The Katana: Randy Pausch and Basketballs 12/21

Basketballs For Chinatown Rec Center!

Randy Pausch made a difference.  He was a Computer Science Professor at Carnegie Mellon who died of liver cancer at 48.  Before he died, Randy left a heartfelt video full of inspiration for us all to appreciate.  More importantly, however, was his message to his wife and three kids.

The most memorable quote from the video is when people ask Randy what’s his secret to obtaining tenure so early.  Randy responds, “Call my office at 10 o’clock on a Friday night and I’ll tell you.”

Why more young folks don’t come in first and leave last I don’t understand. If you’re not showing your work ethic and inquisitive spirit from the get-go, you aren’t going places.  Unless you know everything, work longer than everybody else, work harder than everybody else, succeed like nobody else!

Thanks to reader suggestions, we’re spending the $500 on more kids, rather than less, and in piece-meal amounts.  Our local recreation director mentioned they just got a $1,000 grant and suggested we look at a higher traffic center such as the one in Chinatown, so we did.  $200 down, $300 to go!


“When you are doing something badly and no one’s bothering to tell you anymore, that’s a very bad place to be. Your critics are the ones still telling you they love you and care.”

“Don’t complain, Just work harder.  (Pointing at his screen) That’s a picture of Jackie Robinson. It was in his contract not to complain, even when the fans spit on him. You can spend it complaining or playing the game hard.

“It is not about achieving your dreams but living your life. If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself, the dreams will come to you.”

“Better to fail spectacularly than do something mediocre.”

“You just have to decide if you’re a Tigger or an Eeyore.”

“Be prepared. Luck is truly where preparation meets opportunity.”


* “Seven Zen Principles to Guide Your Money And Your Life” by Flexo is a fantastic post about a garden, and its teachings right here in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco.  This would be the perfect guest post given the theme!

* “I Don’t Get Personal Finance Blogging” rants Evan.  He’s perplexed as to why some sites and topics go ignored, and why some mundane topics such as “How He Wraps Presents” gets all the comments.  Some very good commentary.

* “Debt Snow Ball To Pay 401K Loan or High Interest Loan” from Jeff does a thorough analysis of his dilemma.  The thing is, paying off your 401K loan is just paying yourself back i.e. no real change.  So, as Jeff rightly concludes, pay your higher interest loans first.


Financial Samurai – “Slicing Through Money’s Mysteries”

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Sam started Financial Samurai in 2009 during the depths of the financial crisis as a way to make sense of chaos. After 13 years working on Wall Street, Sam decided to retire in 2012 to utilize everything he learned in business school to focus on online entrepreneurship. Sam focuses on helping readers build more income in real estate, investing, entrepreneurship, and alternative investments in order to achieve financial independence sooner, rather than later.

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  1. Charlie says

    I LOVE this lecture. I cry everytime I listen to it. He has some of the best wisdom and advice that I’ve heard out there. It’s so sad that he isn’t there to be with his family anymore, but what an amazing legacy he left! Thanks for reminding me about his speech – it’s a great way to start the day!

  2. Tracy says

    When I first saw Randy Pausch’s last lecture, I cried. I guess a lot of other people did, too. A colleague of mine is hoping to survive through Christmas, as he struggles with a very rare form of cancer. At his emergency retirement dinner the other night, we shared a bitter sweet look at his career (which was impressive) and remembered how much we have all shared over the years. It is so important to appreciate and get the most out of life each precious day, and try not to sweat the petty stuff. Thanks for the review of this great man’s lessons. And thanks for taking care of those kids with your generous donations.

  3. says

    Thank you for the mention. I wrote that post as a way to show how and why UL policies usually don’t work. I’m a strong proponent of a great whole life policy.

    As for the blog carnivals here’s the website I use when I remember to submit posts, I usually end up getting busy and forget. We all have things we need to work on.
    .-= Evolution Of Wealth´s last blog ..Universal Life Holes =-.

  4. says

    @Evolution Of Wealth
    No prob. Thanks for the Blog Carnival link. DANG, that’s a lot of Carnivals! Is the strategy to just submit to the most popular ones i guess? I should probably try and submit to some carnivals, but I’m wondering if I can just stick with my weekly or bi-weekly wrap and just keep something going this way. Who’s got the time?

    Do you know anything about annuities btw? Let’s say I buy a $100,000 annuity paying 4% today for guaranteed payments in the future. If I die before the future date, does the insurance company get to keep all the money? Do I not have an option to bequeath the monies to someone of my choosing?

    I like the idea of a “great” whole life insurance policy too, I just want to spend my disposable income on other investments.

  5. says

    For blog carnivals I try to submit to all the carnivals that end soon when I go to the site. I don’t think there is a way to tell the popular ones on the site.

    In regards to your annuity question. I don’t want to go into too much because I don’t know that this is the place. Feel free to e-mail me. What I will say quickly is there are two type immediate (draw income within 1 year) and deferred. Against popular belief, immediate annuities can have a type of death benefit when set up properly. Deferred annuities always have some type of death benefit feature up to annuitization (turn into income stream) then see immediate annuity.

    Hope that helps. Please let me know if you have any questions.
    .-= Evolution Of Wealth´s last blog ..Universal Life Holes =-.

  6. says

    @Evolution Of Wealth
    Gotcha, sounds good. For the Carnivals, it’s almost as if I need an assistant to do submissions and stuff! lol.

    Thnx for the info on annuities. May follow up in an e-mail. This is definitely the place for any type of comments regarding the subjects in the post. And since there are so many subjects, almost anything goes!

  7. says

    It really is sad :( But it’s uplifting how he kept such positive spirit until the very end. 48 is so young, too early to die. I’ve watched this video maybe 8X now. It’s such a good reminder to keep living fully.

    Oh no, sorry to hear about your colleague. I’m glad you were able to share your memories and time with him. Here’s to him, and to you for take the initiative to write about things that matter to you!

  8. Tooth White says

    What a good blog you have here. I am a massive fan of the festive season and with a little more free time I love to browse the internet. I have bookmarked your site and plan on coming back again soon. In times past we would kill time and expand our knowledge by reading the daily newspapers, nowadays I would encourage everyone to read random blog posts each day and gain a personal insight into unique subjects and fascinating ramblings. Keep up your great blog posts.

  9. says

    Thanks for the mention!

    As for your annuity question, it all depends on the product. Some products allow for monthly payments for life with return of investment, some products have guaranteed 10 or 20 pay which means you only get payments for 10/20 years, but if you die before year 20 your beneficiary will get the remaining payments.

    If Life Insurance is a bet you’ll die, Annuities are a bet that you’ll live longer than the insurance company thinks you will lol
    .-= Evan´s last blog ..Traditional and Non-Traditional Ways to Access Large Amounts of Liquid Cash =-.

  10. says

    No prob Evan. So if I get guaranteed payments of 10 years, I can get my principal back right? Or, does the insurance company just keep the money?

    Good way of thinking about Annuities. Seems like a waste of money for those who have financial means to invest in other instruments.

  11. says

    Every company has an array of products so there is no one set answer (I know its not a great answer lol).

    Annuities are a great product DEPENDING on your goals and aspirations. Annuity sales went NUTTY when people freaked out about the market because it shifts the risk from the individual to the insurance company.

    If your goal is to turn your investments (or a part thereof) into a stream of income it is an option…may not be the best one depending on the particular product and/or your health.
    .-= Evan´s last blog ..I Don’t Think I Get PF Blogging =-.

  12. Suzan says

    Samurai, Thank you for doing what you are doing! Good job on getting readers’ suggestions and made the best use of your award money! A big “THANK YOU” to you for all the wonderful advices you’ve given. Suzan

  13. says

    I love that video. Actually bought the book for my mom when she was diagnosed with cancer. It’s sad, but uplifting.

    In re to “Why more young folks don’t come in first and leave last I don’t understand. ”

    Interestingly enough, a lot of bosses don’t view it that way (thankfully! :]). My boss and I talked about how a lot of college kids will come out of school and do that, and then we will sit around and talk about who is ready for a “stretch” assignment (a role that will stretch their limits and help them grow). More times than not the people working 70 hour weeks give off the impression that they can not get the work done in a timely fashion.

    My favorite quote that encompasses what I just said is, “Don’t confuse effort with results.” I tell that to all of the college hires that enter the company. I don’t care if they work 40 hour weeks or 70 hour weeks. As long as I can’t see a difference in the quality I don’t care.
    .-= MLR´s last blog ..General Tips to Avoid Fast Depreciation =-.

  14. says

    I need to listen to his lecture. I’ve heard all about it, but just haven’t found time. Sounds like I will need to listen to it this week on my day off.

    And Baker’s lecture with Gary – I didn’t realize it was all inspirational. Will have to listen to it.

    Darn, i am missing out. I need to take time to listen to all this stuff. Thanks for the great links. There are many cool ones in this mix.
    .-= Money Funk´s last blog ..Menu Plan Monday =-.

  15. kosmo @ The Casual Observer says

    The part of your post that I really liked? The guy at your local rec center passing up your gift and allowing it to go to a center with a greater need.
    .-= kosmo @ The Casual Observer´s last blog ..A Crazy Plan =-.

  16. says

    From my point of view it’s not about working longer, it’s about learning and showing your inquisitive mind. If you’re working a SINGLE DIGIT workday, it shows me you aren’t as inquisitive as I hoped.

    There’s a never ending amount of learning in my business, that doesn’t stop when one goes home. Yes, I’d like an efficient person to get everything done sooner, rather than longer, but it’s not feasible in my business.

  17. says

    @kosmo @ The Casual Observer
    Yeah, it was nice of him to be so straight up with me. They are ALL apart of the San Francisco Parks & Recreation Center, so they’re looking out for each other.

    @Money Funk
    You should DEFINITELY allocate 50 minutes of your time this week to watch his video in this post. I’m telling you, it will move you and change the way you look at things. It’s absolutely one of the best videos about the human spirit around.

    Agreed. It makes you think about what’s really important. There’s no number crunching or calculations, but yet, it very well could be the best PF book around.

    Thank you for continuing to come visit the site!

    Carpe diem indeed, but I have to admit, I’m scared to be a little too carpe diem before I have my nut saved. Carpe diem within reason I guess!

  18. HollyP says

    I’m surprised to hear that Prof. Pausch had children but still advocated such a long workday. You won’t find me at the office at 10 pm on a Friday evening. I enjoy my job, but I’d rather spend time with my family.

  19. says

    Ah, without knowing your line of work, I guess I can’t comment.

    In my line of work, you’d be hard pressed to be working constantly for 10-12 hour days (as long as staffing is correct!).

    The people who work for 8-9 hours and are time-counters make themselves very obvious by the results. The people who come in, jump in head first, create organizational impact, and get results are very obvious, too. They live and breath one of our adopted mottos “Act Now. Do It Today. Get Results.” In my new job role, I have probably gotten more done in the past 6 months then some people have done in multiple years!
    .-= MLR´s last blog ..Last Minute Xmas Shopping Advice =-.

  20. says

    @HollyP: He clarifies it in an interview published in Time magazine:,9171,1729708-2,00.html

    “You mention in your lecture that one of the keys to success is working extra hard. But shouldn’t life have a balance? —Claire Morris in Arlington, VA
    The thing I wish I’d clarified in the lecture is that was when I was single. Once I got married and had kids you would not find me in my office at 10pm.”

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