The Last Lecture Chapters 32-34 Summary & Analysis

Randy Pausch

The Last Lecture

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The Last Lecture Chapters 32-34 Summary & Analysis

Chapters 32 – 34

These chapters are very brief illustrations of some of Randy’s beliefs, illustrated by examples. The first offers this advice: “Don’t complain, just work harder” (138). He reflects on a landlord he had during graduate school who became a quadriplegic. Although Sandy had a lot he could complain about, he approached life in a very matter-of-fact fashion and worked to overcome the obstacles in front of him. Randy equates Sandy’s attitude with MLB player, Jackie Robinson, who did not turn negative or bitter despite the awful racial prejudice he faced in the big league. HIs lesson for this chapter is that “Complaining does not work as a strategy. We all have finite time and energy. Any time we spend whining is unlikely to help us achieve our goals. And it won’t make us happier” (139).

In the next chapter, Randy introduces us to a woman who was overwhelmed by stressful debt. “To deal with her stress, she would go every Tuesday and Thursday night to a meditation and yoga class” (140). Randy argues that it would be more practical to deal with “the disease, and not the symptom”, by getting a part-time job on those nights she usually went to yoga and using the money to pay off her debt. In other words, work to fix the real problem, not find ways to mask the symptoms of the problem.

Finally, in Chapter 34, Randy offers the reader direct advice about not “ over what people think” (141) and how he used this wisdom with his students and colleagues, assuring them that he would always let them know what he was thinking out loud.

Chapters 32-34 Analysis

These short chapters offer more important lessons about how to live simply. Often people put more stress on themselves than necessary and this can either freeze us or distract us from accomplishing our dreams. Whether we are literally paralyzed, under financial burden or fearful of others’ opinions, all of these problems are mostly psychological, meaning that there are more practical ways to work with these problems. Because the bulk of this book focuses on the…

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