Head Fake

As a parent I have more than a passing interest in this talk. This “famous” last lecture of Randy Pausch in 2007 has been cited as “inspirational” by many. I beg to differ.

Yes, you have to be impressed with a man in the last months of terminal cancer being this upbeat and positive to the last. I am impressed. And amongst all the private in-jokes for his geek friends in Virtual Reality at Carnegie Mellon, which one can indulge given that context, his message about following your dreams, is really a message about living life. Learning through the fun of doing creative things and living life the right way, with honesty, integrity, trust, loyalty, saying thank you and sorry, and of course hard-work. Hard work verging well over into workaholism, if his response is this boastful, “well if you wanna know, call me at 10pm in the office any day”. That message is at odds with the real “head fake” here – that this really is a message for his kids, not the faculty attending his last lecture.

If you want an inspirational lecture (pre YouTube and TED – yes, you have to read it) for kids, the future in general, as well as one’s own try this commencement address, from Richard Russo in 2004. But perhaps I should have head-faked that too ?

(“Head-fake” is the idea that doing fun creative things IS learning … you don’t have to be explicit in who or what is being learned and taught.)

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