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Morrie Schwartz (on reflection and the big ‘what if?’)

“It’s what everyone worries about….What if today were my last day on earth? The culture doesn’t encourage you to think about such things until you’re about to die. We’re so wrapped up with egotistical things, career, family, having enough money, meeting the mortgage, getting a new car, fixing the radiator when it breaks — we’re involved in 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 that all? Is this all I want? Is something missing?

Morrie Schwartz (1916-1995) was a professor of sociology at Brandeis University, whose brilliant teaching went global because of Mitch Albom‘s huge-selling 1997 memoir, Tuesdays With MorrieAlbom, a former student, came back into his old “Coach”‘s life when he learned that Morrie was dying from ALS (“Lou Gehrig‘s Disease”). It’s nearly 20 years since the book came out, and I’ve just finished my review. (It’s the latest in my “Better Read Than Never” series of look-back book reviews.) The story of Professor Schwartz’s dying is at least as important, as consoling, as instructive as it ever was, because of course it’s really about how to live.  It wears well, to say the least. I’d read it before, I’m glad I read it again, and it won’t be the last time.

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