Reading a book has the potential to alter the way we behave. This can be a gift. It can also be a curse.
The Last Lecture, by Randy Pausch, was a gift.
Randy’s book helped me see the same things I always see, in a completely different light.
It was in the contemplative moments, inspired by his news, “You have about six months to live”, that really helped me see a blind spot.
A blind spot that most humans share.
Putting important things off because they are not urgent.
Health. Family. Spirit. Life. Legacy.
What does this have to do with leadership?
Do I really have to explain it? Because if I do, it worries me that you still might not get it.
You will eventually, but what if someone disconnects your phone?
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.