The Last Lecture

The Last Lecture

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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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“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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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)