'The Last Lecture' - Book Review

The Last Lecture
by Randy Pausch with Jeffrey Zaslow
Hyperion, 207 pages

The video of Randy Pausch's "The Last Lecture" did the rounds a decade ago. He was a professor of Computer Science at Carnegie-Mellon, and after a terminal cancer diagnosis delivered a lecture on "Achieving Your Childhood Dreams." It was exceptionally well attended at the university, but really achieved its fame on the Internet - and is one of the better reasons for the existence of YouTube. If you haven't seen it, you should: http://thelastlecture.com .

From the success of this lecture came this book, also authored by Randy Pausch - although it says "with Jeffrey Zaslow" right under Pausch's name, and he says near the beginning he dictated the book while riding his bike and Zaslow turned his notes into a book. One of the things he makes clear in the book is that his greatest concern is the financial security of his family after his death - the lecture he did because he felt he had to and there was no money involved, but the book he was doing to monetize it to help his wife and children. And the book itself is written for his children - in language better suited to children than adults.

The book is full of earnest life advice, the kind available in dozens of self-improvement books. But it's less funny than the video and a lot longer, and thus considerably less palatable. Well meant but disappointing.