Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Rules for Success

Randy Pausch, a CS professor at CMU, passed away on Friday. That gave me the impetus to watch his famous last lecture video. You should really take the time to watch it if you haven't already.

Pausch talks mostly about childhood dreams. Makes one think about my own childhood dreams: Alas, someone else beat me to Fermat's last theorem and driving the A-train doesn't seem as exciting now as it did to the 5-year old me.

But Pausch's talk really emphasizes his simple keys to success:

  • Make the right connections.
  • Be Persistent.
  • Be Patient.
  • Work Hard.
Now those are rules to live by.


  1. How much of his advice applies to entrepreneurs? Some of it seems aimed at people wanting to be employees rather than self-employed.

  2. Where can one find the full version of his talk (video or transcript)?

  3. Despite hearing about this lecture from pretty much everyone I know, I'd resisted watching it until now, since I could never stomach the Oprahistic concept of a dying man sharing some ultimate wisdom about life. And I still can't stomach that concept, but nevertheless, this was a great lecture in many ways.

    I liked Pausch's withering rejection of herbal and new-age cures. I liked what his mom told him when he complained about how hard his theory quals were: "at your age, your father was fighting the Germans." But most of all, I liked Pausch's departure from one the central conventions of this genre. This is not a dying man telling people to spend less time at the office, since he now understands that worldly success is just a chimera anyway. This is a dying man telling people to spend more time at the office if that's what's needed, to jump over brick walls, since achieving their ambitions in life is actually important.

  4. I changed the youtube link above to the full lecture.