing Randy Pausch. I heard enough in those few moments to be impressed by the man. We were in St. Louis when my husband and I saw his book at Costco and decided to buy it. With the recommendation of the kids and Oprah, I figured we couldn't go wrong. This last week Jill, Mark and I went to southern California for a little vacation. I brought along the book thinking I would have a little time to relax and enjoy it. I really didn't know what to expect as I started the book. I mean, what kind of advice or wisdom does a dying man offer in his last lecture? I guess I expected something profound and insightful -- especially since the book came so highly recommended. I wasn't disappointed. What I didn't expect was the effect this book would have on me.
When I started reading the book I thought it might be filled with bold, innovative ideas. Instead I found "down-home" advice and unembellished wisdom. In this complicated world that we live in, it is so refreshing to read about principles that are profoundly simple and sensible. There's something extraordinary about a person who can look back on his life and feel content that he has realized many of his dreams, created lasting relationships, and learned from his mistakes. That is a blueprint for a successful life in my eyes. It's one that I'd like to duplicate.
I loved the portion of the book that's entitled, "It's About How to Live Your Life." In this part of the book one can find one-page, mini-chapters with headings such as, "Earnest is Better Than Hip,"Don't Complain, Just Work Harder," and "Watch What They Do, Not What They Say." This book is filled with good advice for the college student, but as we all know, truth is truth, and just as applicable for the old as it is for the young.
It wasn't until I was halfway through the book that I was told that the author had passed away a little over a week ago -- which made the reading of the book that much more poignant. I just wanted to pass on my recommendation for a book that I feel is worthy of attention and study. I love a book that prompts me to take stock of my life, inspires me to make "course corrections", and encourages me to do better. This is certainly one of those books.