Leadership Books

The Last Lecture
The Last Lecture

I get it. There is only so much a person can read. We can’t do it all. Right there with you. And, many of us received new books as gifts recently.

What books changed your life last year?

There were a few for me.  Two had significant impact.

Up first, The Last Lecture, by Randy Pausch.  Randy was a Carnegie Mellon computer science professor, in his mid-40’s.  He had a wife and three children under the age of six.

Then he got pancreatic cancer.

To paraphrase what I heard Randy say:

This isn’t a book about dying. It’s a book about living.

It isn’t a book for you and me. It is a book for Randy Pausch’s children.

How did this book change my life?

It is in living in the moment that makes us great leaders. Doing things – things that matter – with a heightened sense of urgency has changed my life.  I’ll tell you why tomorrow.

By jeff noel

Retired Disney Institute Keynote Speaker and Prolific Blogger. Five daily, differently-themed personal blogs (about life's 5 big choices) on five interconnected sites.


  1. We are all dying. Randy didn’t show us how to die, he showed us how to live. Great book. Thanks for reminding us.

  2. Indeed we are, Mike, indeed we are. Glad you said it. It validates the truth that most of us hide from – the fact that no one lives forever.

    So here’s my angle on the whole thing. Randy Pausch inspired millions, and part of me says it’s because he got “sympathy votes”. You know, people feeling sorry for a man with three young children with only a feel months left to live.

    I cast that vote. Randy deserved millions of those votes, because, unlike others in similar situations, he was able to use it for good.

    The saddest news of all though is that as humans, we move on to the next thing that catches our emotional attention.

    What I’m attempting to do, is keep his torch (our torch really) burning and find meaningful ways to encourage others to consider living like they are dying.

    Why? Because we are.

  3. Jeff,

    Happy New Year!

    Read an amazing book over the holidays.

    “The Speed of Trust” by Stephen M.R. Covey.

    Tremendous wisdom for us all.


  4. Drew, nice to see you here. Thanks for your visit & your comment.

    Is there an hypothesis you could share?

    The reality for most of us, especially us slower readers, is that we can’t read as many great books as we’d like.

    Love Covey’s work. I no longer wear a watch. Use a compass to manage my time, or at least try to.

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