10 May 2010

The Last Lecture

My favorite class in college was Change Management. It's a pretty unappealing class title given that most everyone fears change and management sounds mundane. The professor made all the difference. Why? He cared. I think he realized that people needed to be taught how to cope with change, and so teaching this class was his way of making a difference in the world, one Purdue student at a time. He certainly made a difference in my life. (By the way, his name is Al Crispo. Here is his Purdue faculty biography.)

Another professor who has changed the lives of many on a much larger scale was Randy Pausch. I first hear of Randy in my Change Management class. My professor gave us a "movie day," and we were drawn in to Randy's story. Basically Randy lived a pretty great life even through finding out he had terminal cancer. He found a way to tell his story, his life lessons, his wisdom in the face of death to colleagues, students current and past, and even his three young children through his Last Lecture at Carnegie Mellon. I'm not going to try to cover all that he does in the video, but I urge you to take the time to watch it sometime. It will inspire you to shoot for the moon; even if you miss you will land among the stars.

A while after seeing Randy's video I learned that he had made the lecture into book format. I am reading the book now, and it is excellent. It is a handbook for success and happiness, really, two things which make for a pretty nice life.

I am not going to do a book review past this entry as I've already covered what I would like to cover on this lecture and book. Except that I have great admiration for Randy: he was able to take the worst possible news (you're going to die soon) and better the world with that news; that is remarkable grace. Anyway, this book is one of those books I feel every person ought to read.


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