Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tuesdays with Morrie - A true story (published in 1997)

How many times do you read a book that changes the way you think about life ? Well, welcome to a book that has changed the way of thinking of many people, got people to re-think about what is important in life. The book, through its focus on the inspiring words of a dying man, sends a message to people to focus back on what is important in life, to appreciate the good and simple aspects of life, as well as implicitly also about what your legacy will be like. How you are remembered depends on the way you treat others, not on your own set of riches or ambition. Treating other people with compassion and kindness, mindful of their dignity, giving love and joy, none of these are difficult to do, but we ignore these simple aspects so easily. This book is one of those books; it started out with a small beginning, having been refused by a couple of publishers, but the appeal of the book was such that it became a huge bestseller.

So what is the book about ? It is about the interaction between a well known sports writer named Mitch Albom (who was working with Detroit Free Press, and who saw an interview of his former teacher, Morrie Schwartz, a history professor at Brandeis University (the interview is with Ted Koppel on Nightline). Morrie has been diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) and is dying. Albom has not been in touch with his former teacher ever since college, sixteen years earlier, and decides to pay a visit, initially on Tuesdays, since his paper is on strike; soon these visits become regular visits.
Albom writes about several things, such as details about Morrie's declining health, which is quite depressing, about the final conversation between Albom and Morrie, and about what has happened in Albom's life between his college and visiting Morrie. However, as you progress in the book, you read more Morris' views, a sense of what the important things in life are from someone who has little left. Morrie is very eloquent and seems to carry an upbeat dignity to the end, and it is through his views on the need for a person to have his own set of beliefs, and not be driven by what is current culture; how you should strive to make a difference and be good. It is particularly through the wisdom of a terminally ill man to make us realize that human relationships and health are more important than all the gadgets, modern conveniences, pressures to get ahead professionally, and the need to advance monetarily.

Tuesdays with Morrie - A true story (published in 1997), describing the interactions of Mitch Albom with his former teacher, sociologist Morrie Schwartz

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