Tuesdays With Morrie

While in Yerevan, Armenia, through CouchSurfing I met someone special with whom I connected in a profound way. It's funny how you can sometimes meet strangers and after an hour or so spent in their company feel as though you've known them for years. She's a writer and a journalist, and of course at some point during our first meeting we talked about books. Curious, with an inquisitive mind, that girl seemed to want to know everything about me!

Love each other or die.

I didn't know at the time, but it appears that Morrie Schwartz and I share the same philosophy regarding what life is supposed to be all about. Which is probably why she asked me if I had read Mitch Albom's bestselling Tuesdays with Morrie. When I replied that I hadn't, she immediately offered to give it to me as a present. Interestingly enough, over the years some friends had asked her to borrow the book, but she always refused to lend it to them. And there I was, newly arrived in town, a guy she had met in front of the metal bull at the Moskva cinéma complex a couple of hours before, and she insisted that I accept this gift. Not knowing what to say, I reluctantly agreed.

When you learn how to die, you learn how to live.

Truth be told, I was kind of hoping that she would forget about the whole thing. Meeting locals through CouchSurfing while you travel can be a very special thing and I always feel bad when they offer me presents of any kind, or if they insist on buying me lunch/dinner, or pay for our drinks, etc. I'm the traveler, the one lucky enough to have them accept to meet me and show me around, so I should be paying for those things. In any case, when we reached the rooftop terrace overlooking Republic Square of the Diamond bar, she took the small book out of her purse and that was that. The maple syrup candies I handed her in exchange felt woefully inadequate. Even more so now that I've read this incredible work.

Make peace. You must make peace with yourself and everyone around you.

Indeed, only a few pages into it, I was acutely aware that Albom's Tuesdays With Morrie would be the sort of work that stays with you long after you've read the last page and put the book down.

You can't substitute material things for love or for gentleness or for tenderness or for a sense of companionship.

Here's the blurb:

Maybe it was a grandparent, or a teacher, or a colleague. Someone older, patient and wise, who understood you when you were young and searching, helped you see the world as a more profound place, gave you sound advice to help you make your way through it.

For Mitch Albom, that person was Morrie Schwartz, his college professor from nearly twenty years ago.

Maybe, like Mitch, you lost track of this mentor as you made your way, and the insights faded, and the world seemed colder. Wouldn't you like to see that person again, ask the bigger questions that still haunt you, receive wisdom for your busy life today the way you once did when you were younger?

Mitch Albom had that second chance. He rediscovered Morrie in the last months of the older man's life. Knowing he was dying, Morrie visited with Mitch in his study every Tuesday, just as they used to back in college. Their rekindled relationship turned into one final "class": lessons in how to live.

Tuesdays with Morrie is a magical chronicle of their time together, through which Mitch shares Morrie's lasting gift with the world.

After four years on the New York Times bestseller list, Tuesdays with Morrie is at last available in paperback.

You can read an extract from the book here.

Forgive yourself before you die. Then forgive others.

And old man, a young man, and life's greatest lesson. Thus begins what could well be the most touching and thought-provoking book I have ever read.

For weeks before Morrie's death, every Tuesday Albom would fly from Detroit to meet with his old professor to discuss a variety of topics, such as the world, regrets, death, family, emotions, love, the fear of dying, our culture, forgiveness, and much, much more.

So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when they're busy doing things they think are important. This is because they're chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.

As you can see, I've included a number of quotes from the book in this review. I've never encountered a work that made me think, analyze, and reassess the way we live our lives as much as Tuesdays With Morrie did. The reading experience is so special that I forced myself to read it slowly. I wanted to take it all in, to let Morrie Schwartz's words of wisdom truly sink in. Far be it from me to claim that this work will change your life. But believe you me: It will change your outlook on life as we live it in North America and elsewhere in the Western World.

Aging is not just decay...It's growth.

Touching and rewarding moments on basically every page or so, Tuesdays With Morrie is a wonderful book.

At Brandeis, he taught classes about social psychology, mental illness and health, group process. They were light on what you'd now call "career skills" and heavy on "personal development.

The final verdict: 10/10

For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe

1 commentaires:

Steve MC said...

Definitely a book worth reading.

Albom wrote an essay about it once, a sort of update, and I often include this condensed excerpt in letters of condolence:

We still talk, you see. Morrie and I. It was a deal we made. During one of our final visits, he asked me for one last favor: “Talk to me.”

“Talk to you?”

“Like we’re talking now.”

“But it won’t be like now, Morrie. You won’t be able to talk back.”

He tried to smile. “Well, I’ll make you a deal, Mitch. After I’m dead, you talk, I’ll listen.”

So that is what we do now. Only Morrie does more than listen. I still hear his voice. I hear him when I am racing past a sunset, or a mountain, or a cluster of beautiful trees, and he says, “Mitch, as my time is running out, I am drawn to nature as if I’m seeing it for the first time.”

I hear him when he reminds me that “Death ends a life but not a relationship.”

He steers me. He keeps me straight. He is never far away, it seems, talking to me, his eyes twinkling.