The Last Lecture

The Last Lecture

The Last Lecture Chapter 46 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Randy has always felt the need to be prepared. When he was seven-years-old, Randy’s mom took him to the grocery store, and when they got to the checkout counter she realized she’d forgotten something and ran back to grab it. While she was gone, Randy loaded everything onto the counter and the Cashier jokingly asked young Randy, “Do you have money for me, son?” Randy didn’t realize she was joking and became mortified, yelling at his mom when she got back for not leaving him with any money. Now, as an adult, Randy goes nowhere without $200 in his wallet, because he’d always rather be prepared.
Randy uses the obstacle of his childhood embarrassment as an opportunity to change his behavior as an adult and never allow this situation to happen to him again. Randy learns from this situation and takes on the positive action of always having cash on him no matter where he goes.
Themes
Obstacles as Opportunities Theme Icon
Attitude and Positive Behavior Theme Icon
Randy has always admired people who are over-prepared. In college, Randy’s classmate Norman Meyrowitz was giving a presentation when a light bulb on the projector blew out. There was a groan from the audience, until Norm took a spare bulb out of his backpack and installed it. Randy’s Professor, Andy Van Dam, leaned over and told Randy “This guy is going places,” which turned out to be true. Randy says that one way to be prepared is to think negatively, always anticipating the worst-case scenario, which Randy calls the “Eaten By Wolves Factor.” Randy says one thing that makes it possible to be an optimist is to have contingency plans just in case all hell breaks loose. Randy urges people to imagine the wolves out there—“take money. Bring your repair kit… pack a light bulb. Be prepared.”
One way to be positive and proactive is to envision negative scenarios, and prepare for ways to counteract them, just like Norm Meyrowitz did by bringing a projector bulb to class. This obstacle of a possible blowout presented Norm with an opportunity to show just how prepared he was.
Themes
Obstacles as Opportunities Theme Icon
Attitude and Positive Behavior Theme Icon