A book that teaches us what is truly important in life, providing perspective on the little things and big.
Date Read: July 26, 2019
My Rating: 8/10
The Book in 3 Sentences
- An old man, a young man and life’s greatest lesson.
- When we learn how to die and realise we are going to die soon that is when we learn to truly live.
- Everyone seems to be chasing the wrong thing in life, things they think are important but they are not!
Mitch Albom found out that his college professor from 20 years ago, Morrie Schwartz, was dying of ALS – or motor neurone disease – Mitch visited Morrie 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.
Mitch has this incredible gift of making the reader feel so connected to the people he writes about. Like all his other books, this one is absolutely amazing and I highly recommend it.
Who is this book for?
Anyone who is going to die – at some point. You skip this one if you are immortal or a god.
On a serious note, anyone looking for perspective in life and the important things in life should definitely read this. If you are feeling a little lost and unsure of life, read this book. Also, if you have a loved one going through this process – it will help you understand the journey.
Main Points & Ideas
(Told from Morrie’s point of view)
- The world goes on. No matter what you are going through, the world goes on. Even if you are dying or getting the news that you are dying, the world will go on. It has done so before you and will continue to do so after you. Don’t try and chase after the world so much and give yourself to the world. It will not return the favour.
- There is nothing negative about death. It is as natural as life. It is part of the deal. If you live, you must die. Everything in nature dies.
- When we make peace with the idea of dying, then we do the hard thing – make peace with living. It is only when something gets taken away from us that we truly start to feel its value and importance.
- “Death ends a life, not a relationship”.
- When you are facing death, you want to do the mundane that you escaped in your healthy life; sitting in traffic, making dinner, making plans, going to work.
- Only in the face of death or that of someone else do we realise how much time we actually had and how much time we squandered.
- Death is a great equalizer. Sitting beside a dying person and listening to them makes you forget about all the busyness of your own life it melts and falls away.
- Being young is hard. We have lots of struggles and uncertainty and we are not wise, we often make poor decisions and believe everything that is told to us. Ageing is growth. We learn and become wiser.
- People who long to be young again – it reflects unsatisfied lives. Missed opportunities, regrets. If you have meaning in life, you don’t want to go back – you would want to go forward.
- When you are older, your every age lives inside you. You know what it’s like to be 20, 25 and 30. You are every age, up to current all at the same time. You shouldn’t be envious of younger people, because you have been that age.
- Mitch writes about trading his dreams for a paycheck. For a life that society tells him that he should be living. His days were full but his heart was empty. He broke all the promises he made to himself and gave up all his dreams.
- No matter how much money you have, you can’t take it with you.
- Ultimately we are all looking for love and we accept substitutes for love in the form of things. We think people will like us and love us if we have nice things. Nothing could be further from the truth.
- There is a big difference between what we need and what we want but most people can’t tell the difference between the two.
- Status gets you nowhere. People at the top will look always look down and the ones below will always envy you. So what’s the point?
- Love & Marriage
- What we take from the world, we must replenish.
- “The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in”
- Pay attention to the people, real attention and give them all your focus and they will always remember you.
- Why are we all in such a hurry in life? Perhaps to find meaning?
- People either rush into a marriage or often delay it. This is not about age, but about understanding yourself and what you want. People often don’t know themselves, they don’t know who they really are hence they don’t know what they want in a partner.
- Having a common set of values, morals and goals are important in a marriage. If you do not respect each other or cannot compromise for each other – there will be trouble. In a marriage you get tested, you find out what you are made of and what the other person is made of.
- Most people understand that when we are infants, we need others to survive and when we are old and frail, we need others to survive. But what most people don’t understand is that in the middle, we also need others to survive. However, most people can be mean and cruel. How do we deal with that?
- People are only mean when they are threatened in some way and the culture makes everyone scared for something, losing a job, losing money, a house, a loved one. People, then, only tend to look out for themselves.
- The culture around us is always reminding us that we are not enough. Not good enough, not rich enough, not thin enough … always reminding us that we could be more. We shouldn’t let the culture decide that for us, we choose who we are.
- If the culture around is toxic, we can be the catalyst for change. We don’t need to wait for others to start the change. We can do it. We can create our own culture.
- Pride, anger, grudges, hatred – you will regret all this when you are old.
- Forgive people before they die and you never know when that might be – so forgive them now.
- Before forgiving others, you must be willing to forgive yourself first, for all your past misgivings, for all the things you did and didn’t do. Make peace with yourself.
- People think detachment from emotions and experiences is a bad thing. It is not. In order to detach from emotion, you must first allow yourself to fully feel it, embrace it. You have to let it penetrate your soul. Know it for what it really is, experience it, live it and only then you can detach from it.
- Mourn what you have lost, give yourself a good cry if you need to. Feel sorry for yourself but once you are done, balance it with remembering and appreciating all the good you still have in life. Think about all that still remains that you can relish and enjoy.
My Favourite Quotes
- “I buried myself in accomplishments because with accomplishments, I believed I could control things, I could squeeze in every last piece of happiness before I got sick and died.” Mitch Albom
- Upon finding out he is terminally ill and going to die soon – “I’m going to live-or at least try to live the way I want, with dignity, with courage, with humour, with composure.” Morrie Schwartz
- “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.” Morrie Schwartz
- “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.” Morrie Schwartz
- “Maybe death is the great equalizer, the one big thing that can finally make strangers shed a tear for one another.” Morrie Schwartz
- “The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in” Morrie Schwartz
- “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” Henry Adams
- “Everyone knows they’re going to die, but nobody believes it. If we did, we would do things differently.” Morrie Schwartz
- “To know you’re going to die, and to be prepared for it at any time. That’s better. That way you can actually be more involved in your life while you’re living.” Morrie Schwartz
- “The truth is, once you learn how to die, you learn how to live.” Morrie Schwartz