The Last Lecture

The Last Lecture

The Last Lecture Chapter 8 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Randy loves living in the computer age, but the world he grew up in was very different: in 1960, paper was where great knowledge was located. Through the 60’s and 70’s, though his parents were frugal and rarely purchased anything, Randy’s house never failed to have an up-to-date copy of the World Book Encyclopedia, and Randy loved to read it. So, one of his dreams was to one day become a World Book contributor—but you can’t ask to be one, they have to come find you.
Having a dream of writing an entry in the World Book Encyclopedia is a perfect example of having to earn your dreams rather than be entitled to them—you can’t sweet-talk your way into the World Book, you have to be an expert of some renown and the Encyclopedia’s editors have to come to you for your expertise. There’s no way into the World Book other than hard work.
Themes
Dreams in Reality Theme Icon
Entitlement vs. Earning Theme Icon
One day, after Randy is a professor of some renown, World Book calls Randy and asks if he’d like to write their entry on virtual reality. Randy accepts, writes his entry (which includes a photo of his student Caitlin Kelleher wearing a V.R. headset) and the World Book accepts it, never editing or questioning a word he wrote. Sometimes, Randy says, when he’s in a library with his kids, he can’t help but look up the “V” volume and show his kids what he wrote.
Randy earned his way into the World Book by putting his dream of writing an entry on the backburner while he became a renowned virtual reality expert. Because he put in the hard work to become a virtual reality expert, the editors of the World Book came to him to ask him to write an entry (much in the same way, near the end of the book, Randy will argue that dreams come to you if you live your life the right way.)
Themes
Dreams in Reality Theme Icon
Entitlement vs. Earning Theme Icon