On September 18, 2007, computer science professor Randy Pausch stepped in front of an audience of 400 people at Carnegie Mellon University to deliver a last lecture called “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams.” With slides of his CT scans beaming out to the audience, Randy told his audience about the cancer that is devouring his pancreas and that will claim his life in a matter of months. On the stage that day, Randy was youthful, energetic, handsome, often cheerfully, darkly funny. He seemed invincible. But this was a brief moment, as he himself acknowledged. Randy’s lecture has become a phenomenon, as has the book he wrote based on the same principles, celebrating the dreams we all strive to make realities. Sadly, Randy lost his battle to pancreatic cancer on July 25th, 2008, but his legacy will continue to inspire us all, for generations to come.
I was first introduced to this story on Oprah. Randy struck me as someone who was humble, but had an intense desire to leave a mark on this planet. I purchased this book as a graduation gift in May of 2008 and got a copy for myself as well. Ironically, I started reading it the day he passed away. It took me one tear filled evening to finish. My book is filled with notes and highlights. The best word I can use to describe this book is perspective. Whenever mine gets small, I grab it, read a few lines or a chapter, and remember how blessed I am.