Randy Pausch是美国卡内基梅隆大学的计算机科学、人机交互及设计教授。2006年9月,他被诊断患有胰腺癌。2007年9月18日,他在卡内基梅隆大学做了一场风靡全美的“最后的演讲”,根据这次演讲,他出版的“The Last Lecture”一书则成为亚马逊网站上最为畅销的书籍之一。

The Last Lecture
Carnegie Mello
Last Lecture Series

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A lot of professors give talks titled "The Last Lecture." Maybe you've seen one. It has become a common exercise on college campuses. Professors are asked to consider their demise and to ruminate on what matters most to them. And while they speak, audiences can't help but mull the same question: What wisdom would we impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance? If we had to vanish tomorrow, what would we want as our legacy? For years, Carnegie Mellon had a "Last Lecture Series." But by the time organizers got around to asking me to do it, they’d renamed their series "Journeys," asking selected professors "to offer reflections on their personal and professional journeys." It wasn't the most exciting description, but I agreed to go with it. I was given the September slot. At the time, I already had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, but I was optimistic. Maybe I'd be among the lucky ones who'd survive. While I went through treatment, those running the lecture series kept sending me emails. "What will you be talking about?" they asked. "Please provide an abstract." There's a formality in academia that can't be ignored, even if a man is busy with other things, like trying not to die. By mid-August, I was told that a poster for the lecture had to be printed, so I'd have to decide on a topic. That very week, however, I got the news: My most recent treatment hadn't worked. I had just months to live.