Mitch Albom | Best-Selling Author of 39 Million Books Shares His Daily Routines, and Why It’s Important to Focus on What Truly Matters

Show Notes

The best-selling author of 39 Million books shares his daily routines, how he began writing about life and death and why it’s important to focus on what truly matters. Through Mitch’s career he’s been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, Dr. Phil, Larry King Live, The View, The Late Late Show, and countless media outlets.

  1. Ladies and gentlemen on today’s show we are interviewing a guy I grew up watching and listening to every Sunday morning as I got ready for church because Mitch Albom appeared regularly on ESPN’s The Sports Reporters. Throughout his legendary career he has sold over 35 million books and has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, Dr. Phil, Larry King Live, The View, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, and he’s even appeared as a guest voice on The Simpsons on the episode Thursdays with Abie in 2010. Mitch, how are you sir?
  2. Mitch, my understanding is that music was your first love is that true?
  3. Mitch, you write over a lot of different mediums — sports coverage, music, plays, novels, why did you decide to be a writer?
  4. Mitch, you wrote Tuesdays with Morrie nearly 21 years ago, why do believe that the book continues to resonate with listeners?
  5. Mitch, for the listeners out there that are not as familiar with the story of Tuesdays with Morrie. My understanding is that you saw your old college professor Morrie Schwartz on Nightline with Ted Koppel and that you reached out to him, can you share with us, this and what made you reach out to Morrie?
  6. Mitch, your books inspire and touch readers and I’ve heard you pose the question, “what do we know when we are really looking death in the face that puts all of life into perspective and wouldn’t it to be great to know that now when we are young enough and healthy enough to do something about it?” Can you share with the listeners how that question affects you?
  7. Fifteen years ago you wrote your first novel, “The Five People You Meet in Heaven” and now your most recent book is the sequel, “The Next Person You Meet In Heaven.” What made you want to continue that story?
  8. Mitch, for any of the aspiring authors out there that faithfully listen to our show, what does the process of writing a book look like for you?
  9. Where do you do your writing? What does it look like?
  10. Mitch, you a very intentional and purposeful person, I’d love if you would share with the listeners what the first 4 hours of your typical days look like?
  11. Mitch, for our readers out there that are not as familiar with you and your writing style, why would you recommend that everybody should go out and pick up a copy of The Next Person You Meet in Heaven?
  12. Mitch, what is the best place that you would recommend our listeners should go to to find about more about you and the books you write?

Thrivers, the holidays are just around the corner and if you are looking for the perfect gift for the people in your life, Mitch Albom’s newest book, The Five People You Meet in Heaven is a great gift idea.

In this enchanting sequel to the number one bestseller The Five People You Meet in Heaven, Mitch Albom tells the story of Eddie’s heavenly reunion with Annie—the little girl he saved on earth—in an unforgettable novel of how our lives and losses intersect.

Fifteen years ago, in Mitch Albom’s beloved novel, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, the world fell in love with Eddie, a grizzled war veteran- turned-amusement park mechanic who died saving the life of a young girl named Annie. Eddie’s journey to heaven taught him that every life matters. Now, in this magical sequel, Mitch Albom reveals Annie’s story.

The accident that killed Eddie left an indelible mark on Annie. It took her left hand, which needed to be surgically reattached. Injured, scarred, and unable to remember why, Annie’s life is forever changed by a guilt-ravaged mother who whisks her away from the world she knew. Bullied by her peers and haunted by something she cannot recall, Annie struggles to find acceptance as she grows. When, as a young woman, she reconnects with Paulo, her childhood love, she believes she has finally  found happiness.

As the novel opens, Annie is marrying Paulo. But when her wedding night day ends in an unimaginable accident, Annie finds herself on her own heavenly journey—and an inevitable reunion with Eddie, one of the five people who will show her how her life mattered in ways she could not have fathomed.

Poignant and beautiful, filled with unexpected twists, The Next Person You Meet in Heaven reminds us that not only does every life matter, but that every ending is also a beginning—we only need to open our eyes to see it.

NOTABLE QUOTABLE – “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:7 English Standard Version (ESV

Business Coach | Ask Clay & Z Anything

Audio Transcription

Today’s guest is a critically acclaimed sports reporter who was once featured on espns weekly sports reporters show, but his life was forever changed when he discovered that his college professor was dying for Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as als. Since writing his first book, Tuesdays with Morrie Mitch album has sold over 39 million copies of his books. Mitch Albom is an internationally renowned and bestselling author, journalist, screenwriter, playwright, radio and television broadcaster and a musician, and he’s on today’s show.

Some shows don’t need a celebrity and a writer to introduce the show. This show to may eight kids, Koch, created by two different women, 13 multimillion dollar businesses. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the thrive time. Show


All right, thrive nation. Welcome back to a very special edition of the thrive time show on your radio

cast download. On today’s show, I’m interviewing a man who I grew up watching and listening to every Sunday morning as I got ready for church. Uh, this today’s guest has been featured on espn countless times. He’s been on the Oprah Winfrey show, the today show, ABC. Good Morning America, Dr Phil, Larry King. The view pretty much every show you’ve seen, he sold 35 million books and he made a poor life choice, so he’s on our show with us today. Mr Mitch Albom, how are you sir?

I’m fine, thank you. Nice to be with you.

Hey, I am honored to have you on and I’d like to ask you this because I’m. I’m always interested. You’ve covered sports, you’ve covered music, you’ve covered plays, novels. What made you decide to become a writer and to write about the topics you now write about as opposed to just sticking with sports?

Well, it kind of happened to me. It wasn’t really a decision. I was perfectly content writing, sports, broadcasting sports and just living my whole life in the sports world and then when I was 37 years old I. I happened to be flipping the remote control one night and came upon the nightline program and saw my old college professor, Morrie Schwartz, a telling Ted Koppel on nightline about what it was like to die from Lou Gehrig’s disease and Maury had been like an uncle to me when I was in college. I took every class that he offered. I majored in sociology. I hated his house. We walked around campus together and we were really close and then I was kind of a shame that after for 16 years I didn’t stay in touch with them all that time and now all of a sudden he’s dying. So I went to go visit him once.

I thought it would be a one time visit. It turned into another, another, another. I ended up visiting him all the Tuesdays he had left in his life. I ended up writing a little book called Tuesdays with Morrie, which was only supposed to pay his medical bills. That’s the only reason I wrote it and took all the money that gave us and paid his bills up and I was going to return to sports writing full time and that was going to be my one little sort of weird deviation, but you know, try to do something nice for somebody. And then that book took off and became something nobody could have imagined and my world became much more full of people talking to me about their losses, their illnesses or challenges. In life then who was going to win the superbowl and eventually my life changed as a result of it.

Your Book Tuesdays with Morrie was written, I believe 21 years ago. And, and yet it’s still, it’s almost like an evergreen book. I feel like I see people purchasing it during the holidays. Why do you feel like that this book continues to resonate with people all over the world? You know, so. Well,

well, I think a couple reasons. One, uh, everybody has had a teacher in their life, their version of amaury that it reminds them of might be a grandparent, might be, you know, an old teacher themselves. So there’s that, uh, and that, that’s true in cultures all around the world. And I think a lot of people identify with my character in that book as, as being a little lost and a little dissatisfied and working really hard and yet not really finding, you know, a lot of satisfaction in it and maybe looking for some different answers. And lastly, we’re all going to die. And you know, anybody who can kind of put the clarity of life and saying, hey, this is the things you want to get done before you reach the end because you don’t want to have your last day on earth and start saying, Oh, I should’ve done this. Or why did I do that? I mean, I think anybody as wise as Maury was who can offer that advice is going to appeal to people. Now, I didn’t know any of this before the book came out. I mean I’ve had 21 years to kind of analyze it, but if I were, it’s not my writing. It wasn’t something like, boy, did I use the right words. I think it was just more ease, kindness and wisdom on those subjects.

Your, your books have a way of really posing some tough questions that I think readers do. We all need to ask ourselves, and I heard you say during one of your interviews, you said, what do we know when we are really looking death in the face? That puts all of life into perspective and wouldn’t it be great to know now when you are young enough and healthy enough to do something about it, right? Can you share with, with the listeners out there why posing this kind of question can make such an impact on your life?

Well, you know, if you think you’re going to live forever, you’re not really going to be in a hurry to change things that you might need to change in your life because she’d just say, I’ll get to that. Eventually. I’ll be a nice guy. Eventually I’ll be charitable. Eventually I’ll spend more with my family eventually right now I got to work right now I’ve got to make money. Uh, and if suddenly you have one. I mean, how many times does this happen? Perhaps it’s happened to you. You’re out driving and uh, you know, you, you swerve and a guy nearly hits you, you hit the brakes. Everything screeches you know, and you, you come with an inch of an impact in and it stops and your life flashes before your eyes. And then you go home and, and you say to your wife or your husband, wow, boy, I, I’m gonna, I’m going to pay better attention to the important things that really put things in perspective for me.

And you’re hugging your kids and your, you’re kissing everybody you love, whatever. And it lasts for about 24 hours and then you fall kind of back into your pattern. Will that moment where you were kind of looking death in the face gave you some kind of perspective about, wow, I really need to do something. And at that moment that’s when you’re really conscious, you know, that’s when you’re really aware of what’s important. What I try to do with my books is sort of keep us in the moment for a little longer, you know, by writing some stories that might stay with you and pop back into your head now. And then

we try to encourage our listeners to be very intentional on a daily basis to write our goals for your faith, your family, your finances, your fitness, your friendship and fun, you know, to make goals for family, for fun, these kinds of things. And I think a lot of people really identify with the f six goals because they find our show on the top of itunes because they’re looking for a show about how to make more money and uh, we teach them how to do that. But most of our, our focus is on teaching people how to live a happy life. And I want to ask you this, why did you decide to continue on the theme of books about the finality of life for the bigger questions after, uh, you know, your, your, your first book. Why did you not decide to write about a different kind of subject or tell us total listeners out there what you’re writing about today?

Well, I mean, uh, after Tuesdays with Morrie, I always say the difference between before Tuesdays with Morrie and the Tuesdays with Morrie was before as a sports writer, if people recognize me in the airport from the sports reporters TV show or things like that, uh, they’d say, Hey Mitch Albom, who’s going to win the superbowl? And I, I’d say, Hey, patriots. And I’d keep walking the later, you know, real easy answer. And then after Tuesdays with Morrie, people would stop me and say, Hey, Mitch, um, my, my brother just died of cancer. And the last thing we did was read your book together out loud. Well, you can’t just say, hey patriots, you know, and keep going up the escalator, you have to stop and you have to engage and you have to talk. And I’ve had that happen to me 15 to 20 times a day, seven days a week, 12 months, a year for 21 years.

And so when that happens, you realize how many people are walking around that you would otherwise not notice with sadness or with law officer, with trying to deal with some questions that are really important. And when that became so apparent to me, I realized, you know, I want to stay in this and write about those questions. I’m hearing about them every day. So I wrote the book, the five people you meet in heaven. Um, that was my first novel. And I wrote that after Tuesdays with Morrie because I had noticed a lot of people who are sharing these stories with me. We’re talking about how they didn’t feel very significant, uh, you know, a boy was great, what more rethought, but they’re just nobodies. And, and you know, they’re Kinda gonna gonna die and nobody. And so I wrote that book to try to show people there’s no such thing as a nobody if you just look at your life a little differently.

And in that book, Eddie, the old man thinks he’s a nobody. And He, uh, died saving a little girl from an amusement park accident where he works as a maintenance man and he goes to heaven and he finds out that the first stage of heaven as you meet five people from your life, but they are not necessarily your family members. Some might be, but some might just be somebody you spent five minutes with or that person who almost hit you with the car and, and changed your life forever and their life forever. And through these five different people that any meats he finds out that this, nothing like that he thought he led was actually very significant. And it touched a lot of people. And, you know, I write a story like that to try to give hope and some inspiration for people who think that their lives don’t matter because they’re not a movie star there, not a billionaire and you know, observing those kinds of questions that we’re all asking ourselves are what motivate me to write the stories that I do now versus sports stories or things like that that I wrote before.

We’re a very close to the holiday season and I know somebody out there is listening saying, I want to get a copy of that one of the, I want to get one of his books. But there’s so many books that you’ve written. I mean, you, you haven’t written a book. What’s the book that you would recommend for all the listeners out there to, to check out of yours if you had to recommend one book? Is there a specific one you’d recommend?

Well, you know, you’re asking me to choose my favorite child there. That’s a little difficult. So, uh, you know, Tuesdays with Morrie, no one’s ever, ever read anything by me before. Then. Certainly Tuesdays with Morrie is a good introduction. And the five people you meet in Heaven, uh, from my fiction work certainly is to have people are more faith oriented. I wrote a book called have a little faith, a nonfiction book and other nonfiction book about, uh, a pastor in a rabbi from two different parts of the world and how similar they were and people I knew. And this new book is called the next person you meet in heaven. And if you did read the five people you meet and having a lot of people have, then I guess I would have to recommend that one because it’s my most, my most recent one. We always want people to read your newest thing and it continues the story of Eddie and Andy from the first book from 15 years ago. It’s also the first time I’ve attempted to write a sequel. So, um, I, I think it turned out alright.

No, I have a, a 62nd for our question here for you. So 60 seconds for an hour question. You’re very intentional now. Very thoughtful. How do you organize the first four hours of a typical day? What’s your daily routine?

Well, that’s a wake up, a cup of coffee when downstairs in my office and pray a little prayers when I first wake up, thank God for waking me up at all. Then letting my body function to get downstairs and letting me have a cup of coffee in the first place and having shelter under a roof over me because I have an orphanage in Haiti that I’ve had for the last nine years. I’ve operated on there every single month and I see what it’s like to wake up and not have a roof over your head and not have anything to drink. Uh, and, and so I never take any of that for granted. And after I get done saying thank you, uh, then I start writing and there’s no music, there’s no news, there’s no television, there’s no anything, no input of any other kind, just a blank screen and me in front of it for the next, usually about two and a half hours. And after two and a half hours I’m usually out of gas. And, uh, I, I close things up and the phone starts ringing and then the rest of the day begins.

Well, thank you for answering our call today and I know that you’re a very thoughtful and intentional person and I appreciate you investing in the lives of our hundreds of thousands of listeners. And if you’re out there listening, I’d encourage you to buy a copy of one of Mitch albums books because the more that I dug into your character, I’m here doing a lot of things. You’re doing so many great things. I think people just getting to know you and what you’re helping people. The orphanage is you’re doing the books you’re writing, you’re just a guy that did the. The deeper I went into page seven of Google, the more I was impressed. So thank you for being on the show.

Well, it’s my pleasure. Thanks for having me on.

Take Care of Mitch thrivers to holidays are just around the corner and if you’re looking for the perfect gift for the people in Your Life, Mitch Albom, his newest book, the five people you meet in heaven is an absolute great gift. Idea. Again, the book, the five people you meet in heaven is an incredible holiday gift idea. Check it out. The five people you meet in heaven. I bought it for my wife and the airport in Dallas, Texas. She read it in route to Puerto Rico. She loved the book. I’m telling you. Check it out. It’s the five people you meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom. For anybody out there who is dealing with a family member that has a terminal illness or, or somebody in your life that’s going through a really big battle with, with disease. We will have to keep the show light to keep the show fun.

Um, but I couldn’t relate to you and I’ll never forget this. My Dad, Tom Clark, if you look him up, it’s t h o m Clark. Um, my dad called me and this would be about two and a half, almost three years ago. He called me. I answered the phone in the parking lot at the thrive time, show offices at riverwalk and he says, do you have a second? Which is usually like, you know, big announcement kind of thing. And I said, yeah, Dad, what’s going on? And he said, son, I, I, I have als and uh, I’m not going to be around very much and I’ll be dead soon. And knowing that you’re, you know, my dad, I mean, I, you know, it was going to die is a business guy. You’re always like, can we solve it? Can we fix it? That’s my mindset.

Can I solve it? Can I fix it if you, if you will, to a wall for me. I want to go, if there’s a wall in front of me, if you build a wall to keep me out, I want to go under it, around it, over it, through it. I want to come up with a hack, a way to get through it a better way and I don’t stop. But when you realize that there’s nothing you can do and your dad’s gonna be dead soon, there’s just all sorts of things. I don’t know how to, uh, uh, be more direct with you than just saying there’s a lot of feelings you feel all at one time. And so I blocked it out. Um, I, I put my emotions over here and I went back into the office and I had a good day, I thought, and I was headed home on the creek turnpike, headed from a, it’s a, it’s, there’s a road that runs north and south called Riverside and it was, it was headed south.

And basically I’m headed south. I get on the Creek Turnpike, I’m headed east to my home and I, uh, uh, go through the turn pike thing. My pipe pass, I go through it, I pull over on the shoulder because I just couldn’t stop crying and all of a sudden this wave, it was just crazy, crazy way. It was too much. Um, I couldn’t handle it. It was just like I couldn’t get it together. Uh, well before my dad died because he’s a cool dude. He recorded a video he wanted me to see after he was dead and it’s Kinda like my dad, my dad’s final words to me, I’m his son, you know, very good at business. Doesn’t mean that I’m not good at like being a son or that I don’t, that I can process every emotion, but I’ve listened to this video probably like, I don’t know, 100 times, like I probably listened to it like secretly between me and you and anybody else listening, I probably listened to this video like once a week for a long time and um, because I can’t hear my dad’s voice anymore and it’s weird.

But like I, I just feel like there’s somebody out. There’s probably only one person. Everybody else probably thinks this is weird. There’s probably one person out there and you found out your dad has lou gehrig’s disease or your mom has terminal cancer or somebody in your life. Your daughter has a terminal illness. Uh, uh, so sad when young kids have a terminal illness. But there’s somebody out there who’s going through something. And what happens is we wear a mask all day, like it’s Halloween and we act like it’s all good. We focus on branding and sales and marketing. But really right now if you’re honest with yourself, you’re going through a pretty rough time. So what I’m gonna do is I’m going to share with you the video that my dad recorded for me without me knowing before he died in ultimately the best gift my dad could have given me.

And if you’re out there right now and you’re, you’re, you’re dealing with that, all I can tell you is that I know for my personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I believe God has a plan for your life and that I’m just go to a local church, talk to somebody. But I just know that for me, I had a piece that was beyond all understanding a piece beyond all understanding because I believed you might say you’re, you’re an idiot. You don’t know you’re talking about. But there’s a verse I read over and over and over, and I’ll put it on today’s show notes, but it’s flipping ns four slash seven. And it says, and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Jesus Christ. And so that’s what I, I, I was cleaning too, was that I was just like praying for this piece to my God.

I’m going to do the best I can, but I’m going to at the end of the day, I have to just let you do the rest because I can’t handle it. And the only guy who knew what I was really going through with was Dr Z. and one day in our meeting I was talking to our team and uh, I started to like, just, he could see in my eyes, like tears welling up, but it wasn’t anything about what we were talking about. The tears were welling up and he pulls me aside. He says, hey guys, real quick. I’m, uh, I’m going to take over for a second and I think you had a meeting. If you want to go knock that out. I’ll take over. He led the meeting, did it for me, and afterwards he looks me in the eyes and he says, Hey man, I know your dad’s going to die and I don’t have any words to tell you that are positive, but I can tell you, um, when he does pass, you know, if you need a plan B, like I can’t replace your debt, but if you need a business, Dan, if you need a Dad, I’m your guy.

And that is why I love Dr Zellner because the dudes all business weren’t talking business. But the fact that you could look at a, you know, 35 year old guy who’s losing his dad and you could watch my eyes and know that I needed somebody to come in and relieve me for a moment and not do it in an embarrassing way, but to do it in a way that’s like, hey, I got this guys clean. I think he had a meeting he took, he took over the meeting and then when I saw him again to pull me aside and go, Hey, when your dad passes, if you need a dad, I don’t know that you’re looking for one, but if you need one, I’m your guy. I’m here for you. And he is, he really is my dead. We don’t agree on everything. But Dr Zellner has done, done more for, for the Clark family than anybody could possibly know.

So if you’re out there and you know, Dr Zellner just let me just tell them. Thank you. I mean that guy has changed my life forever and so I’m going to play this audio that my dad left for me and we typically in the show with a boom, but I’m going to end the show with my dad, my dad, spinal message in words for me. And hopefully this helps somebody out there. And, uh, again, if you’re going, listen buddy, I’m trying to listen to the show because it’s a business show. I’m not looking for some deeper things that, that’s fine. You can, you can skip. But this is what my dad’s final words were to me and something that I listened to every week.

Well, I want to start out, but speaking to you, Carson, I’ve been very proud of you son. You’ve overcome some disabilities learning disabilities and you’re a straight a student. Can’t feed your how you do that. It’s amazing. You’ve also married a wonderful woman and Leesha and you’re very well matched and I foresee a very long marriage for you guys. So I’m. I’m very proud of you. I love you both. You probably have wondered, son, how in the world did I get the name Carson? Well, you know, I’m a tonight show fan and I watched Johnny Carson

the time

I chose cars. Not because I wanted you to become an entertainer or anything like that. Johnny Carson was excellent and making other people better. He was very entertaining, not because he was being funny because he was allowing them to be their best. And that’s what I’m hoping for for you as you go into ministry, bring out what’s best and other people.


Also Johnny Carson did not suffer fools easily. And you do share that trait with him a little easier. Okay fellow, you’ll do great. But I want you to just make other people better. And I think in that ministry and watching what you’re doing with Trinity Abby and what you’ve done with university evie,

that is remarkable.

Keep it up and I know you’re going to have tremendous success growing more and more people to the kingdom. So God bless you. My son orders Rodney Dangerfield and say, love you Clayton,

not clay

Clayton. You always be Clayton to me. You’re named after your grandfather actually were all named after your grandfather. Use Thomas Clayton Clark senior. I’m Thomas Clayton Carlson Junior. And I didn’t want somebody calling you tray. So you’re Clayton Thomas. Mark Son, I’m really proud of you. You overcame stammering. No, you speak for a living. That’s amazing. You couldn’t get two words together at one time. Now can’t shut you up. So one of those, I’m exceptionally proud of your son and I just asked you to keep going, keep focused. And when you called me that day and said, you promise to be a follower of Christ all your life, that meant everything to me. So I’m just praying a blessing on you that you will continue to be successful in your business and your family. And number one in service to your Lord. Go get ’em tiger.

Okay. One last thing. I would like to say, the most important thing. We can’t begin to express the amount of thanks and gratitude we have for prayer and all the support physically, spiritually, every week. We had some people on facebook that we knew. It’s blown up. People beyond what I can kill people in the church. Prayers, support. They’ve offered this, even this chair, which is a lift chair, which helps me get up, which was given to me last night. How can you think somebody for those things? It’s unbelievable, but I know there’s hundreds if not thousands of people that are lifting me up in prayer and I know that God answers prayer and my desire is to be healed in this life, normal life. But main thing that I want you to pray for. And so no one can go without a hearing, the message from Jesus and his saving power and his love. That’s the number one thing we want out there. Focus your prayers on that and please continue to pray for my healing. Thank you so much Mary, and I love you all. Thank you.


Let us know what's going on.

Have a Business Question?

Ask our mentors anything.