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review 2017-10-18 05:53
The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
The Last Lecture - Randy Pausch,Jeffrey Zaslow

A lot of professors give talks titled "The Last Lecture." Professors are asked to consider their demise and to ruminate on what matters most to them. And while they speak, audiences can't help but mull the same question: What wisdom would we impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance? If we had to vanish tomorrow, what would we want as our legacy? When Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, was asked to give such a lecture, he didn't have to imagine it as his last, since he had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. But the lecture he gave--"Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams"--wasn't about dying. It was about the importance of overcoming obstacles, of enabling the dreams of others, of seizing every moment (because "time is all you have...and you may find one day that you have less than you think"). It was a summation of everything Randy had come to believe. It was about living.

In this book, Randy Pausch has combined the humor, inspiration and intelligence that made his lecture such a phenomenon and given it an indelible form. 







"The Last Lecture" idea is one that a number of universities host in which a highly regarded professor is asked to imagine they were just given the news that they were to die soon, then tailor a unique lecture incorporating what advice they would offer or life lessons they've experienced that they'd want to share with others.  Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University as well as a professor of technology at the University of Virginia, was given such a task but in his case he truly was nearing death at the time he offered his lecture. Shortly before giving this lecture, Pausch had been diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer, his doctors notifying him he had mere months of life left. But Pausch points out early on that once he agreed to do the lecture, he didn't want the focus to be on his impending death but instead on how he managed to fulfill his dreams with the time he had been given. 


In addition to being a college professor, Pausch was also an award-winning researcher for tech companies such as Adobe, Google, EA (Electronic Arts gaming company) and Walt Disney Imagineers, so he had plenty of life experience to pull from to craft his message! Pausch came from a family that strongly endorsed educating yourself -- go to the library, crack open some reference books, find the answers yourself, go for walks and think on a subject, that sort of thing. His parents also taught him to be tenacious. He writes of first getting established in his technology career during the 1960s-70s and being reminded of Captain Kirk's line in Star Trek: Wrath of Khan"I don't believe in a no-win situation." Pausch's parents' lessons on building a tenacious spirit served him well, spurring him in later years to pay it forward, in a way, when he imparts his own version of the idea to his students: "Brick walls are there not to keep you out, but to teach you how badly you want to get to the other side."


The most formidable wall I ever came upon in my life was just five feet, six inches tall, and was absolutely beautiful. But it reduced me to tears, made me reevaluate my entire life and led me to call my father, in a helpless fit, to ask for guidance on how to scale it. 


That brick wall was Jai.


~ Randy Pausch on first meeting his wife, Jai.


Pausch tells of an early experience of trying to get a job with Disney. He desperately wanted a spot on the Imagineers team and had to spend years using that well-worn tenacity before he even got an interview with anyone. As he puts it, they regularly sent him "the nicest go to hell letters ever ". He eventually went on to take a job as a professor at the University of Virginia because, y'know, dreams are great but bills still gotta stay paid! In 1995, while he was working at this university, Pausch heard news of a team of Imagineers struggling with a project to create low-cost virtual reality technology for Disney's Aladdin park attraction. Once again, Pausch found himself regularly contacting Disney offering his knowledge. FINALLY, his efforts payed off and he was patched through to one of the leaders of the Aladdin project. But his work wasn't done. It took Pausch more schmoozing, getting the guy to agree to meet with him over lunch and hear his ideas, before Pausch truly got a foot in the door. 


Pausch also admits that it's beneficial to have at least a few "tough love" friends in your life who will give it to you straight, even if the truth hurts. He tells of some of his close friends who would sit him down and tell him at various times when he was being arrogant, brash, tactless, always correcting people yet being stubborn and contrary if he himself was ever corrected. Essentially, they would let him know whenever his sometimes hypocritical nature was driving people away. So Pausch recommends that its important for flaws to be "social rather than moral". 


The Last Lecture, as presented here, is a book translation of Pausch's original speech at his college. Pausch's ideas were molded into book form with the help of Wall Street Journal columnist Jeffrey Zaslow, who was present in the audience at the original lecture. Pausch's words got such rave reviews, people immediately clamored for a book form they could gift to friends, family, co-workers, etc. 


This book has gotten a flood of rave reviews pretty much since its day of publication. Pausch does offer some nice morsels of inspiration such as:


  • *Give yourself permission to dream
  • * Stay humble. "No job is beneath you."
  • * "Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you want."


All nice, warm sentiments but IMO Pausch didn't always consume what he was selling others. There were a number of passages here that came off pretty self-congratulatory. To some extent, one can cut the guy some slack, he was nearing death. Still, in my mind, even death shouldn't allow one to go out on too smug a note. There were some things about this guy that just REALLY bugged me. Choosing to do a speaking engagement over being at home for your wife's birthday when you both know you won't get another chance to celebrate? Nope, sorry, not cool. And the whole ranking system he did with his students where everyone was publicly given a rating from worst to greatest and him claiming he was "doing them a favor." Whaa?! I know this book is well loved by many but there were just some things here that screamed "jerk" to me. 

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review 2016-11-30 09:48
Dem tod die Hand reichen
Dem Tod die Hand reichen - Terry Pratchett,Gerald Jung

Zum Buch

Es ist ein Buch welches nicht persönlicher sein kann. Terry Pratchett war ein wirklich toller Autor, wer seine Scheibenweltromane kennt, weiss wovon ich rede. Seine Fantasygeschichten sind einfach fantastisch, voller Humor und wirklich intelligent. Dann vor über 7 Jahren, wurde bei ihm eine seltene Form der Alzheimererkrankung festgestellt. Er outet sich und sagte das er noch so lange Scheiben würde wie es eben ginge, was er auch getan hat.

Kurz nach dem die Diagnose Terry's Leben auf den Kopf gestellt hat, trat die Familie Dimbleby im Herbst 2009 an ihn heran und fragten ihn ob er nicht an der jährlichen Richard Dimbleby Lecture einen Vortrag halten wollen würde. Und nach kurzer Überlegung sagte er zu, denn er hatte viel zu sagen. So entstand dann dieser Vortrag "Shaking Hands with Death".

Der Anfang...

Im Herbst 2009 frage die Familie Dimbleby bei Terry an, ob er die alljährliche Richard Dimbleby Lecture halten wolle, eine im Fernsehen übertragene Rede im Rahmen einer Vortragsreihe, die von er Familie vier Jahrzehnte zuvor zur Erinnerung an den Journalisten Richard Dimbleby ins Leben gerufen worden war. 

Meine Gedanken zum Buch

Dieses Büchlein ist nicht nur optisch ein wirklich tolles Buch. Aber das Cover gefällt mir wirklich gut! So schlicht, und doch mit hohem Erkennungwert. Denn der Hut war das Erkennungszeichen von Terry Pratchett. Auch der Titel find ich schön gewählt auch wenn es im Originalen etwas lockerer daher kommt. Was etwas besser zu ihm gepasst hätte, meiner Meinung nach.

Da dieses ein Rede, ein Vortrag ist, ist der schreibst natürlich ganz anders als den wir sonst in den Büchern vorfinden. Schliesslich kann man das ja nicht vergleichen. Aber es lässt sich gewohnt leicht lesen. Terry wurde in diesem Vortrag sehr persönlich. Er erzählt uns ehrlich wie es ihm geht. Nicht nur grade während der Vortrags, sondern im Alltag. Was die Diagnose mit ihm, seiner Familien und Bekannten angestellt hat.  Das er sich alleine gelassen fühlt mit der Krankheit, das er aber gleichzeitig Zuspruch bekommen hat von Menschen die er nicht kannte. Durch Briefe, die eingetroffen sind nachdem er bekannt machte das er Alzheimer hat. Er verrät und aber auch etwas über seine Wünsche, und ein Wunsch ist ihm sehr ans Herz gewachsen. Das selbstbestimmte sterben. Er machte sich die letzten Jahre für "Sterbehilfe" stark. Wie wichtig diese Selbstbestimmung doch ist und das man dafür kämpfen muss um das Tabu aufzuheben.

Rob Wilkins, welcher das Vorwort im Buch geschrieben hat, verrät uns das Terry erst bedenken hatte so offen und ehrlich über das Thema zu schreiben, aber wie sich am Schluss herausstellte, war diese Angst völlig unbegründet, denn der Vortrag kam mehr als nur gut bei den Zuschauern an. Wilkins erzählt uns auch das Terry angst hatte den Vortrag nicht selber abhalten zu können, denn er hatte schon ziemlich Mühe mit der Wortfindung und so haben sie sich entschieden den Vortrag vortragen zu lassen, schliesslich sind die Gedanken und Worte zum Thema zu wichtig. Und der Zufall wollte es so das Tony Robinson, ein befreundeter Schauspieler, an diesem Tag in London eintraf und man ihn bat den Vortrag zu sprechen.

Wir sollten uns um ein gutes und erfülltes Leben bemühen, und am Ende dieses Lebens, in unserer vertrauten Umgebung und im Kreis unserer Lieben, um ein Tod, für den es sich zu sterben lohnt.
Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett hat die letzten Jahre viele Interviews gegeben, in Zeitschriften, am TV, aber ich denke, dieses war ihm besonders wichtig. Es ist authentisch und lässt tief in seine Seele blicken. Ich kann dieses Büchlein wirklich jedem ans Herz legen, nicht nur den Fan's von ihm. Denn das Thema und das Tabu rum diese Krankheit und vor allem um die "Sterbehilfe" sollten in der Gesellschaft viel intensiver ausgetragen werden. Die Worte regen zum nachdenken an. Vielleicht schafft es Terry mit seinem Vortrag das manch einer sogar umdenkt.
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review 2016-03-17 00:00
Great Course Lecture: Big Questions of Philosophy
Great Course Lecture: Big Questions of P... Great Course Lecture: Big Questions of Philosophy - David K. Johnson I get irritated by people who think philosophy is a waste of time. A course like this one shows how profitable it is to learn critical reasoning and why it is so important for understanding our place in the universe. Most of the tough questions asked in the series don't have a cookie cutter answer, but all of them provided a method for approaching the question more profitably.

For example, on the nature of identity, what does it mean to be the same person over time ("ship of Theseus" question), he will show that it's probably more profitable to realize that the categories and labels that we put on the concepts about self identity are convenient fictions, and there just might not be a way to answer the question properly. He'll say perhaps as in the Dr. Who TV show that an episode from season one is different from an episode from last season, but they are connected because they are part of the same series. We aren't episodes, but are the series of events that make us up.

I loved the beginning lectures on the nature of knowledge and how absolute knowledge is best thought of as justified true believe. That series of lectures on knowledge and science (and there were several) helps put "philosophy of science" in perspective for me.

One note, I had listened to his course on Metaphysics. Get this one instead, because most of the lectures from that course seemed to also be on this one, and you get a lot more lectures in this course including most of the ones on the other one thus giving you better value for your money.

[I'll give a warning, if you're certain in your belief systems and have no doubt in your faith based things, this lecture might be a disconnect for you because he'll pretty much state that the soul makes no sense, God might not exist, free will is not what you think it is, and so on. As for me, I love learning things that challenge my world view and can recommend this lecture series for anyone who feels the same].
Trumpus delenda est.
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review 2016-01-14 00:00
The Last Lecture
The Last Lecture - Randy Pausch,Jeffrey Zaslow A good, inspirational read on achieving your dreams. I liked the way he broke all his dreams into more manageable chunks. I especially like his work on the programming language, Alice.
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review 2015-09-24 14:19
To leave a manual of guidance to your little kids
The Last Lecture - Randy Pausch,Jeffrey Zaslow

This book grew out of the desperation of a computer professor, when he discovered that he had terminal cancer, and he wanted absolutely to leave a manual of guidance for his little kids. It's this fact about this book that drew me, because, in terms of parental guidance, I haven't been one of the lucky ones.

I was surprised by the vividness and vivacity of the writing. The pages kept turning as if by themselves, and I was disappointed that the book ran out so soon.

Authentic and practical wisdoms that come not from the brain but from the heart of a devoted father. How I wish I had one book like this when I was growing up. A perfect example of how a man on death trip becomes immortal through the keenness of his soul.

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