The Last Lecture — Should I Read the Book or Watch the Video?

Perhaps, you’ve heard about The Last Lecture given by Randy Pausch at Carnegie Mellon. The basic concept, was that there was a tradition at Carnegie Mellon of giving a lecture, that would be what you would say, if it was the last lecture you could give.

The catch was, with Randy Pausch, diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer which had not responded to treatment, this actually was the last lecture he would give. He knew it and his audience knew it.

To see what he did, watch the video below:

Now, having watched that video, I wondered, should I bother reading the book? I hadn’t planned to. But one day, I happened to find myself with a drive and had a copy of the unabridged version of the Last Lecture on CD. In a hurry to get going, I grabbed it and popped it into the car’s CD player.

Am I glad I did. Having seen Randy Pausch deliver the last lecture, it was amazing to listen to the back story. How Pausch had considered not giving the lecture, that his wife really wanted him to focus on spending time with his family instead. Only in the book, can you learn about some last minute changes to the lecture.

So if you want to know if you should read the book, or just watch the above video, my answer is absolutely do both. The lecture itself was Randy Pausch’s professional format. It can only truly be appreciated by viewing, seeing Pausch’s expression, hearing the audience’s laughter. But there is also much to be gained from the book, that can’t be learned from the video. As Pausch said, he talked for 75 minutes. There is a limit to what you can cram into 75 minutes.

And if you are like me, you may find yourself watching the video, or portions of it again, once you read the book and know the full story.

In the book, The Last Lecture, Randy Pausch comments that he always liked the last scene in The Natural, where an aging, bloodied ballplayer hits one out of the park. He says that he hoped the Last Lecture could be that for him. He succeeded beyond his wildest dreams.

And to his wife, Jay, thank you for listening to Randy’s request and allowing him to give this gift to everyone else.

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1 Comment

  • At 2009.02.27 03:41, video said:

    Good video thank you :)

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