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  • Writer's pictureJaveria Fatima Zaidi

Why You Should Read 'The Last Lecture' by Randy Pausch

The slim paperback volume does not seem overly impressive… until you have read the whole thing, that is.

Randy Pausch was a tenured professor at Carnegie Mellon University, and when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer, he delivered one final lecture (literally his last lecture) in the auditorium of his university. That became the basis for this book; a final reflection on lessons learned in life.

Written in an easy-to-read, conversational style, I could almost hear the author speak to me through the pages of his book.

This book is less of an autobiography, and more a collection of advice for his children. He shares his experiences at Disney; of being a somewhat non-traditional teacher; and mostly, his tenacity in achieving his childhood dreams.

In another lifetime, I would have swallowed the book whole and spat it out within 4 hours, max.

Seeing as how life is slightly different now (what with being a 30-something home educator, business owner and coach), it took me more like 4 weeks to finish it.

I’m kind of glad it did.

Life forced me to slow down and savour this book. Almost as if slowing me down, and making me face my own mortality. What if I knew I had just 6 more months to live? Would I have the positive outlook Pausch espoused? How would I deal with it? On a deeply personal level, this book spoke to me because I am obsessed with the idea of leaving a meaningful legacy behind… I maintain various journals that outline lessons learned in different spheres of life, so that even if I’m not around to advise them, I kind of am... So, would I recommend this book? 100% Every mortal human would do well to taking a leaf out of Pausch’s particular mix of optimism and realism.

It is a particularly good read for highly sensitive people, who can relate to Pausch’s focus on leaving behind a meaningful legacy. The desire to be a force for positive change is the driving force for many a HS woman.

This trait of deep sensory processing often leads us down the rabbit hole of intense contemplations… some of them about life and death. Pausch’s positive outlook, even in the face of imminent death, is inspirational to those of us who may be prone to catastrophising, black and white thinking, or personalisation.

By reflecting on Pausch’s insights and experiences, highly sensitive women can challenge these cognitive distortions and cultivate a more balanced, resilient mindset.

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