The Last Lecture is a New York Times best seller book co-authored by Randy Pausch, a professor of computer science and design at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Jeffery Zaslow of the Wall Street Journal. The book was based on a lecture Pausch gave in September 2007.
Pausch delivered his "Last Lecture", titled Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams, at Carnegie Mellon on September 18, 2007. This talk was modelled after an ongoing series of lectures where top academics are asked to think deeply about what matters to them, and then give a hypothetical "final talk," i.e., "what wisdom would you try to impart to the world if you knew it was your last chance?"
A month before giving the lecture, Pausch had received news that the pancreatic cancer he had been diagnosed with a year earlier was now terminal. Before speaking, Pausch received a long standing ovation from a large crowd of over 400 colleagues and students. When he motioned them to sit down, saying, "Make me earn it." During the lecture Pausch was upbeat and humorous, shrugging off the pity often given to those diagnosed with terminal illness. At one point, to prove his own vitality, Pausch dropped down and did push-ups on stage.
The Last Lecture speaks about Pausch's lecture and discusses everything he wanted his children to know after the cancer took his life. It includes stories of his childhood, lessons he wants his children to learn, and things he wants his children to know about him. He repeatedly stresses that one should have fun in everything one does, that one should live life to its fullest because one never knows when it might be taken (Wikipedia, 2011).