Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
Bookstores suffer a lot from the showroom effect. But that doesn’t take away from their being the best place to chill for half an hour when you’re early for a meeting or dinner, especially when it’s subzero degrees outside. This happened a few weeks ago at the B&N at the Pru, where I stumbled upon Tuesdays with Morrie. It seemed like a famous and highly recommended quick read. I usually don’t do quotes for non fiction books, but Mitch Albom essentially compiled a list of life advice quotes by Morrie, so here they are.
1) “The culture we have does not make people feel good about ourselves. And you have to be strong enough to say if the culture doesn’t work, don’t buy it.”
2) “If you are ever going to have other people trust you, you must feel that you can trust them too.”
3) “Once you learn how to die, you learn how to live.”
4) “There is no experience like having children. That’s all. There is no substitute for it. You cannot do it with a friend. You cannot do it with a lover. If you want the experience of having complete responsibility for another human being, and to learn how to love and bond in the deepest way, then you should have children.”
5) “The truth is, when our mothers held us, rocked us, stroked our heads – none of us ever got enough of that. We all yearn in some way to return to those days when we were completely taken care of – unconditional love, unconditional attention. Most of us didn’t get enough.”
6) “You know what that reflects? Unsatisfied lives. Unfulfilled lives. Lives that haven’t found meaning. Because if you’ve found meaning in your life, you don’t want to go back. You want to go forward. You want to see more, do more. You can’t wait until sixty-five.”
7) “We’ve got a form of brainwashing going on in our country. Do you know how they brainwash people? They repeat something over and over. And that’s what we do in this country. Owning things is good. More money is good. More property is good. More commercialism is good. More is good. More is good.”
8) “The truth is, you don’t get satisfaction from those things. You know what really gives you satisfaction? Offering others what you have to give.”
9) “I believe in being fully present. That means you should be with the person you’re with. When I’m talking to you now, Mitch, I try to keep focused only on what is going on between us. I am not thinking about something we said last week. I am not thinking of what’s coming up this Friday. I am not thinking about doing another Koppel show, or about what medications I’m taking.”
10) “Here’s what I mean by building your own little subculture. I don’t mean you disregard every rule of your community. I don’t go around naked, for example. I don’t run through red lights. The little things, I can obey. But the big things – how we think, what we value – those you must choose yourself. You can’t let anyone – or any society – determine those for you.”
I feel like I just wrote a Buzzfeed article, one of those “10 things You’ll Learn in Your 20s” traps. No matter how bad they are, I almost always read them. They are usually decent. But they rarely actually make a difference. Similarly, I don’t think this book changed my views on anything, except point 4 – which I hadn’t really considered before. Tuesdays with Morrie is a nice story, but my takeaway is that, just like putting things on your Google calendar and color coding them, reading or listening to advice is only useful up to a certain point. After that, it’s time to act and make it happen. Scrolling through a list of 23 things you should do when you are 23 doesn’t count.