Life and death are the two biggest issues of life. However, few people would like to discuss them frankly. At Carnegie Mellon University, however, students are encouraged to think about death. In the university’s “Last Lecture Series,” top scholars were invited to give a hypothetical “final talk” about what matters to them the most when their life comes to an end. While listening to the lectures, we involuntarily also think about how the questions apply to our own lives: What do we cherish the most? How should we lead our life?
In 2007, CMU invited a special guest to return to their alma mater and give a lecture on this topic. That speaker was Randy Pausch, the author of this book. By that time, he had already been given a terminal diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, and had just a few months to live. So, to Pausch, it was literally a “last lecture.”
In his lecture, Pausch didn’t intend to instruct us on how to fulfill our dreams. Instead, he wanted to inspire us to think about how we can follow our dreams and achieve a unique and valuable life. Pausch’s speech was full of humor, even making the audience laugh from time to time, but he also moved them to tears.