Randy Pausch, author of “Last Lecture,” dies at 47

Lest anyone wonder about the power of the internet as a medium in which to be heard, Randy Pausch’s “Last Lecture,” initially titled “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams,” surfaced on YouTube last year. The lecture, which Pausch hoped would eventually find its way to his young children, since he had been diagnosed with terminal cancer, wound up with nearly 3.5 million views and became a bestselling book.

From the Scientific American:

A month after hearing the dreadful news, on September 18, 2007, Pausch delivered the lecture that would become his legacy. He regaled students and colleagues with a tour that was both heart-wrenching and amusing of his attempts to live out his childhood fantasies. Some he managed to pull off: experiencing zero-gravity, helping to design attractions for Disney World by participating in its Imagineering program and writing an entry in the World Book encyclopedia–on virtual reality, his expertise. Others didn’t come true, such as becoming a pro football player. He alluded to teaching as a way of helping students live out their dreams.

The video of his last class, which came to be known as “The Last Lecture” and surfaced on YouTube late-last year, has been viewed nearly 3.5 million times. The lecture became a best-selling book with the same title.

But Pausch told his students that it was his children – Dylan, 6, Logan, 3, and Chloe, 2 – for whom the speech was really intended.

“I knew what I was doing that day,” he wrote in the introduction to his book. “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.”

That’s here.

Pausch died yesterday at the age of 47; the lecture views are now up to 4.3 million. We’ve embedded it below; the video is over an hour long, so set some time aside for it.

Past Posts