Subba’s Serendipitous moments

May 8, 2008

Randy Pausch supplements his last lecture

Filed under: Inspiration,Motivation,Perspective,Stories — Subbaraman Iyer @ 1:15 am
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Randy Pausch about whom I have commented on this blog here and here adds a new dimension of his thinking as Jeffrey Zaslow writes a follow up piece, given that they are collaborating on writing his new book –“The Last Lecture”. And if you have still not watched the video, you have undoubtedly missed something very valuable. At the time of writing this post, it had 2,111,960 views and over 1700 text comments.

Here’s the impact that his last lecture had:

People wrote about how his lecture had inspired them to spend more time with loved ones, to quit pitying themselves, or even to shake off suicidal urges. Terminally ill people said the lecture had persuaded them to embrace their own goodbyes, and as Randy said, “to keep having fun every day I have left, because there’s no other way to play it.”

In the weeks after the talk, people translated the lecture into other languages, and posted their versions online. A university in India held a screening of the video. Hundreds of students attended and told their friends how powerful it was; hundreds more demanded a second screening a week later.

In the U.S., Randy reprised part of his talk on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” ABC News would later name him one of its three “Persons of the Year.” Thousands of bloggers wrote essays celebrating him.

Personally, it had a profound impact on me as I stated in one of my earlier posts. Whenever I feel disappointed or depressed, I go back to his 70 minute lecture and it serves as an elixir.

Well, here are his new wisdom nuggets:

“If I could only give three words of advice, they would be, ‘Tell the truth. If I got three more words, I’d add, ‘All the time.’ “

Advice for his 2 year old daughter: “When men are romantically interested in you, it’s really simple. Just ignore everything they say and only pay attention to what they do.”

“Mistakes are part of the process of parenting,” Randy told her (his spouse). “If I were able to live, we’d be making those mistakes together.”

Randy’s doctor gave him advice: “It’s important to behave as if you’re going to be around awhile.” Randy was already way ahead of him: “Doc, I just bought a new convertible and got a vasectomy. What more do you want from me?”

“I am maintaining my clear-eyed sense of the inevitable. I’m living like I’m dying. But at the same time, I’m very much living like I’m still living.”

“This is my widow. That’s not a grammatical construction you get to use every day…. Pancreatic cancer can be beat, but it will take more courage and funding.”– pointing out to his wife’s photograph as he forcefully spoke about research needed to fight cancer to Congressmen.

“Kids, more than anything else, need to know their parents love them,” he said. “Their parents don’t have to be alive for that to happen.”

And many more.

The complete interview can be found here.

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  1. […] Dafé wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptPancreatic cancer can be beat, but it will take more courage and funding.”– pointing out to his wife’s photograph as he forcefully spoke about research needed to fight cancer to Congressmen. “Kids, more than anything else, … […]

    Pingback by Randy Pausch supplements his last lecture — May 8, 2008 @ 2:07 am | Reply

  2. We shouldn’t just “sleepwalk” our way through life and lose focus on the things that truly matters. Wld also recommend “Chasing Daylight”.

    Comment by Foong — May 8, 2008 @ 9:38 am | Reply

  3. best ever thought i came across.

    listening to him provides me whole new sense of living …. always gets me up ….we are fortunate that he shared this thought in a manner like this … i guess we should be thankful to his 3 kids for whom the original speech was supposed to be.

    thanks for sharing this thought once, again subba.
    you have been a great teacher urself …. i look forward to your blog.

    Comment by Krishna — May 9, 2008 @ 8:17 am | Reply

  4. How inspiring Randy Pausch is! If you liked “The Last Lecture”, another fantastic memoir I just read and highly recommend is “My Stroke of Insight” by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor. Her TEDTalk video ( has been seen as many times as The Last Lecture I think, and Oprah did 4 shows on her book, so there are a lot of similarities. In My Stroke of Insight, there’s a happy ending though. It’s an incredible story! I hear they’re making it into a movie.

    Comment by Anthony — June 3, 2008 @ 12:45 pm | Reply

  5. SOG knives…

    Interesting ideas… I wonder how the Hollywood media would portray this?…

    Trackback by SOG knives — July 19, 2008 @ 10:29 am | Reply

  6. […] Filed under: Uncategorized — Subbaraman Iyer @ 6:45 pm Randy Paush who in the course of one lecture made thousands of lives pause and reflect on their own lives passed away today. Few people have […]

    Pingback by Goodbye Randy! « Subba’s Serendipitous moments — July 26, 2008 @ 7:08 pm | Reply

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