I've been listening to The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch, though strangely not narrated by him. Given his short time, I guess that's not too surprising.
I'm a bit disappointed in it. I was hoping to gain some deep insight, but what I'm hearing is obvious wisdom presented as some sort of self-help book. I'm not done listening yet, but I don't think it will get better.
I have a ton of respect for the man, don't get me wrong. It's just that his Last Lecture is, so far, nothing new. I've heard all this before.
I do think it's funny that he hates his name so much he returned his mother's letters unopened. He doesn't care what his car looks like or how he dresses, but the name "Randolph" is so offensive that he's willing to alienate his mother. I don't know.. I just found that amusing.
I also don't like his emphasis on competition. We spend SO much time teaching our kids to be competitive through sports, video games, and even education. Why is this good? Well, it's good because it forces kids to be their best.. but I think cooperation is a much more difficult thing to learn and we should spend at least as much time on that. And I don't mean pseudo-cooperation like team sports, I mean actual cooperation, where the efforts of the group can do more than the efforts of each individual. These things exist, but they often end up being competitions in themselves.
Take band for example. It's cooperative group activity, but it ends up being that there are fist seats, second seats, third seats.. and everyone competes for those. What would happen if those were randomly chosen and the group worked to make them sound as good as possible? I think the answer is that the band wouldn't sound as good, but the kids would learn more cooperation. Which is more important?
So my hat is definitely off to the guy, but I think the hype is overblown. If the rest convinces me otherwise I'll let you know.