Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit

The Last Lecture


You may have heard of “The Last Lecture.”  It is the last lecture given by professors at Universities.  It is a time when professors expound on their life experiences and what matters the most to them.  It is the classic “If you only had one day left to live, what would you share?”

Randy Pausch was a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University.  He gave his “last lecture” in 2007.  His lecture has been posted on YouTube, an article on Mr. Pausch recently ran in Parade Magazine, and he and his wife were interviewed by Diane Sawyer.

Randy Pausch has pancreatic cancer.  The first diagnosis came in the summer of 2006.  In August 2007, Mr. Pausch learned that the cancer had metastisized to his liver.  Randy Pausch gave his Last Lecture in September, 2007.

In his lecture and in his recently released book, Mr. Pausch recommends the following for a life well-lived:

  • To always have fun
  • To dream big
  • To ask for what you want
  • To dare to take a risk
  • To look for the best in everybody
  • To make time for what matters

After watching the video and reading the article in Parade,  I realized is that what Mr. Pausch is promoting is to live in the present moment.  At one time I thought that was so cliche; to live in the present moment; to live life to the fullest.  I believed that only meant doing daring things, like sky diving and bungee jumping and swimming with sharks.  But it doesn’t.

To live life to the fullest, to be in the present moment means to live simply and clearly; to sit with the sun on your face, to hear the birds chirping, to watch a flower bloom, to give someone a hug.  To remember your childhood dreams and to follow new ones.  And yes, that may include sky diving.

In fact, this week, Mr. Pausch’s inspiring words motivated me to do something I probably would not have done a year ago or even two years ago; perhaps maybe never.

If you haven’t read Mr. Pausch’s words, you can read the article in Parade magazine and view his lecture here.

You’ll find his book on Amazon here.

Here is to following your dreams, to living life to the fullest, to being present, and winning stuffed animals.  Have a wonderful weekend.



8 thoughts on “The Last Lecture

  1. The discussion on Randy Pausch reminded me of a program about Richard Feynman, the physicist. It seems that a common theme is pursuing dreams and having fun. Asking questions also seems to lead to a good place. So thanks for the mental stimulation, I spent a happy hour researching about Richard Feynman, and in so doing discovered the perfect gift for my husband’s 70th birthday, coming up next month. I’m getting him The Feynman Lectures on Physics.

  2. Wow, what an incredibly inspiring guy he is. In the last several days, his story and book has kept popping up in my radar. hmmmm…..

  3. Hi Amy

    You did well to see so much in your 4 days in London. I guess that you probably didn’t know about walk talk tours – the downloadable MP3 audio tours that tell you all the secrets as you explore.

    Perhaps next time you are over you might try one – they are in London, York and Edinburgh.

    Visit and tell us what you think

    PS Loved Boston and the Quincy Market.

  4. Amy, I just came across this video about 4 days ago; it’s pretty amazing and so true we can learn so much from him.

  5. Very inspiring, a veru confident person. I will be recommending his book to my readers, friends and familiy. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Hi All,

    Randy Pausch has been inspiring many, many people. I am glad we’ve all had the opportunity to experience his enlightened attitude.


  7. 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.

  8. Hi Ollie,

    A friend sent me a pointer to Dr. Taylor’s speech on It is also quite inspiring and I highly recommend people view it.


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