The Last Lecture

“Take Time Out. It’s not a real vacation if you’re reading email or calling in for messages.”

Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

While reading the book, there was only one thought in my mind. How the hell did a programming nerd (yeah, that he was) have such an interesting way of thought?

I know a lot of programmers, the nerdy people whose world is made of directories and variables. There are exceptions everywhere, yes, but I have seen programmers who are so immersed in what they do, that they have made it their life. They’re the classical thinkers; the impassive people.

For a romantic thinker like myself, they appear dull, and I’ve seen the shocked look they give me when I tell them coding is boring. They look at me like I have no interest in life. To quote another person, you know you are a romantic thinker when, “you give more importance to feelings and less to facts.”

But that’s the way we think of each other.

Getting back to The Last Lecture, this Randy Pausch was such a classical thinker, except for the craving for fun. He was a nerd, a computer scientist and a professor. And from what I could discern, he was good at what he did.

Before writing this, I went through the reviews of the book and the lecture on Goodreads. There were a lot of people who gave four or five stars for the book. But, there were some who rated it one or two. There was such a contradiction and wondering why, I concluded, sometimes it’s arguable that one takes a view of life as Randy had, when he is counting his time. I don’t care though. Dying or not, the book has some very valuable thoughts. There is no guaranteeing that it would work for everyone, but it sure did for Randy, and considering that the lecture and the book was his message for his kids, I would say that Randy has succeeded in leaving a legendary legacy behind.

This book greatly reminded me of a similar story I read sometime back. A story of a dying professor – a story about living, in the words of a student. This, on the other hand, is a narrative from the professor himself, about the way he lived life and his regret of not being able to be a father.

It’s ironical that he practically raised his sister’s children and so many other students, but not his own children. That’s the sad part; that you were reading words of a dying person who prepared for his last lecture instead of spending his little time with children who would hardly remember him in future.

The book was the written form of his lecture. I watched the lecture too and Randy was careful to avoid topics that would make him emotional. He was just joking around, like he was trying to make an interesting class out of a dull one.

As a lot of people would say, the book was bound to have pathos spilled all over. It was, yes, it’s a pity to realize that the man who had such unique views is no longer living.

It’s quite similar to what I felt when I read Tuesdays with Morrie; I wish I had had a teacher like that. Two teachers; two conditions; two very different attitudes; both wonderful!

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