The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch.
Tim leant me this book to read and I'd also heard about it from quite a few friends. Perfectly justified in their recommendation.
I absolutly loved this book.
Randy Pausch was a professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University in the U.S. He specialised in virtual reality. He was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer and died in July of this year. After hearing his diagnosis he decided to give a 'last lecture' at the university, which he both attended and was a professor at, called "Really achieving your childhood dreams". The book accompanies his lecture (which you can find on youtube here). Both the lecture and the book, instead of focusing on his impending health diagnosis, are more about how he lived his life, what inspired him and how he inspired others. He seemed to genuinely be an all round 'nice bloke'. He had 3 small children and his lecture and book were also aimed at showing this children what kind of person their father was and contains advice that he wished he would be able to of given in person.
Some of my favourite bits:
- When there's an elephant in the room introduce him.
- Brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to show how badly we want something.Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want something badly enough. They are there to keep out the other people.
- If there’s anything I want to do so badly, I should have already done it.
- We can’t change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand. If I’m not as depressed as you think I should be, I’m sorry to disappoint you.
- Work and play well together.
- Tell The Truth. All The Time. No one is pure evil.
- Be willing to apologize. Proper apologies have three parts: 1) What I did was wrong. 2) I’m sorry that I hurt you. 3) How do I make it better? It’s the third part that people tend to forget…. Apologize when you screw up and focus on other people, not on yourself.
- Show gratitude. Gratitude is a simple but powerful thing.
- Find the best in everybody…. Wait long enough, and people will surprise and impress you. It might even take years, but people will show you their good side. Just keep waiting.
- If you want to achieve your dreams, you better learn to work and play well with others…[you have] to live with integrity.
- Collaboration, treating others with respect.
- Never found anger a way to make things better.
- Loyalty is a two-way street.
- Get a feedback loop and listen to it. Your feedback loop can be this dorky spreadsheet thing I did, or it can just be one great man who tells you what you need to hear. The hard part is the listening to it.
- Persistence and hard work.
- When you are doing something badly and no one’s bothering to tell you anymore, that’s a very bad place to be. Your critics are the ones still telling you they love you and care.
- Don’t bail: the best gold is at the bottom of barrels of crap
- Don’t complain, Just work harder. The latter is likely to be more effective.
- Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted…. I probably got more from that dream [of playing professional football] and not accomplishing it than I got from any of the ones that I did accomplish.
- Fun, wonder, living your dream.
- Decide if you’re a Tigger or an Eyeore. I’m a Tigger.
- It is not about achieving your dreams but living your life. If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself, the dreams will come to you.
- Never underestimate the importance of having fun. I’m dying and I’m having fun. And I’m going to keep having fun every day, because there’s no other way to play it….Having fun for me is like a fish talking about the importance of water. I don’t know how it is like not to have fun…
- Never lose the child-like wonder. It’s just too important. It’s what drives us. Help others.
- Better to fail spectacularly than do something mediocre. (Randy Pausch gave out a First Penguin award each year when he was teaching to the biggest failure in trying something big and new because he thought this should be celebrated. First Penguins are the ones that risk that the water might be too cold.)
- Be good at something; it makes you valuable…. Have something to bring to the table, because that will make you more welcome.
- I’ve never understood pity and self-pity as an emotion. We have a finite amount of time. Whether short or long, it doesn’t matter. Life is to be lived.
- To be cliché, death is a part of life and it’s going to happen to all of us. I have the blessing of getting a little bit of advance notice and I am able to optimize my use of time down the home stretch.