Tuesdays with Morrie – an old man, a young man and life’s greatest lesson
written by Mitch Albom, published by Doubleday
genre autobiography, 192 pages
A friend warmly recommended Tuesdays with Morrie to me, he said it’s one of the most wonderful and inspiring books he’d ever read. I bought the book and read it within just a couple of hours. That’s how Morrie came into my life, and I’m sure he’ll never leave.
The story in short
This book is the final thesis Mitch Albom writes for his old professor Morrie Schwartz. Unfortunately Morrie has ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, and knows the end of his life is nearing. Morrie’s body is getting weaker every day. Despite this horrible disease Morrie focuses on the little joys that are left in his life, he surrounds himself with the people he loves and feels blessed for having the time to say goodbye.
One of his many visitors is Mitch, a former student who accidentally hears about the circumstances of his old professor when Ted Koppel of ABC-tv’s Nightline interviews Morrie for the first time*. After the show Mitch travels to West Newton to say goodbye to his ‘coach’, as he used to call Morrie, not knowing that this visit will be the start of the last class Morrie will ever teach; once a week by a window in his home study, discussing ‘the Meaning of life’. For this class no books are needed, the lessons are taught from experience. The class meets on Tuesdays.
Morrie & Mitch | picture by Heather Pillar
Of course I’ve never known Morrie personally, but it’s clear to me the book breathes his voice, his passion and his positivism, which makes the content even more inspirational. I guess it’s impossible to honor a man like him and to write a book review that covers all the valuable lessons that can be learned, both from his words and his actions. Therefore I’ll share with you my own five favourite lessons Tuesdays with Morrie has given me about ‘the Meaning of life’:
- Sometimes you cannot believe what you see, you have to believe what you feel.
- The culture we have does not make people feel good about themselves. We’re teaching the wrong things.
Don’t buy it. Create your own culture!
- Once you learn how to die, you learn how to live : if you accept that you can die at any time, you might not be as ambitious as you are and the things you now spend lots of time on, might not seem as important.
- Death ends a life, not a relationship : you live on in the hearts of everyone you’ve touched & nurtured while you were here.
- The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come on.
Morrie teaches us that the way to get meaning into your life is to devote ourself to loving others, devote ourself to your community around us and devote ourself to creating something that gives purpose and meaning.
“People see me as a bridge. I’m not as alive as I used to be,
but I’m not yet dead. I’m sort of . . . in-between.”
He coughed, then he regained his smile.
“I’m on the last journey here – and people want me to tell them what to pack.”
– Morrie Schwartz
Why you should read this book
Tuesdays with Morrie is a very personal and honest story. Actually it’s Mitch telling Morrie’s story; his wisdom and lessons and how the progressive illness he has to deal with impacts Morrie’s life completely. At the same time Mitch tells about his own life, about choices he has made and new insights he gets during his time with Morrie. He describes how the disease and Morrie’s dysfunctional body bring them closer every Tuesday. The book is both easy to read, and at the same time overflowing with life lessons. That’s why you might like to take a little more time to process all of Morrie’s wisdom. Many quotes will stick with you for a very long time, if not forever.
Having read this book, I just couldn’t get enough of Morrie – hence the name of this blog, as an ode to Morrie and all the other inspiring people and writers, who share their often hard-learned lessons and insights with us. While searching on the internet for more Morrie background information, I came across the actual interviews of Ted Koppel with Morrie, of course I have to share this video with you.
It’s funny how somebody you’ve never met, but whose words you’ve read, can feel so familiar and warm. Morrie’s lessons, his passion and his wisdom will live on for ever and ever. He was and still is a teacher. Have you ever had a teacher like this?