Picks and Pans Review: The Last Lecture

updated 04/21/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/21/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Randy Pausch | [

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REVIEWED BY CAROLINE LEAVITT

NONFICTION

Living-life-to-the-fullest books can get maudlin, but Pausch's shimmering volume is as bracingly pragmatic as it is inspiring. A Carnegie Mellon professor of computer science, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in '06; in August '07 he was given three to six months to live. Insisting on still having fun, Pausch gave a lecture at the university about achieving childhood dreams, a talk so moving that videos of it popped up all over the Internet. Expanded into a book, Pausch's lessons are simple: Dream big. Be grateful. Have humor and use your time well. Nothing groundbreaking, but the author's voice is so smart, funny and frank that it seems like deep wisdom. This isn't so much a book to help others (though it will) as it is a remembrance for his three kids: lessons of a remarkable life well lived—and well loved.

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