Chapter 48 Summary

Tell the Truth

If Pausch only gets to offer three words of advice for everyone, they would be “tell the truth.” If he gets to add three more words, he will add “all the time.” His parents taught him that a person is only as good as his word, and that is the best way Pausch knows how to say it.

Not only is honesty a moral imperative, it is also efficient. In an environment where everyone tells the truth, no one has to spend time double-checking or verifying claims of truth. Pausch loves the University of Virginia honor code. If a student has been sick and needs to make up an exam, Pausch does not have to create a second exam because the student “pledges” that he has not spoken to anyone about the exam that he missed.

There are lots of reasons why people choose to lie, mostly because they feel like they may get what they want with less effort if they tell an untruth. Though it may be effective in the short-term, it is never effective in the long-term. People remember when they have been lied to, and that is something they do not generally keep to themselves. It is stunning to Pausch that so many people think they get away with a lie when, in fact, they do not.