The Last Lecture

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Randy Pausch Character Analysis

Randy is the narrator of book and also its main subject. This book, as well as the lecture that the title references, serve as the final public statements of a dying man. Randy, though he’s dying, is concerned mainly with childhood dreams—he tells of how he achieved most of his, and gives strategies for how others might actualize theirs. Randy is a scientist, a pragmatist, and a “recovering jerk” who believes greatly in giving and receiving feedback and showing gratitude. By the end of his life, he is a family man who prioritizes his wife, Jai, and three kids, Dylan, Logan, and Chloe, over most other parts of his life. Randy is a computer scientist who specializes in virtual reality, so it somewhat makes sense that turning dreams into reality is his focus—that is, after all, what virtual reality is all about. Randy believes in hard work, not whining, never giving up, and using obstacles (as he calls them, brick walls) as opportunities to show how badly you want something.

Randy Pausch Quotes in The Last Lecture

The The Last Lecture quotes below are all either spoken by Randy Pausch or refer to Randy Pausch. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Dreams in Reality Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Hyperion edition of The Last Lecture published in 2008.
Introduction Quotes

Under the ruse of giving an academic lecture, I was trying to put myself in a bottle that would one day wash up on the beach for my children.

Related Characters: Randy Pausch (speaker), Dylan, Logan, Chloe
Related Symbols: The Head Fake
Page Number: xiv
Explanation and Analysis:

This quote occurs in the first passage that Randy writes in the book, right after Jai’s foreword. It tips readers off to the fundamental head fake that underscores the entire narrative of The Last Lecture—that, though Randy’s lecture is supposedly about achieving your dreams (and thus how to lead your life), the deeper purpose of his book is to leave a piece of himself—of his beliefs, ideas, and personality—behind for his young children to remember him by. The notion of teaching one thing (like how to achieve your dreams) in order to actually teach another thing (like telling his children who he was and what he cared about) will recur throughout the book. This is also an example of another trick that Randy consistently teaches: using obstacles as opportunities. Randy uses the horrid obstacle of his impending death as an opportunity to do as much as he possibly can to leave behind remnants of himself for his children (and anyone else) to find.

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…engineering isn’t about perfect solutions; it’s about doing the best you can with limited resources. Both the lecture and this book are my attempts to do exactly that.

Related Characters: Randy Pausch (speaker)
Page Number: xiv
Explanation and Analysis:

Doing the best you can, being practical, and having a positive attitude (no matter the cards life deals you) are fundamental, Randy believes, to a well-lived life. Randy always views life as a scientist and engineer, and so, when he finds out that his cancer diagnosis is terminal, he vows to do as much as possible to leave behind an imprint of himself for his children (and for the rest of the world, too). This book and the video recording of Randy’s last lecture serve as those imprints, which his children should be able to access through their whole lives. Though this won’t replace him in their lives, Randy’s statement that “engineering isn’t about perfect solutions” reminds readers that the book and lecture are the best he can do. They will serve as a corrective to Randy’s kids’ fuzzy memories when he’s gone, and the act of writing a book and creating a lecture are a reason for him to stay sharp and engaged while he is alive.

Chapter 1 Quotes

…all of the things I loved were rooted in the dreams and goals I had as a child… despite the cancer, I truly believed I was a lucky man because I had lived out these dreams. And I had lived out my dreams, in great measure, because of things I was taught by all sorts of extraordinary people along the way. If I was able to tell my story with passion, I felt, my lecture might help others find a path to fulfilling their own dreams.

Related Characters: Randy Pausch (speaker)
Page Number: 10
Explanation and Analysis:

This quote occurs soon after Randy has been told that his cancer is terminal and he is prompted by organizers at Carnegie Mellon to give a title and topic for his last lecture. Forced to confront what matters most to him, Randy lands on the topic of childhood dreams, since many of his accomplishments are rooted in his childhood hopes.

Also, rather than focus on the negative aspects of his cancer, Randy spins it in a positive light and sees himself as lucky because his last lecture has the potential to “help others find a path to fulfilling their own dreams.” Randy also feels lucky to able to show gratitude towards many mentors in his life through his last lecture, using their stories and feedback to, in turn, teach others the many lessons Randy learned throughout his life. This makes his lecture into a kind of feedback loop for the reader/viewer in which the reader/viewer uses Randy’s advice and beliefs to take a hard look at the way in which they’re living their own lives.

Chapter 4 Quotes

…kids—more than anything else—need to know their parents love them. Their parents don’t have to be alive for that to happen.

Related Characters: Randy Pausch (speaker), Randy’s Dad, Dylan, Logan, Chloe
Page Number: 26
Explanation and Analysis:

This quote occurs after Randy discusses his circumstances and mindset when he began his last lecture. While it seems that this quote refers to Randy’s relationship with his own children (he wants them to know that he loves them, even though he won’t be alive to tell then), Randy then takes a step back to discuss his own lower middle-class childhood, indicating that he is also talking about how he knows his father loves him, even though his father is no longer alive to tell him so. Randy feels his parents’ love, in part, because he recognizes how lucky he is to have had parents who allowed him to dream, but were also honest with him and didn’t coddle him. In the end, Randy loops back around to his own children, and he says that he believes his dad would have approved of the ways that Randy is being proactive and positive in the wake of his impending death. Randy is doing everything he possibly can to leave behind messages to his wife and kids that he loves them and wants desperately to shape their lives.

Chapter 5 Quotes

Jack and I painted a large silver elevator door… we painted a panel with floor numbers one through six. The number “three” was illuminated. We lived in a ranch house—it was just one level—so I was doing a bit of fantasizing to imagine six floors. But looking back, why didn’t I paint eighty or ninety floors? If I was such a big-shot dreamer, why did my elevator stop at three? I don’t know. Maybe it was a symbol of the balance in my life between aspiration and pragmatism.

Related Characters: Randy Pausch (speaker), Tammy, Jack Sheriff
Page Number: 29
Explanation and Analysis:

This quote occurs after Randy, halfway through high school, asks his parents if he can paint some images that he has imagined in his head (things “that matter” to him) on the walls of his room. His mom is skeptical but his dad gives permission, and after painting many images, Randy decides he wants to paint an elevator on the wall of his ranch house. But, Randy notes, he decided it would only be a six-floor elevator. While Randy does not understand why that was his desire at the time, he thinks (in retrospect) that choosing an elevator with only six floors epitomizes his balance between dreams and reality. Randy allows himself to dream big dreams, but he always makes them specific enough that he can imagine the concrete steps he can take to achieve them.

Chapter 6 Quotes

Have something to bring to the table, because that will make you more welcome.

Related Characters: Randy Pausch (speaker)
Related Symbols: Brick Walls
Page Number: 33
Explanation and Analysis:

This quote occurs after Randy has told the audience, “It’s important to have specific dreams.” What he means is that, as a kid obsessed with science, Randy didn’t want to be a NASA astronaut because he knew his glasses prohibited him from interstellar travel; instead, Randy simply dreamed of being able to float in zero gravity, which is a more achievable dream that he fulfills when a research team of his wins a competition to do experiments in one of NASA’s zero gravity acclimation planes.

However, Randy finds out that only the students, and not their chaperone, are allowed to ride in the zero gravity plane. Never one to let a brick wall stop him, Randy combs through the contract for loopholes, and finds one: an adult journalist can accompany the students into the machine. So, Randy calls NASA, faxes them the paperwork to apply as a journalist, and though they find his efforts “transparent,” Randy convinces them that he will use his actual connections to journalists to get the story of his team’s visit to NASA published in the press. NASA agrees, and Randy is able to earn his way to achieving his dream by being hard-working, optimistic, and not giving up until he gets what he wants. Randy’s point in this quote, though, is that simply asking for the thing you want without being able offer something in return can be ineffective and, at worst, entitled. By pointing to his genuine media connections, Randy is able to offer something in return for NASA helping him achieve his dream, which makes him a more welcome guest at NASA.

Chapter 7 Quotes

…even though I did not reach the National Football League, I sometimes think I got more from pursuing that dream, and not accomplishing it, than I did from many of the ones I did accomplish.

Related Characters: Randy Pausch (speaker), Coach Jim Graham
Related Symbols: The Head Fake
Page Number: 35
Explanation and Analysis:

How you perceive failure is all about attitude: you can view it as a negative or as a positive learning experience, and the latter is how Randy chooses to view the fact that he did not make the NFL. This quote occurs after Randy discusses his deep love of tackle football, which began during his formative experiences playing peewee football under the tutelage of Coach Jim Graham, an old-school strict disciplinarian who believed in hard work and learning the fundamentals.

Randy isn’t a good enough football player to play professionally, but his experiences on the football team taught him valuable life lessons that he passes down to his students, children and readers. Those lessons include that you can’t teach self-esteem (you can only build it through hard work), and, most importantly, the idea of the “head fake,” which is that you can think you’re learning one thing (like how to play football) while you’re really learning something far more important (like how to work with others, sportsmanship, perseverance, etc.). Randy applies the idea of the head fake to many aspects of his life, including the construction of this book and his last lecture.

“When you’re screwing up and nobody says anything to you anymore, that means they’ve given up on you.”

Related Characters: Assistant Coach (speaker), Randy Pausch, Coach Jim Graham
Page Number: 37
Explanation and Analysis:

This quote occurs after Coach Graham rides Randy particularly hard after one football practice, making him stay to do drills after the official practice has ended. Getting chewed out by a mentor (especially one that you deeply respect) is never a fun experience, but this Assistant Coach does Randy a huge favor, in that he advises Randy to change his perspective on the situation. Rather than being upset at how hard Coach Graham was being on Randy, the Assistant Coach shifts things into a more positive light by explaining that Coach Graham was only being tough with Randy because he believed Randy could do better. In other words, nobody wastes their time trying to help a lost cause, and Coach Graham’s criticism actually meant that Randy had potential. We could all be better off if we shifted our attitudes towards constructive criticism from defensive to receptive. Carefully considering criticism and trying to address it in our future attitudes and behavior is one of the main ways we are able to improve as people.

The second kind of head fake is the really important one—the one that teaches people things they don’t realize they’re learning until well into the process. If you’re a head-fake specialist, your hidden objective is to get them to learn something you want them to learn.

Related Characters: Randy Pausch (speaker), Coach Jim Graham
Related Symbols: The Head Fake
Page Number: 39
Explanation and Analysis:

This quote occurs at the end of Randy’s chapter about football being a formative experience for him, as Coach Graham gave Randy a “feedback loop for life.” Up until the day Randy wrote The Last Lecture (and presumably until his death), Coach Graham would continually pop into Randy’s head to ask the question: Are you working hard enough? And then Randy would re-evaluate his strategies and time management, and often work harder.

However, the most important thing Coach Graham taught Randy is “the second kind of head fake” (as opposed to the first kind, which is literal misdirection, like when a football player moves one way but goes the other). The second kind of head fake is teaching people one thing (like football, or making video games) so that they actually, without realizing it, learn another thing (like teamwork, or computer programming skills). This is a lesson Randy uses throughout his whole life as a teacher and parent, which is why he thinks he may have learned more from not accomplishing his dream of playing in the NFL than from many of the dreams he did accomplish.

Chapter 9 Quotes

…I was hugely impressed. Kirk, I mean, Shatner, was the ultimate example of a man who knew what he didn’t know, was perfectly willing to admit it, and didn’t want to leave until he understood. That’s heroic to me. I wish every grad student had that attitude.

Related Characters: Randy Pausch (speaker), William Shatner
Page Number: 45
Explanation and Analysis:

This quote occurs after Randy explains that, since he was a huge Star Trek fan as a kid, one of his childhood dreams was to be Captain Kirk (not Randy Pausch as captain of the Enterprise—literally to be Captain Kirk himself). Though Randy obviously could never become Captain Kirk, he does get the opportunity to meet the man who portrayed Kirk on T.V., actor William Shatner, who visits Randy’s lab to ask questions in relation to a book about scientific breakthroughs that were foreshadowed by Star Trek.

While one of Randy’s colleagues is frustrated by Shatner’s inquisitiveness and lack of prior virtual reality knowledge, Randy is extremely impressed with Shatner’s humble, open, and honest attitude, and his desire to learn as much as possible from the experience. Rather than feeling entitled to the knowledge or trying to come off as more prepared than he is, Shatner is honest about his ignorance, which invites hours of explanations from experts. Shatner is able to absorb the knowledge by asking follow-up questions so that, by the end, he truly understands. Rather than trying to impress with posturing, Randy believes it’s noble and even heroic to be honest about our weaknesses and take on the attitude of continually trying to address them.

Chapter 11 Quotes

The brick walls are there for a reason. They’re not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something.

Related Characters: Randy Pausch (speaker)
Related Symbols: Brick Walls
Page Number: 51-52
Explanation and Analysis:

This quote occurs after Randy tells of a cross-country trip his family took to Disneyland when he was eight years old, a trip that resulted in inspiring Randy’s childhood dream to one day become a Disney Imagineer (one of the people who designs the theme park rides).

Randy’s motto about brick walls is something he repeats as a symbol/metaphor all throughout the narrative, and the way he views brick walls, or any other obstacle, is that they are not a negative blocking force, but instead a positive opportunity to show the people who want to keep you out just how badly you want to get in.

In this example, though Randy is rejected from Disney Imagineering after receiving his PhD, he keeps his goal of working there in mind through the rest of his life. He works hard, rises up through the computer science ranks, and when he hears that Disney is working on a virtual reality ride (which was Randy’s specialty), he finds out who the head of the project is (Jon Snoddy) and proceeds to contact him and set up a meeting to impress him. Randy didn’t let the brick wall keep him out—he was patient, worked hard, bided his time, wracked up credentials and experience, and when he learned of a good opportunity to accomplish his dream, he worked relentlessly toward that goal until the gatekeepers believed he had earned his way in.

Now, here’s a lesson for managers and administrators. Both deans said the same thing: They didn’t know if this sabbatical was a good idea. But think about how differently they said it!

Related Characters: Randy Pausch (speaker), “Dean Wormer”
Page Number: 54
Explanation and Analysis:

This quote occurs soon after Jon Snoddy, the Disney Imagineer in charge of Disney’s virtual reality Aladdin project, agrees to bring Randy on as an Imagineering consultant for six months during Randy’s sabbatical. But “Dean Wormer,” a dean at the University of Virginia where Randy works, is negative and skeptical about Randy working for Disney because he believes that Disney might steal Randy’s intellectual property.

When Randy brings his request to work at Disney to the Dean of Sponsored Research, however, the dean is delighted by how excited Randy is and he is far more open to making an atypical sabbatical work. While the Dean of Sponsored Research is also unsure about the project and makes his objections clear, his reaction to Randy is much more compassionate. This anecdote illustrates the ways in which attitude impacts how those around you interact with you. Both “Dean Wormer” and the Dean of Sponsored Research said basically the same thing (they were unsure about the sabbatical to Disney) but their approach to dealing with it was opposite. The Dean of Sponsored Research had a much better relationship with Randy, solely because of his optimistic, open attitude.

Chapter 14 Quotes

…I had strengths that also were flaws. In Andy’s view, I was self-possessed to a fault, I was way too brash and I was an inflexible contrarian, always spouting opinions. One day, Andy took me for a walk. He put his arm around my shoulders and said, “Randy, it’s such a shame that people perceive you as being so arrogant, because it’s going to limit what you’re going to be able to accomplish in life.”

Related Characters: Randy Pausch (speaker), Professor Andy Van Dam
Page Number: 67-68
Explanation and Analysis:

This quote occurs after Randy tells a funny story about mouthing off at the bus stop as a kid, which caused his sister Tammy to throw his lunch box in the mud. As a college student, Randy wasn’t any less mouthy or arrogant, and though these traits served him well in many of his classes, they would often alienate other students.

Andy van Dam, in imparting the advice in this quote, does two things that Randy grows to appreciate through the rest of his life. First, the manner in which he gives Randy criticism opens Randy up to taking in the feedback and changing his behavior. Rather than telling Randy that he’s an arrogant jerk and he needs to change his attitude, Andy tells Randy that “it’s such a shame” that he is the way he is “because it’s going to limit” what he’s able to accomplish. So, instead of being told what to do, Randy hears the criticism and decides he must make a change on his own. Second, because of how powerful this experience is for Randy, it makes him a deep believer in the idea of receiving feedback. Randy becomes dedicated to creating feedback loops in his life so that he is always able to both examine his own behaviors and receive feedback from others to help him improve.

Chapter 15 Quotes

While my sister was outlining the rules, I slowly and deliberately opened a can of soda, turned it over, and poured it on the cloth seats in the back of the convertible. My message: People are more important than things. A car, even a pristine gem like my new convertible, was just a thing.

Related Characters: Randy Pausch (speaker), Tammy, Chris, Laura
Page Number: 69-70
Explanation and Analysis:

This quote occurs after Randy explains that, as a bachelor in his twenties and thirties, he would often take his sister’s kids, Chris and Laura, on trips and adventures. One day, Randy showed up to pick his niece and nephew up in a brand-new convertible and Tammy (Randy’s sister) lectured her kids about not spilling or making a mess in Randy’s new car. During this lecture, Randy poured an entire can of coke all over the back seats to teach his niece and nephew a lesson they would never forget (that people are more important than things). Randy’s visual example was effective in shifting Chris and Laura’s attitude towards material things: when Chris got sick in the convertible later in the weekend, he didn’t feel bad about it since he knew from Randy’s lesson that he was more important to Randy than the car. Randy notes later that he hopes Chris and Laura will pass this lesson on to Randy’s own kids after Randy has passed away.

Chapter 18 Quotes

The dents would be OK. My parents had raised me to recognize that automobiles are there to get you from point A to point B. They are utilitarian devices, not expressions of social status. And so I told Jai we didn’t need to do cosmetic repairs. We’d just live with the dents and gashes.

Related Characters: Randy Pausch (speaker), Jai
Page Number: 88
Explanation and Analysis:

This quote occurs when Randy comes home one day to find that Jai had accidentally run her own car into Randy’s convertible. After inspecting the cars, Randy tells Jai, much to her surprise, that the damage doesn’t warrant repairs. Randy’s parents had taught him that what cars look like is irrelevant—they aren’t meant as status symbols, but as vehicles that get you from point A to point B, which their vehicles could still manage. In Randy’s view, not everything needs to be fixed, and these gashed-up cars become a symbol of Jai and Randy’s marriage, in that it might have some dents, but, when looking at it with a positive attitude, it still works more than well enough. This passage is also evocative of the part of the book where Randy pours a can of coke onto the seat of his new convertible to teach Chris and Laura the lesson that people are more important than things. In both cases, Randy treats damage to his car as being much less important than his relationships to people he loves.

Chapter 19 Quotes

Through the whole ordeal, I don’t think we ever said to each other: “This isn’t fair.” We just kept going. We recognized that there were things we could do that might help the outcome in positive ways … and we did them. Without saying it in words, our attitude was, “Let’s saddle up and ride.”

Related Characters: Randy Pausch (speaker), Jai, Dylan
Page Number: 93
Explanation and Analysis:

This quote occurs after Jai, pregnant with their first child, began to bleed and Randy rushed her to the hospital, where she needed to have an emergency C-section surgery. All through the procedure, Randy held Jai’s hand and kept her from going into shock by calmly explaining whatever the doctor was doing to her. In the end both Dylan and Jai survived, though Dylan, born at seven months, needed to be kept in a special closed basinet.

Through this example, Randy lives out his advice about attitude and positive behavior—rather than getting upset at or flustered by their scary situation, Randy and Jai do whatever they can in the moment to deal with it. They never complain or whine about the unfairness of their situation (which could take their attention away from doing everything possible to make the outcome positive), and instead the two of them focus on the positive steps they can take to make things better, just as Randy does with his battle against cancer.

Chapter 21 Quotes

At Christmas, I had made an adventure out of putting the lights on the tree. Rather than showing Dylan and Logan the proper way to do it—carefully and meticulously—I just let them have at it haphazardly. However they wanted to throw those lights on the tree was fine by me. We got video of the whole chaotic scene, and Jai says it was a “magical moment” that will be one of her favorite memories of our family together.

Related Characters: Randy Pausch (speaker), Jai, Dylan, Logan, Chloe
Page Number: 100
Explanation and Analysis:

This quote occurs after Randy, on his last New Years eve, has taken his son Dylan to go see the movie Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, which turns out to be a melancholy experience; Randy’s son cries on his lap during the movie when the toymaker in the film tells his apprentice that he is going to die. Afterwards, Randy is depressed, so Jai tries to cheer him up by recounting all the happy memories their family experienced over the past year.

Jai highlights this one memory in particular from a week or so earlier, and Jai telling Randy she is so glad they recorded it is, in a way, Jai’s attempt to turn an obstacle into an opportunity. Normally she might have been mad at the messiness, or she might not have recorded it at all, but because of Randy’s impending death, Jai is cognizant of the need to record as many memories with Randy and the kids as possible. Also, Randy allowing his kids to have creative freedom with the lights, rather than having the attitude that it needs to look as professional as possible, turns an often-mundane activity into a fun adventure, which is very similar to how Randy would make normal activities into adventures with his niece and nephew.

Chapter 23 Quotes

I’ve long held on to a clipping from a newspaper in Roanoke, Virginia. It featured a photo of a pregnant woman who had lodged a protest against a local construction site. She worried that the sound of jackhammers was injuring her unborn child. But get this: In the photo, the woman is holding a cigarette.

Related Characters: Randy Pausch (speaker)
Page Number: 108-109
Explanation and Analysis:

This quote occurs in the midst of Randy spouting off tons of time management advice. Time management was always an obsession of Randy’s, but his lack of time left on earth has made him even more cognizant of managing his time. One of his pieces of advice is to make sure you’re spending time on the right things.

In this example, the pregnant woman may be protesting for a good cause and her behavior seems to be proactive and positive, but the fact that she is smoking a cigarette means that she’s overlooking a major (and easy) thing that she can do to impact the outcome of her pregnancy and the quality of her future child’s life. Managing your attitude and taking positive actions is important, but making sure you’re focusing on the right things and taking the best positive actions should also be part of the equation.

Chapter 24 Quotes

…educators best serve students by helping them be more self-reflective. The only way any of us can improve—as Coach Graham taught me—is if we develop a real ability to assess ourselves.

Related Characters: Randy Pausch (speaker), Coach Jim Graham
Page Number: 112
Explanation and Analysis:

Randy discusses the current educational landscape and expresses his frustration that students and parents often view colleges and universities as operating in a customer-service model; parents and students think they’re buying a five-class course load in the same way that they would buy five pairs of jeans. Randy is okay with the customer-service model, but he prefers a different analogy: the university is like a gym, and the professors are like trainers. Randy sees his job as not to coddle the kids, but to give them access to tools and then present them with an honest assessment of how they’re faring so that, one day, they can be able to assess themselves.

Creating a feedback loop for yourself so that you can assess your own strengths, weaknesses, and progress in any aspect of life is the primary character trait that Randy believes colleges should teach students, just as Coach Graham gave Randy a feedback loop to assess how hard he’s working on any task. Without teachers offering students honest feedback, the students will have great difficulty assessing their strengths and weaknesses honestly, and will then not know what to focus their time on improving. Honesty and openness, on both the part of teacher and learner, is what helps create effective feedback loops.

Chapter 25 Quotes

“It does take a lot of luck,” he said. “But all of you are already lucky. Getting to work with Randy and learn from him, that’s some kind of luck right there. I wouldn’t be here if not for Randy.”

Related Characters: Tommy Burnett (speaker), Randy Pausch
Page Number: 120
Explanation and Analysis:

This quote occurs after Randy discusses the backstory of one of his former students, Tommy Burnett, who always dreamed of working on special effects for a Star Wars film. After learning programming skills from working on Randy’s research team, Tommy is hired by George Lucas’s company to do special effects for The Phantom Menace.

Here, Tommy’s response to one of Randy’s student’s questions helps to shift the attitude of all of Randy’s class. Rather than searching for luck in the form of an outside opportunity that simply falls into their laps, Tommy explains that all of the students in Randy’s class should have the attitude that they are already lucky, as they have the opportunity to learn from Randy. Tommy’s advice and attitude (which Randy largely helped shape) helps Randy break through to this class of students so he can help teach them and give them important feedback, much in the same way Randy taught Tommy. In this instance, Randy’s feedback cycles down to Tommy, which cycles down to the rest of his class, in turn making them more open to hearing Randy’s advice in the present. Hopefully, one day, these students will pass Randy’s advice down to students of their own, and so on, so the feedback loop never ends.

Chapter 27 Quotes

…if it is presented as a storytelling activity, girls become perfectly willing to learn how to write software. In fact, they love it… Everybody loves telling stories. It’s one of the truly universal things about our species. So in my mind, Caitlin wins the All-Time Best Head-Fake Award.

Related Characters: Randy Pausch (speaker), Caitlin Kelleher
Related Symbols: The Head Fake
Page Number: 128
Explanation and Analysis:

This quote occurs after Randy tells of his creation of the Alice software project, which is software designed to get people of all ages (but especially kids) to make animated videos as well as video games, while at the same time teaching them real computer programming skills.

One of Randy’s students, Caitlin Kelleher, sees that the program doesn’t seem to be as effective or enjoyable for girls as it is for boys, so she sets out to remedy that problem. Her solution isn’t to change the software much, but instead to frame it in a different way. Rather than ‘programming software,’ Caitlin presents Alice as a ‘storytelling activity,’ leading girls to enjoy it just as much as boys. This makes Randy decide to give Caitlin the metaphorical All-Time Best Head-Fake Award, as many more girls are now making their dreams into realities through the Alice program and learning valuable programming skills they can use throughout their lives. In the guise of simply telling stories, these girls will now learn skills they’re not even necessarily aware of, which is the whole idea behind the head fake.

Chapter 28 Quotes

…my dad had taken a photo of our TV set the second Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon. He had preserved the moment for me, knowing it could help trigger big dreams.

Related Characters: Randy Pausch (speaker), Randy’s Dad
Page Number: 132
Explanation and Analysis:

This quote is situated after Randy says the moon landing is what made him first realize that pretty much anything is possible. At summer camp, the counselors intended to show the kids the moon landing, but because the landing was delayed, they made the kids go to bed. This is something that still disappoints Randy.

However, Randy’s dad took a photo of the TV during the moment of Neil Armstrong’s famous leap for mankind, and when Randy gets home from camp he is elated by the photo, as it helps to trigger huge dreams for his future. In Randy’s view, the camp counselors should have had a more positive attitude and realized that seeing your species get off of the planet for the first time was far more important than missing their scheduled bed time. Inspiration, to Randy, is the ultimate tool for spreading optimism, hope and dreams, and if the counselors had prioritized that more and had been a little more positive, dozens more kids might have become inspired to have big dreams of their own.

Chapter 32 Quotes

…Complaining does not work as a strategy. We all have finite time and energy. Any time we spend whining is unlikely to help us achieve our goals. And it won’t make us happier.

Related Characters: Randy Pausch (speaker), Sandy Blatt
Page Number: 139
Explanation and Analysis:

This quote occurs right after Randy explains his adoration for two very different people: Sandy Blatt, Randy’s quadriplegic college landlord, and Jackie Robinson, the first non-white baseball player in Major League Baseball.

Both Sandy Blatt and Jackie Robinson never complained about their harsh situations. Sandy’s hopes of becoming a professional athlete were dashed when a truck backed into him, and as a result of his injuries his fiancé left him. Sandy never complained, he became a marriage counselor, found a wife, and eventually adopted kids. Jackie Robinson never complained or whined about the racism hurled at him on a daily basis, he simply worked harder then everyone else and earned his place on the field. In both cases, Randy focuses on how they easily could have whined, complained, and taken on a ‘woe-is-me’ attitude, but instead they simply faced their situations head-on, had a positive attitude, and earned their way to whatever they wanted.

Chapter 51 Quotes

I made a comment to my dad about the job being beneath those teachers. (I guess I was implying that the job was beneath me, too.) My dad gave me the tongue-lashing of a lifetime. He believed manual labor was beneath no one. He said he’d prefer that I worked hard and became the best ditch-digger in the world rather than coasting along as a self-impressed elitist behind a desk.

Related Characters: Randy Pausch (speaker), Randy’s Dad
Page Number: 169
Explanation and Analysis:

This quote is situated toward the end of the book, after Randy has lamented the growing entitlement among young people entering the work force today. This leads Randy to recall an anecdote about entitlement from his own life, when Randy was working with a group of teachers hoeing strawberries during a summer job and he complained that the job was beneath them.

Essentially, Randy’s dad told Randy that he really needed to adjust his attitude to be more positive, open-minded, and less condescending. Randy and the teachers are no different from those who do physical labor every day, and treating them or their job as unimportant makes Randy a jerk, not an impressive person. Randy’s father’s outburst had a real impact on Randy, as Randy took the feedback, worked harder the next day, and looked at laborers with far more respect through the rest of his life.

Chapter 55 Quotes

Ask those questions. Just ask them. More often than you’d suspect, the answer you’ll get is, “Sure.”

Related Characters: Randy Pausch (speaker), Randy’s Dad, Dylan
Page Number: 179
Explanation and Analysis:

This quote occurs near the end of the book, when Randy recounts a trip to Disney World that Randy, Dylan, and Randy’s dad took shortly before Randy’s Dad’s death. While waiting for the monorail, Dylan mentioned that he wanted to sit all the way up front near the conductor, and Randy’s dad thought that sounded really cool, too. So, when they all boarded the monorail, Randy simply asked if they could sit in the front-most compartment, and a Disney employee said yes and took them to sit there. Both Dylan and Randy’s dad were shocked, and Randy uses this anecdote as an opportunity to impart advice to the readers of The Last Lecture—often in life, if you have a positive attitude and proactive behavior and simply just ask for what you want (like when Randy and Tammy broke the salt-and-pepper shaker many years earlier and asked to have it replaced), people might be happy to give it to you. Simply feeling entitled to something and not trying to get it won’t amount to anything, but if you’re optimistic in your attitude and proactive in your behavior, oftentimes it is easier to receive the things you want than it might at first seem.

Chapter 57 Quotes

My personal take on optimism is that as a mental state, it can enable you to do tangible things to improve your physical state.

Related Characters: Randy Pausch (speaker), Dr. Herb Zeh
Page Number: 183
Explanation and Analysis:

This quote is situated near the end of The Last Lecture, when Randy recalls speaking with his doctors about how optimism and positivity can impact terminal illnesses like pancreatic cancer. Randy knows that being optimistic can’t save his life all on its own, but he also believes that being optimistic and positive can lead him to do “tangible things” to improve his condition and physical state, like continuing to work out or spend time with his family. Having a positive attitude, even in a dire situation, can make your quality of life better, even if it won’t change the end date.

Chapter 59 Quotes

…my dreams for my kids are very exact: I want them to follow their own path to fulfillment. And given that I won’t be there, I want to make this clear: Kids, don’t try to figure out what I wanted you to become. I want you to become what you want to become.

Related Characters: Randy Pausch (speaker), Dylan, Logan, Chloe
Page Number: 198
Explanation and Analysis:

This quote occurs in the final section of the book, where Randy writes directly to his kids about his hopes and dreams for their lives. Randy’s dreams for his kids amount to exactly this: he wants them to have dreams of their own, and to chase them passionately and enthusiastically, just like their old man did. Randy doesn’t believe in parents prescribing dreams for their kids: he thinks that everyone should discover what it is they’re passionate about, and then chase that with everything they have. Childhood dreams are so powerful because of the unadulterated enthusiasm surrounding them. Chasing someone else’s dreams will not be nearly as exciting or fulfilling a chasing your own, and the kind of enthusiasm that propels a person to do great things cannot be forced on them.

Chapter 61 Quotes

“It’s not about how to achieve your dreams. It’s about how to lead your life. If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself. The dreams will come to you.”

Related Characters: Randy Pausch (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Head Fake
Page Number: 205-206
Explanation and Analysis:

This quote occurs on the very last page of the book, where Randy explains that he ended his last lecture by revealing the fundamental head fake that underscores the lecture. This quote explains how Randy’s last lecture, and the book The Last Lecture itself, are examples of the “head fake” because, although the lecture purported to be about achieving childhood dreams, it is really about how Randy believes people should live their lives. So, Randy believes, if people lead their lives in the proper way, always keeping their childhood dreams in mind, then the dreams will come to them.

In no way is Randy advocating for simply being entitled to achieving dreams and waiting for them to show up—instead, he is arguing that if you live your life in such a way that you consciously work hard to improve yourself and seek dream-fulfilling opportunities, then when those opportunities do arise you will be ready and able to seize them.

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Randy Pausch Character Timeline in The Last Lecture

The timeline below shows where the character Randy Pausch appears in The Last Lecture. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Foreword
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The foreword, written by Randy Pausch’s wife Jai after his death, is the only section of the book not written... (full context)
Introduction
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Randy starts by letting the reader know he has “an engineering problem.” Though he looks healthy,... (full context)
Chapter 1: An Injured Lion Still Wants to Roar
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When Randy is asked to give a “last lecture” at Carnegie Mellon University, he knows that he... (full context)
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Randy and Jai can’t come to an agreement, so they go discuss it with their psychotherapist,... (full context)
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Randy reflects on why he wants to give this talk so badly—he confesses to Jai that... (full context)
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Randy knows people think his talk will concern dying—but instead, Randy thinks, “it had to be... (full context)
Chapter 2: My Life in a Laptop
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Randy wonders what the best way to catalogue his childhood dreams is, and also ponders how... (full context)
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Randy is picked up at the airport by Steve Seabolt. They go to lunch at a... (full context)
Chapter 3: The Elephant in the Room
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The auditorium is full, with 400 people in attendance when Randy gets on stage to set up for the lecture. Randy is nervous. Even with the... (full context)
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Randy cracks a few jokes, and then says his dad always taught him that “when there’s... (full context)
Chapter 4: The Parent Lottery
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Randy says a major reason he was able to live out his childhood dream is because... (full context)
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Randy notes that his dad was an amazing storyteller, and he believes that stories should be... (full context)
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Randy’s parents believed strongly in community service. For example, they underwrote a student dorm in Thailand... (full context)
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Randy says that many people who watched his last lecture were captivated by a photo of... (full context)
Chapter 5: The Elevator in the Ranch House
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Randy says that, as a kid, his imagination was hard to contain. Halfway through high school... (full context)
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What did they paint? A quadratic equation (celebrating Randy’s inner nerd), chess pieces, Jack Sheriff wrote the words “I’m trapped in the attic!” backwards... (full context)
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Since it was the late 70’s, Randy also wrote, “Disco sucks!” over his door, and the only alteration his mom made was... (full context)
Chapter 6: Getting to Zero G
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“It’s important to have specific dreams,” Randy starts. For example, Randy knew at an early age that his glasses prohibited him from... (full context)
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Randy read all of the literature about the program in search of loopholes, and he found... (full context)
Chapter 7: I Never Made It to the NFL
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Randy loves tackle football. He started playing when he was nine, and football helped shape him... (full context)
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Fundamentals. That’s the gift Coach Graham imparts to Randy—if you don’t learn the fundamentals, “the fancy stuff is not going to work.” Coach Graham... (full context)
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When Coach Graham first got hold of Randy, Randy was tiny, with no discipline, physical skills or conditioning. Through hard work, Coach Graham... (full context)
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Coach Graham, Randy notes, would never endanger any kid, and the dash to the water was more about... (full context)
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Randy says he hasn’t seen Coach Graham since he was a teenager, but his coach continually... (full context)
Chapter 8: You’ll Find Me Under “V”
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Randy loves living in the computer age, but the world he grew up in was very... (full context)
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One day, after Randy is a professor of some renown, World Book calls Randy and asks if he’d like... (full context)
Chapter 9: A Skill Set Called Leadership
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Randy also loved Captain Kirk because of the cool futurist toys he would play with—including, Randy... (full context)
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While one of Randy’s colleagues is frustrated at all of William Shatner’s questions, Randy is impressed—Shatner, Randy says, is... (full context)
Chapter 10: Winning Big
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One of Randy’s earliest dreams was to be the coolest guy at any carnival or amusement park—to Randy... (full context)
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Randy reveals the secret to winning giant stuffed animals: long arms, and a small amount of... (full context)
Chapter 11: The Happiest Place on Earth
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When Randy was eight, his family went on a cross-country trip to Disneyland, and Randy loved it.... (full context)
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Fast-forward years later, to 1995 when Randy is a professor at the University of Virginia. He builds a system called “Virtual Reality... (full context)
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Jon Snoddy agrees to get lunch with Randy, and before going to the meeting, Randy does 80 hours of homework about the Aladdin... (full context)
So, Randy takes his case to another dean, the Dean of Sponsored Research, and when Randy asks... (full context)
Chapter 12: The Park Is Open Until 8 p.m.
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In the summer of 2006, Randy’s medical odyssey begins, and doctors eventually discover that he has pancreatic cancer. A Google search... (full context)
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Randy is told he can benefit from a “Whipple operation,” a dangerous, complicated surgery that kills... (full context)
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On August 15th, 2007, Jai and Randy arrive at MD Anderson to go over the results of his latest scans with Randy’s... (full context)
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When Dr. Wolff shows up, Randy tells him that Jai and Randy already know the news. Jai is hysterical, and Dr.... (full context)
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When leaving the office, Randy remembers what he’d said to Jai the day before at the water park, after riding... (full context)
Chapter 13: The Man in the Convertible
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A while after he’s been diagnosed with cancer, Randy receives an email from Robbee Kosak, one of his colleagues at Carnegie Mellon. In the... (full context)
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...a lot to her, because it reminded her of what life is all about. Later, Randy re-reads Robbee’s email many times, coming to view it as “a feedback loop of sorts.”... (full context)
Chapter 14: The Dutch Uncle
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Randy has a healthy sense of self-worth and he tends to speak his mind and say... (full context)
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The Principal called Randy’s parents, and Randy’s mom said she would let Randy’s dad handle it. When he got... (full context)
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Looking back, Randy notes that Andy van Dam’s wording was perfect—he was basically telling Randy he was a... (full context)
Chapter 15: Pouring Soda in the Backseat
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In his twenties and thirties, Randy had no kids, so his niece and nephew, Laura and Chris, became the objects of... (full context)
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Randy says that when he would take his niece and nephew on adventures, there were only... (full context)
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Randy, reminiscing while writing the book, says he’s especially grateful that he was able to spend... (full context)
Chapter 16: Romancing the Brick Wall
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The most “formidable brick wall” Randy ever came across was 5’6” and beautiful, but it reduces him to tears and forces... (full context)
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Randy asked to see Jai for drinks after a faculty event, and she agreed. He thought... (full context)
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Randy says he’d fallen in love with Jai, even if she was still finding her way.... (full context)
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So, Randy supported Jai, spending his week teaching and hanging out in his office just up the... (full context)
Chapter 17: Not All Fairy Tales End Smoothly
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Jai and Randy get married on the lawn of a Victorian mansion in Pittsburgh, but rather than leaving... (full context)
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The whole time it drops, Randy calculates what direction he and Jai should dive out of the balloon to save themselves.... (full context)
Chapter 18: Lucy, I’m Home
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One day, while Randy is out, Jai accidentally crashes her car into Randy’s convertible, leaving both badly dented. She... (full context)
Chapter 19: A New Year’s Story
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It is always in your power to make things worse or better, and Randy learns this profoundly one New Year’s Eve. Jai is seven months pregnant with Dylan, their... (full context)
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They begin Jai’s C-section, and Randy decides to hold Jai’s hand tight and calmly explain everything that the doctor is doing... (full context)
Chapter 20: “In Fifty Years, It Never Came Up”
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After Randy’s father passes away in 2006, they go through his things. Randy finds many items that... (full context)
Chapter 21: Jai
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Randy talks a lot about Jai’s character, especially her strength, directness, and honesty. Early in their... (full context)
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Jai handles Randy relatively well, but since he has gotten sick she is learning to let stuff slide.... (full context)
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On Randy’s last New Years, he takes Dylan to go see the movie Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium,... (full context)
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Later that night, Randy is depressed, and Jai cheers him up by discussing all the wonderful things they’ve done... (full context)
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...things get tough, Jai tries to remember all the wonderful times early in their relationship—like Randy sending her flowers or bringing her huge stuffed animals to put in her office. Jai,... (full context)
Chapter 22: The Truth Can Set You Free
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Randy gets pulled over for speeding soon after moving to his new home in Virginia. When... (full context)
Chapter 23: I’m On My Honeymoon, But If You Need Me…
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When Jai sends Randy to buy groceries, he uses a self-scan machine. It malfunctions, and he accidentally pays $16.55... (full context)
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Randy lists off many pieces of advice regarding time management. First, it must be managed explicitly,... (full context)
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Randy is also a huge proponent of delegating. He says that it’s never too early to... (full context)
Chapter 24: A Recovering Jerk
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Randy says that his number one goal in being a teacher is teaching students to “learn... (full context)
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Most importantly, Randy sees it as the teacher’s duty to get kids to “judge for themselves how they’re... (full context)
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When Randy taught the “Building Virtual Worlds” class at Carnegie Melon, they did peer feedback every two... (full context)
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For example, in one course Randy taught, instead of showing them the full list, Randy only told students what quartile they... (full context)
Chapter 25: Training a Jedi
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...dreams is thrilling, but enabling the dreams of others might even be better, according to Randy. In 1993, Randy interviewed a student at the University of Virginia named Tommy Burnett to... (full context)
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Randy is tough on Tommy Burnett, and Tommy compares Randy to a demanding football coach. Tommy... (full context)
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A few years later, Tommy Burnett invites Randy and his students on a trip to Industrial Light & Magic, which is George Lucas’s... (full context)
Chapter 26: They Just Blew Me Away
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Randy says that his obsession with efficiency led him to wonder if he could help students... (full context)
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Randy was unsure, but he followed Andy Van Dam’s advice anyway, and it turned out to... (full context)
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Randy, along with Carnegie Mellon drama professor Don Marinelli, decided to take it up a notch... (full context)
Chapter 27: The Promised Land
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Randy says that enabling the dreams of others can happen one-on-one, fifty to a hundred people... (full context)
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...World was that it would never stop growing and changing, even after he died, and Randy has the same hopes for Alice. Alice’s lead designer is Dennis Cosgrove, one of Randy’s... (full context)
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During Randy’s last lecture, he mentions that he understands the story of Moses better, as he knows... (full context)
Chapter 28: Dream Big
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Randy first knew that pretty much anything was possible when he was eight years old and... (full context)
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However, when Randy got home a few weeks later, he found that his dad had taken a photo... (full context)
Chapter 29: Earnest Is Better Than Hip
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...is all about trying to impress from the surface. The perfect example of earnestness to Randy is being an Eagle Scout. Whenever he’s interviewing people and learns that they were an... (full context)
Chapter 30: Raising the White Flag
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Randy’s mom always calls him Randolph, even though he hates that name. As a teen, Randy... (full context)
Chapter 31: Let’s Make a Deal
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In grad school, Randy developed a habit of tipping back the chair at his dining room table. When Randy... (full context)
Chapter 32: Don’t Complain, Just Work Harder
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Randy thinks people spend far too much complaining about their problems, and should instead channel that... (full context)
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Randy’s favorite non-complainer is Jackie Robinson, who, as the first non-white baseball player, endured racism that... (full context)
Chapter 33: Treat the Disease, Not the Symptom
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When Randy was a young man, he dated a woman who was totally stressed about being a... (full context)
Chapter 34: Don’t Obsess Over What People Think
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Randy says that we’d all be 33% more effective if we stopped worrying what other people... (full context)
Chapter 35: Start By Sitting Together
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Randy says that being able to work well in a group is a vital and necessary... (full context)
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The last thing on Randy’s list is “Phrase alternatives as questions,” so that people can offer comments rather than A... (full context)
Chapter 36: Look for the Best in Everybody
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Randy got great advice once from Jon Snoddy, an Imagineer at Disney. “If you wait long... (full context)
Chapter 37: Watch What They Do, Not What They Say
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Randy wants his daughter Chloe to know that, pound for pound, his colleague once told him... (full context)
Chapter 38: If at First You Don’t Succeed…
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Randy loves clichés. Randy says educators shouldn’t shy away from clichés, because oftentimes young people haven’t... (full context)
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Randy also loves pop culture clichés, including Superman (“Truth, justice, and the American Way”), Rocky (“It’s... (full context)
Chapter 39: Be The First Penguin
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“Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.” Randy learns this expression during his sabbatical working at Electronic Arts, and he thinks it’s a... (full context)
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...are about to jump in water that might have predators, someone has to jump first. Randy notes that the entertainment industry is very different than building a house—sometimes a game will... (full context)
Chapter 40: Get People’s Attention
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Randy believes that engineers and scientists are often terrible at explaining complex tasks in simple ways,... (full context)
Chapter 41: The Lost Art of Thank-You Notes
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Despite Randy’s love of efficiency, he believes that thank-you notes should still be done with pen and... (full context)
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...and, though her application is good, it’s not quite good enough to get her in. Randy is about to reject her when he notices a handwritten thank-you note, not to Randy... (full context)
Chapter 42: Loyalty is a Two-Way Street
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When Dennis Cosgrove was a student at the University of Virginia, Randy was impressed by him. Dennis was an A-student in all his classes except Calculus, in... (full context)
Chapter 43: The Friday Night Solution
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When Randy gets tenure a year early and one of his colleagues asks him how he managed... (full context)
Chapter 44: Show Gratitude
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Not long after Randy gets tenure at the University of Virginia, he takes his whole fifteen-person research team to... (full context)
Chapter 45: Send Out Thin Mints
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Randy was an academic reviewer, which meant he had to ask other professors to read dense... (full context)
Chapter 46: All You Have Is What You Bring With You
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Randy has always felt the need to be prepared. When he was seven-years-old, Randy’s mom took... (full context)
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Randy has always admired people who are over-prepared. In college, Randy’s classmate Norman Meyrowitz was giving... (full context)
Chapter 47: A Bad Apology Is Worse Than No Apology
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In giving an apology, “any performance lower than an A doesn’t really cut it.” Randy says that working in groups in his classes was crucial, so arguments and friction were... (full context)
Chapter 48: Tell the Truth
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If Randy could only give three words of advice, they’d be “tell the truth,” and if he... (full context)
Chapter 49: Get In Touch with Your Crayon Box
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Randy has been accused of seeing things as black or white, and Randy admits that when... (full context)
Chapter 50: The $100,000 Salt and Pepper Shaker
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When Randy was 12 and his sister Tammy was 14, their parents brought them to Disney World... (full context)
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Randy and Tammy took the broken salt-and-pepper-shaker back to the store, told the truth, and the... (full context)
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When Randy later works at Disney, he tells them this story. He says that Disney made his... (full context)
Chapter 51: No Job Is Beneath You
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Randy laments the growing entitlement in young people today. His attitude is that kids should be... (full context)
Chapter 52: Know Where You Are
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The Disney Imagineers, including Mk Haley, the 27-year-old assigned to babysit Randy during his sabbatical, are skeptical about what value a professor can add to their operation.... (full context)
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However, when Randy figures out a way to save twenty seconds per guest by loading the ride differently,... (full context)
Chapter 53: Never Give Up
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When Randy is in high school, he applies to Brown University and doesn’t get in, but is... (full context)
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When Randy graduated from college, it never occurred to him to go to graduate school until Andy... (full context)
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Randy tells Andy Van Dam he’s decided to skip grad school and get a job, but... (full context)
Chapter 54: Be a Communitarian
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Randy says people’s rights should also come with responsibilities to their communities. Randy uses the example... (full context)
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Randy’s dad taught Randy this lesson when he was young, and he exemplified it as Little... (full context)
Chapter 55: All You Have to Do Is Ask
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On Randy’s dad’s last trip to Disney World, Randy, his dad, and Dylan were waiting for the... (full context)
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For example, Randy once got up the courage to contact Fred Brooks Jr., one of the most highly... (full context)
Chapter 56: Make a Decision: Tigger or Eeyore
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When Randy tells Carnegie Mellon’s president, Jared Cohon, that he is giving a last lecture, Jared urges... (full context)
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Recently, Randy went on a short scuba-diving vacation with three of his best friends: his high school... (full context)
Chapter 57: A Way to Understand Optimism
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After Randy learns of his cancer diagnosis, a doctor urges him to behave as if he’s going... (full context)
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Dr. Herbert Zeh, Randy’s surgeon in Pittsburgh, says he worries about patients who are too optimistic or ill-informed, but... (full context)
Chapter 58: The Input of Others
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Since Randy’s last lecture went viral on the internet, he’s heard from many people he had previously... (full context)
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Also, Randy has been buoyed by the good wishes of thousands of strangers. One woman recalls a... (full context)
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Randy also gets interviewed by Diane Sawyer after his lecture becomes popular, and Randy says that... (full context)
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Many people have written to Randy about matters of faith. Though Randy didn’t want to talk about faith during his lecture,... (full context)
Chapter 59: Dreams for My Children
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There are many things Randy wants to tell his children, but right now they’re too young to understand. Dylan is... (full context)
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Every night, Randy asks Logan the best and worst parts of his day, and to both he always... (full context)
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Lately, Randy has been interviewing people who lost their parents early in life. They’ve told Randy that... (full context)
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...get him out of the birth canal. Once Logan started moving, he never really stopped—in Randy’s mind, Logan is the ultimate Tigger, up for anything and befriending everyone. Randy predicts that... (full context)
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Given his limited time, Randy is building separate lists of memories of each of the kids, and making videos so... (full context)
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Randy thinks that parents having specific dreams for their kids can be disruptive and make the... (full context)
Chapter 60: Jai and Me
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Randy notes that caregivers often get pushed to the sidelines. So, during his Last Lecture, Randy... (full context)
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Randy says he feels lucky to have had cancer rather than having been hit with the... (full context)
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Randy is saddened that he won’t be there when the kids become teenagers, as he thinks... (full context)
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Sometimes, Jai tells Randy things he doesn’t know how to respond to—like that she can’t imagine Randy not there... (full context)
Chapter 61: The Dreams Will Come to You
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Before his lecture, Randy was worried he’d be too choked up to say the final lines. That day, he’d... (full context)
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Additionally, as a tech person, Randy never understood when actors and artists would say that things inside of them “needed to... (full context)
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Lastly, Randy goes to a slide that reads, “Have you figured out the second head fake?” Randy... (full context)