Monday, June 6, 2016. I finished a phenomenal book yesterday. The Last Lecture, written by Randy Pausch with Jeff Zaslow. At first I was marking every page/lesson that I wanted to mention or otherwise remember. At page 87 (the book is just over 200 pages), I stopped and realized that I was going to mark nearly every page. Read the book. Not for me, for yourself. It is awesome. Here is a link to buy a copy . And here is a link to Professor Pausch’s actual last lecture (which I have not yet watched).
Special thanks to Matt K. for the suggestion. Matt is a former associate, fraternity brother of my brother-in-law Brad’s and a friend of mine. Matt, I know I busted your chops for five years. Yet you always busted your ass for me — and I appreciated it every time and still do now. I know we will stay in touch. Thanks not only for the recommendation, but for following up to make sure I had read this book (which I had not)! [By the way, I am not giving Matt’s full last name because I was recently reminded (and am suddenly cognizant of) how very public this all is and how many people prefer privacy for a whole host of good reasons. Apologies to anyone I have offended to date.]
I decided that I am NOT going to really discuss the book or otherwise reference any specific teachings/lessons (because frankly each lesson/teaching is important). But I will say that Professor Pausch’s last lecture only amplifies that things can always be worse. Always. Thinking about his story (and the stories of so many others) only makes me feel guilty when I complain because so many people are dealing with much worse things, like sudden death and terminal illness. [Shout out to the greatest of all time, Muhammed Ali. He fought Parkinson’s for three decades. He once said “[i]mpossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s just an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.” Read a great article today authored, in part, by Michael J. Fox, honoring Muhammed Ali. ] The Last Lecture is the definition of a book that helps puts things in perspective. 5 million copies of the book have been sold and it has received worldwide attention for a reason. I was frankly surprised I had not heard about it.
The book is so engrained in my brain that I noticed, when I was reading the Sunday Styles at points yesterday and this morning (because I had not finished yesterday), the weddings of Kathryn Farley/Richard Lipton, Andrea Hawksley/Andy Lutomirski, and Juliana Shulman/Stephen Laniel [as an aside, I don’t typically include commas before an “and,” but that was the only way to get a link to the NY Times wedding announcement (so whatever….).] With the exception of the Hawksley/Lutomirski announcement, which I still would have noticed because Andrea’s mother works at a former Kirkland restructuring client, I would not have noticed these weddings before reading The Last Lecture. And I am not going to tell you why. You will just have to read the book to figure it out.