Like many people — millions of them, in fact — I was mesmerized by Carnegie Mellon computer science professor Randy Pausch’s now-famous “Last Lecture,” a video clip that began making the rounds on YouTube last September. I saw mention of it on Metafilter just a few days after he gave it, and eventually he wound up on Oprah and half a dozen other TV shows, and his lecture was even turned into a book (he dictated it over the phone to a Wall Street Journal writer).
Why? There’s nothing magical in it, particularly; just Randy talking about his life and how he learned to achieve his dreams of working for Disney (which he did) and flying in space (which he sort of did by riding the Vomit Comet). But I found it incredibly inspiring — in part because of the sheer joy he seemed to take in his life, even though he knew he was dying of pancreatic cancer, but also because of how he talks about the people who motivated and inspired him.
It is honest and funny and touching. I highly recommend that you take 45 minutes or so and watch the whole thing.