He is a man with a great deal of vitality as well as common sense. The wisdom he offers is useful stuff: how to go forward when you hit a brick wall; how to work well in teams; how to be self-reflective and honest with yourself; how to realize your dreams.
Before I learned to accept it about myself, I used to despair over my own earnestness, so I cheered when I read: "I'll take an earnest person over a hip person every time, because hip is short-term. Earnest is long-term. Earnestness is highly underestimated. It comes from the core, while hip is trying to impress you with the surface."
Pausch admits that he was a jerk when he was a young man. When warranted, he gives his students the kind of advice he was given that helped shape him into a better person. "I know you're smart. But everyone here is smart. Smart isn't enough. The kind of people I want on my research team are those who will help everyone else feel happy to be here." Hooray to that as well.
"I came to a realization very early in my life. As I see it, there's a decision we all have to make, and it seems perfectly captured in the Winnie-the-Pooh characters created by A.A. Milne. Each of us must decide: Am I a fun-loving Tigger or am I a sad-sack Eeyore? Pick a camp." Pausch is clearly a Tigger, showing us how to grab life by the tail.