I think most everyone makes some sort of resolution
each January. It may be large or small, but beneath each resolution
lies the implicit idea that we hope to make ourselves better people
and improve our lives in the coming year. It may be personal or
it may involve the entire world, but the idea is to make a change
for the better. (At least, I think it is, because I've never heard
anyone resolve to eat more chocolate, pray for conflict or to become
a nastier person. That would be... weird.)
Anyway, I usually recommend a variety of books to
kick off the New Year, but this year I'm recommending one single
book, one that might help you stick to your resolutions.
Randy Pausch become a world-wide phenomenon when his
Last Lecture to students at Carnegie Mellon University was posted
on YouTube. The idea of a last lecture—a lecture intended
as if it were the last a professor were to give—was not new,
but Pausch's position as a terminally ill cancer patient gave greater
meaning to his words. The simplicity and sense of humor that he
displayed while talking about overcoming obstacles resonated with
millions of people and someone was smart enough to put it all into
The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch and Jeffrey Zaslow is
one of those books that you might read once, but will more likely
read about fifty times, deriving new meaning from it each time.
It's essentially an extension and fuller version of his speech,
talking about how to achieve your dreams, the importance of pursuing
those dreams and how to get through the tough times in life. Nothing
ground breaking for sure, but just some simple, funny anecdotes
and advice from a guy who loved living his life.
The book takes on an even greater poignancy now that
Pausch has passed away since the book's publication.
So here's what I'm proposing to you in 2009. Get the
book. Read the book. Keep it close at hand. Take a moment to read
a page or two, each day or each week or each month. When you're
thinking about your resolutions, maybe worrying about an obstacle
in your path, go back to those pages. When you feel yourself falling
away from the resolutions, use the book as a resource to find your
back on track.
Or even better - buy the book and give it to a friend.
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