Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Last Lecture

Title: The Last Lecture
Author: Randy Pausch
Genre: Non-Fiction, Self-help
Pages: 206
Published: 2008
Date Finished: 28 May 2009
My Rating: 2 Stars
Challenges: 100+, New Author, Library, Non-Fiction 5

Self-help/advice books are the last genre of book I really have any interest in reading. I doubt I would have ever picked this book up if it had not been picked by my book group to read.
Why don't I like self-help books? Because in my opinion to often they take a one-size fits all approach to life. Do this, follow my advice and all your problems will be fixed, blah, blah, blah, etc, etc. Life is not a one-size fits all and there are many paths to happiness or fulfillment in life.
So why didn't Pausch's Last Lecture blow me out of the water and leave me feeling inspired to change the way I live my life? For starters, I don't think any of his advice or life lessons were all that new or revolutionary. Hasn't it all been said before? Didn't a lot of what he said equal common sense?
Secondly, there seemed to be an undertone of arrogance through out the book that just kinda bothered me. A lot of "look at how smart I am and what I've done with me life. I can carry $200 cash in my wallet all the time." But I think that arrogant tone is often a part of self-help books, a reason I don't like them. And frankly, there was a lot of advice he gave that I did not agree with.
Will I get struck by lightening for not loving this book and everything written in it? Am I a horrible person for saying bad things about a man who is dead? Maybe. But this book did not change my life or even make me think much about what he said beyond the conversation during book group. But then, I am pretty happy with my life even though I am not a genius, don't have lots of money, am not a famous professor and like to repair my cars when they are in accidents. The fact that I take care of the things I own does not make me materialistic or mean that I focus on unimportant things.
Do I think it is sad that Pausch died, leaving behind a young family? Of course. Do I think his optimism in the face of imminent death was pretty amazing. For sure. Self-help books just rub me the wrong way. Maybe if I'd read his story as a novel I would have been more moved.


Laura H said...

Yikes. I actually like this book. I listened to it on Cd and the reader was good too. I thought he was inspiring on the way he went after his dreams. I guess some it could sound arrogant but not enough to bother me.

Irish said...

We just done this book a couple of months ago in our book club and we had mixed reviews as well ......... As a Self-Help book I didn't mind it and found some of the stories really amusing eg Cars and the Balloon ... But a couple of girls did think like you in thought he was very arrogant and got everything handed to him ..... I didn't hate the book but I didn't love it either ..... At least it was better than Eat, Pray, Love which I felt like throwing at the wall .......

Natasha @ Maw Books said...

Hmmm . . . somebody told me that they LOVED this book. Now I'm curious.

Donna said...

I read this book a few months ago and I found it wonderfully inspiring. Some of his insight was familiar, and some of it was new to me and made me think about things differently. I gave it to my husband to read too and even he liked it! I saw the book as more of a memoir than a self-help book...kind of a good combination of both.

Lahni said...

AMEN! Everyone else I've talked to has loved this book and I'm glad to find someone who agrees with my thoughts on it!