Normally when I go on vacation I read a lot. This vacation, after a torrid 6 month pace (the move, new job, tons of travel), I did not. I brought a bunch of books (I did not know what I would feel like reading) but just wanted to relax.
I only read one book, Tuesdays with Morrie, one that has been on my ‘to read’ list for a while and I have to say, I understand why it sold 11 million copies:
Tuesdays with Morrie is a bestselling non-fiction book by American writer Mitch Albom, published in 1997 (ISBN 0-385-48451-8). The story was later adapted by Thomas Rickman into a television movie (directed by Mick Jackson), which aired on 5 December 1999 and starred Hank Azaria as Mitch and Jack Lemmon (in his final role) as Morrie.
It is the true story of Morrie Schwartz and his relationship with student Mitch Albom. Both the film and the book chronicle the lessons about life that Mitch learns from his professor, who is dying from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig‘s Disease.
After five years in hardcover, it was released as a trade paperback in October 2002. It was re-released as a mass-market paperback by Anchor Books in January 2006. According to this edition, 11 million copies of Tuesdays with Morrie are in print worldwide.
. A few quotes that stuck with me:
- ‘So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when they’re busy doing things they think are important. That is because they are chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning in 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 meaning and purpose’
- ‘We’re so wrapped up in the egotistical things, career, family, having enough money, meeting the mortgage, getting a new care .. we’re involved in a trillions of little acts just to keep going. So we don’t get into the habit of standing back and looking at our lives and saying, Is this all? Is this all I want? Is something missing?’
- I laughed at this one … it is the reason why we are in Britain.
- ‘Do what the Buddhists do. Every day, have a little bird on your shoulder that asks ‘Is today the day? Am I ready? Am I doing the all I need to do? Am I being the person I want to be?’
- ‘Love each other or perish’
- This was stated in the context of family. So true. If there is not love and family, what is there?
- On the topic of getting old and whether or not Morrie is jealous of youth: ‘It’s very simple. As you grow, you learn more. If you stayed at twenty two, you’d always be as ignorant as you were at twenty two. Aging is not decay, you know. It’s growth. It’s more than the negative that you’re going to die, it’s also the positive that you understand you’re going to die, and that you live a better life because of it’
- This one really struck me. If I think of times where I have daydreamed of youth, I have never taken a Bruce Springsteen ‘Glory Days’ view where I look on those times as the best of times. If I were to ever travel back, I would only want to do it with what I have learned …. not to go back and relive it again. Been there, done that and man .. did I make a lot of mistakes.
- On buying more things …. ‘You know how I always interpreted that? These were people so hungry for love that they were accepting substitutes. They were embracing material things and expecting a sort of hug back. But it never works. You cant substitute material things for love or for gentleness or for tenderness or comradeship’
- On moving up the ladder …. ‘Mitch, if you’re trying to show off for people at the top, forget it. They will look down at you anyhow. And if you’re trying to show off for people at the bottom, forget it. They will envy you. Status will get you nowhere.Only an open heart will allow you to float equally between everyone’
- On love an marriage and love …. ‘If you don’t respect the other person, you’re gonna have a lot of trouble. If you don’t know how to compromise, you’re gonna have a lot of trouble. If you can’t talk openly about what goes on between you, you’re gonna have a lot of trouble. And if you don’t have a common set of values in life, you’re gonna have a lot of trouble’ …. ‘In business, people negotiate to win. They negotiate to get what they want. Maybe you’re too used to that. Love is different. Love is when you are as concerned about someone else’s situation as you are about your own’
- On forgiveness … ‘Forgive yourself before you die. Then forgive others’
- Tougher, but on my mind a lot.
Thanks for the lessons Morrie.