I have been an Oprah “Super Soul Sunday” addict since I was in middle school and me and my mom used to sit in front of the TV for an hour a couple of times a week when she used to have to straighten my hair for me. Now, I am now a frequent listener of her podcast “Super Soul Conversations. “
One recent episode I listened to really caught my attention. When she had Mitch Albom on the show and he discussed his experience of being able to learn life’s greatest answers from his longtime friend and well-respected professor, Morrie. I was fascinated by this man and listened to the entire episode, I was too invested in the story and too curious about the wisdom and knowledge Morrie reveals, I knew I had to read the book ASAP.
From the second I started reading, Or rather, listening (since i listened to the audiobook version, which I actually recommend because it is narrated by Mitch himself ) I was hooked, I instantly knew that this book was going to change my life. I have recently been much more active in trying to practice my own personal spirituality. Ever since I was a child I always thought I was strange or there is something wrong with me because I constantly was seeking answers to questions about life, our purpose in being here, and what this all means? Nobody my age, not even my own parents had questions like these, at least not that I knew about. When I heard the concept and brief summary of the book “Tuesdays with Morrie” from Mitch on the podcast, I knew this was the type of book that would feed my insatiable hunger for the simplest answers to my most complicated questions about my own life and spirituality.
This book is true a story about an old man who led an amazing, yet simple life, which quickly took a turn when Morrie was diagnosed with a terminal illness. The story begins with Mitch Albom in in the spring of 1979, when he was a college student at Brandeis University. His favorite professor, none other than Morrie Schwartz, who taught a social psychology course, quickly befriends him. The two would often spend days eating lunch together, strolling around campus or chatting in Morrie’s office.
Morrie is a very big inspiration to Mitch and quickly takes on the role of a mentor in Mitch’s life. He even refers to Morrie as “coach.” Mitch at first only seeks out Morrie for academic advice, but due to Morrie’s incredible way of allowing people to open up to him and be honest, Mitch soon relies on him for his knowledge and guidance. Morrie was the type of man who could help you work through any problem. He was consistently there for anyone who needs him and always made you feel as if you were the only person in the world. Morrie strongly believed in being fully present in every moment of his life, but especially when it came to human interaction and connection. All of these traits of Morrie’s made Mitch truly trust and respect Morrie and develop a deep friendship with him.
At Mitch’s graduation he introduces Morrie to his parents. “You have a very special boy here,” says Morrie. Mitch promises he’ll stay in touch, but as time goes on he becomes engulfed in the stress of being successful and never keeps his promise. The baby boomer generation was not like the previous, they had tendencies to become workaholics due to competition for jobs and money. They were not as family oriented, many even feared the commitment of family because they feared it interfering with success.
Mitch eventually became a sports writer and began traveling the world for work. He rarely took any days off, unable to function in any other environment then work. He became caught up in the fast, sports industry lifestyle. He never stopped and eventually became exhausted and unhappy living in his unhealthy habits and longing for something with more meaning.
In 1995, Morrie is interviewed by Ted Koppel on ABC’s Nightline, and by the grace of god, a higher power, or perhaps purely coincidence, Mitch sees him on TV. He instantly knows in his heart that he needs to reconnect with Morrie
He travels to Morrie’s home. After not seeing Morrie for 16 years Mitch freezes; he panics at the sight of Morrie smiling at him with his warm, familiar smile from the front porch. Mitch fumbles with his keys in his car and pretends to take a phone call while trying to collect his thoughts and emotions. When he finally gets the courage to get out of the car, Morrie hugs him. “My old friend,” whispers Morrie. “You’ve come back at last.”
They sit down in Morrie’s study, with his favorite Hibiscus plant on the windowsill and Morrie tells him, “You know I’m dying. Shall I tell you what it’s like?” After that Mitch begins visiting Morrie every Tuesday. They decide these talks should be held like a class, Morrie calls it their “last thesis.” The subject of the course is “The Meaning of Life.” Morrie is the professor and Mitch is the student. As Mitch later writes, “Although no final exam was given, you were expected to produce one long paper on what was learned.” The paper is the book.
As the story continues, Morrie’s health declines and Mitch often writes about the horrifyingly honest details of what its like to watch someone die of ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. ALS is a horrifying disease, it causes your body to start shutting down, very quickly and without any warning and any cure. One of the most ironic aspects to ALS is the fact that even though your body deteriorates quite quick\ly, your mind remains the exact same. The same desire to run, walk, swim, dance, live, all trapped in a body that refuses to move or even function.
Every Tuesday Mitch and Morrie tackle a new subject. Some of these include: “Feeling Sorry For Yourself,” “Regrets,” “Death,” “Family,” “Emotions,” and “Forgiveness.” Mitch asks questions and Morrie gives him his insight based on his personal experiences.
Another reason I like this book so much is that I can relate to Morrie on many levels, Like mentioned previously, I am also a very philosophical person, I am not satisfied skimming the surface. I go straight for life’s “big” questions. I love to think about the world and everything around us in ways I feel others don’t or can’t. I loved reading this book and being able to align with someones thoughts and beliefs so closely.
This book is great for anyone. But especially for someone who is looking to gain some real insight on what truly matters. In this life, it can be so easy to become wrapped up in what we think is important. As Morrie says, we are all “sleepwalker through life.” We spend time at places we hate just to earn money to buy things to impress people we dont like. This is why I sometimes have difficulty connecting with other people my age, I never feel like they think or act the way I do and I often do not align with their priorities and lifestyle.
I also truly respect Morrie to be the type of person to not give in or follow the culture. As a younger person who was raised in the internet age, it can be very hard for me to remember what is real, and what is being told to me by society.
Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone. I belive this is such an inspiring story that touches every heart that reads it. It is honest and raw and makes you question many aspects of your own life. it was a huge reality check for me and really helped me to put many things in my life into perspective and gain some very important knowledge and guidance, which I will now do my best to apply into my own life. I believe this book came into my life at a time where I really needed it and benefitted a lot from gaining this information at the time and manner in which i did. This book is a timeless tale about a wise teacher and a humble student. I believe the story transcends age, color, background, etc and every reader will take valuable information and lessons from Mitch and Morrie.
If you are planning on reading this book, you will laugh and cry through the anecdotes, lessons and knowledge sprinkled throughout the pages. You will also fall in love with Morrie, you will develop a relationship with him through his words and you will mourn his loss. But most importantly, you will be inspired by a wonderful soul, gain important information about life and the way we should be living and more importantly, dying.