The Last Lecture

The Last Lecture


Randy Pausch

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The Last Lecture: Chapter 45 Summary & Analysis

Randy was an academic reviewer, which meant he had to ask other professors to read dense research papers and review them. Because this is tedious work, Randy came up with the idea to send a box of Girl Scout Thin Mints with every paper, along with the caveat “The enclosed Thin Mints are your reward. But no fair eating them until you review the paper.” Randy never had to call and nag—the Thin Mints were a constant reminder of what they had to do. And even when Randy had to send a reminder email, he’d just ask, “Did you eat the Thin Mints yet?” Randy finds Thin Mints a great communication tool, as well as a sweet reward for a job well done.
The box of Girl Scout Thin Mints cookies is an example of Randy showing gratitude. More than that, though, the cookies incentivize quick reviews of papers by making the people reviewing the papers think about entitlement vs. earning. The reviewers want the cookies, but the fact that Randy explicitly sent them as a reward makes them understand that they must earn the cookies rather than feeling entitled to eat them before they do their work.
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