In The Curriculum, Albom explains that the last class his professor taught was about the meaning of life, taking place on Tuesday. The class was not for any grade, but for knowledge in the most important aspects of life. Then Albom says “you were expected to produce one long paper on what was learned. That paper is presented here”. Albom continues by flashing back to his college graduation. After the ceremonies end, he finds his favorite professor, Morrie Schwartz. Morrie admires Albom, telling his parents how special he is. Because Albom does not want Morrie to forget about him, he gives a briefcase with the initials M.S. on the front. Following, Albom agrees to keep in touch with Morrie, who is crying when he steps back.
In The Syllabus, Albom shares the time when Morrie finds out about his disease. He can not dance, run, and is getting weaker. When he consults a doctor, they find he is suffering from ALS. Morrie keeps teaching at Brandeis, even though he does not have to. He just wants his life to be normal again. Albom puts it perfectly, saying, “ALS is like a lit candle: it melts your nerves and leaves your body a pile of wax”. Morrie realizes that instead of dying a waste, he can make his last few months useful. He wants to prove he could be of use even in his suffering. Since he thinks post-death funerals are useless, he holds a living funeral, where people share stories and chat so he can interact with them before he dies.
The Student is about Albom and what he does with his life. He was losing touch with all of his friends, including Morrie. His life is not turning out the way he wanted. Soon, his uncle dies of pancreatic cancer. This is when Albom turns his life around. He earns a degree in journalism and begins sportswriting for the Detroit Free Press. He does not know of Morrie’s illness, because he throws away all of the mail from Brandeis, assuming it was soliciting money.
In The Audiovisual, Morrie is interviewed about his life as a man suffering of ALS. Meanwhile, Albom and Morrie have not had contact since the graduation. Ted Koppel of ABC came to interview Morrie. Before Morrie agreed to be on TV, he wanted to “check [Ted] out” first. They talked about dependency on others, faith, and dying, to name a few subjects. Albom realizes that he needs to get in touch with Morrie. After the interview, Albom goes into a flashback of the time he first walked into class and Morrie asked if he preferred Mitch or Mitchell. This is the beginning of their friendship.
In The Orientation, Morrie and Albom finally meet up again. They engage in a nice hug, and this reminds Albom of his deep friendship with his mentor. It was apparent that Morrie was dying, and Albom knew. This was the beginning of their final class together. Albom then flashes back to a time when they ate together in the cafeteria. The way Albom’s “coach” ate cracked him up, and made him want to give him a napkin and hug him.
In The Classroom, Albom shows the sequence of events leading up to their final class. He asks questions that show Albom is not living life how he wants to. He was shocked how easily Morrie accepted dying. To demonstrate his weakening, Morrie shows Albom one of the breathing tests his doctor had him take. The men say goodbye, and Albom didn’t want to remember the last time they said goodbye. Another flashback happens, this time when Albom was picking up the books for Morrie’s class. Morrie tells Albom about the tension of opposites, and how people are stuck in the middle.
In Taking Attendance, Albom continues on with his life, covering tennis in Wimbledon. He was thinking more and more about his life, his job, and what he spent his time doing. Instead of enjoying himself, he overworked himself. When he got back home, he found “his” union was striking, meaning he was out of a job. He called Morrie, and they arranged their first Tuesday meeting. The routine flashback at the end of the chapter was about a conversation Morrie and Albom had. They discussed what Albom wanted to do with his life, and he said he wanted to play piano. Morrie seemingly inspired him, but Albom kept his thankful feelings to himself.
The First Tuesday
In The First Tuesday, they begin their meetings by talking about the world. Morrie thought that the strike Albom lost his job from could have easily been solved with respect and peaceful communication. Albom asks about the read newspaper, and Morrie says he’s still keeping up, and can sympathize with the sad stories of death. Morrie repeatedly expresses how important it is to love others. Then the flashback comes, and this time it is filled with silence in one of Morrie’s college classes from long ago. After class, Morrie asks Albom why he didn’t talk more, and he said he didn’t have anything to say. Morrie replied by saying that Albom probably did have something to say, and that he didn’t speak much as a younger man, another similarity.
The Second Tuesday
In The Second Tuesday, Morrie talks about self-pity. At this point, Albom’s job situation is getting worse, and visiting Morrie is a “cleansing rinse of human kindness”. Morrie talks about the mornings when he wakes up and feels sorry for himself. He only lets the pity go on a short time. After that, Albom is taught how to pick up Morrie, and it shows him how helpless Morrie really is. This is a wake up call that they do not have much time together, and Albom “has to do something”. In the anecdote, Albom flashes back to a class where they perform a trust test, and only one girl has the bravery to fall and trust that her classmate would catch her.
The Third Tuesday
In The Third Tuesday, Morrie talks about regrets. This is the first meeting that Albom brings his new tape recorder, so he can remember everything Morrie has to say. Morrie tells Albom that the culture “doesn’t encourage you to think about such things until you’re about to die”. People need to step back and look at their lives to see if they are satisfied. The flashback at the end goes to Albom’s honor thesis about sports. Morrie suggests that Albom come back for grad school, which brings up the “tension of opposites”.
The Audiovisual Part 2
In The Audiovisual Part 2, Morrie and Koppel revisit on national television. They talk about Morrie’s thoughts of the illness taking his voice. At the end of the show, Morrie read a letter he received from a teacher in Pennsylvania who had a class where every student had lost a parent. Morrie gets very sad when he reads his response, saying he was so lonely when his mom died, and it still made him sad, 70 years later.
In The Professor, Albom flashes back to Morrie’s childhood. His mother dies, and Morrie is ashamed of the state he is in. He lived in poverty, barely scraping by. His brother had polio and his dad was never in a good mood. His new stepmother was much more enthusiastic, trying to cheer up the boys. She sparked Morrie’s love for education. Morrie’s dad wanted him to get a job in the factory, but Morrie hated it. Luckily for him, there were no open positions, and that day he vowed to never do work that exploited someone else.
The Fourth Tuesday
In The Fourth Tuesday, Morrie and Albom talk about death. Morrie’s health was getting worse; his writing was unreadable and he had to breathe through an oxygen machine. He says that people need to be prepared for death at any time, and make sure they are satisfied. Morrie says, “Once you learn how to die, you learn how to live.” Then he suggests that Albom make room for spiritual things. Later, Morrie’s sons come to read letters from “Nightline” viewers. In the ending anecdote, which seems to be recent, Albom and Morrie talk about Lou Gehrig, and the chance that Morrie’s disease was named after an athlete.
The Fifth Tuesday
In The Fifth Tuesday, they talk about family. Morrie says that family is mandatory, because you need the love and support they provide. He says that his sons, wife, and other family members have eased his slow dying experience. When they move on to Albom’s family, he transitions to his brother, who was the polar opposite of Albom. When his brother grew older, after moving to Spain, he was diagnosed with cancer, but refused to get together with his family. The disconnect between Albom and his brother fueled him to work, because it was something he could control. The flashback is about the brother sledding down the street, flirting with the risk of being taken out by a car. They did not think about the chance of dying when they did it.
The Sixth Tuesday
The Sixth Tuesday is about emotions. When Albom arrives with his regular supply of food, he discovers that Morrie can not eat most of it, but would not turn it down because he did not want to hurt Albom’s feelings. Morrie’s health is rapidly declining, and he needs more medication than ever. When they begin talking about emotions, Morrie says that you must detach from emotions, but not before you experience them. He says that you must not let fear control you, but see fear how it is. He then enters a coughing fit, and after it ends, he says that he wants to die peacefully, not violently like the cough attack. In the flashback, Morrie says that if he were to reincarnate, he would become a gazelle, because it is such a graceful and free animal. This is fitting, because Morrie is so peaceful and calm.
The Professor Part 2
This followup chapter to The Professor talks about Morrie’s life after school. He researched at a mental hospital, intrigued by the patients. He thought that if he paid attention to them, it would help, and sure enough it did. He thought that the hospital workers had no compassion, which proved money can’t buy happiness. When he went on to Brandeis as a teacher, he made massive contributions. For example, he suggested teachers give all their students A’s so they couldn’t be sent off to war. There were many other instances where Morrie brought peace to the campus. At the end, Albom tells about a time when he was reading about death and how different people thought it would play out.
The Seventh Tuesday
In this chapter, they talk about aging. Morrie now had someone doing everything for him, including wiping his behind. He was at a point in life where he needed friends and family to support him. Albom and Morrie talk about how much youth is glorified, and aging is denied and frowned upon. Everybody wants to be younger. People care too much about their appearance, and not enough about knowledge and wisdom. There’s no reason to fear aging, because it will happen to everyone and can’t be avoided. Instead of wishing you could go back, embrace the present and think about the future.
The Eighth Tuesday
In the Eighth Tuesday, Albom and Morrie discuss money. Morrie says that people need to stop putting their values in the wrong things, like money. Having more stuff does not make a person more successful than someone with less stuff. He then says "[y]ou can't substitute material things for love or for gentleness or for tenderness or for a sense of comradeship". This continues into a conversation of wants versus needs. Morrie says that people's perception of that is so messed up, because of what the media tells them. Instead of wanting to make money, volunteer yourself to help others with a talent you have.
The Ninth Tuesday
In the Ninth Tuesday, Morrie talks about love. Morrie's condition was worsening, he could hardly move and he had to pee into a tube. As Morrie put it, "[w]hen you're in bed, you're dead". Morrie informs Albom that Ted Koppel wants to interview him again, but they want to wait. There might not be time to wait, because Morrie might lose his voice, or worse, die. Then Albom shares a time when Morrie decides that his tombstone will say "A Teacher to the Last". He continues on about kindness and love, and then tells about his father, Charlie. He died of a heart attack after being robbed of his money on the Bronx streets. Morrie says that he wants his loved ones to be near when he dies, so that he can say goodbye properly.
The Tenth Tuesday
In the Tenth Tuesday, Morrie talks about marriage. Morrie finally gets to meet Janine, Albom's wife, at their next meeting. They click instantly. When Morrie asks for her to sing, she does so without hesitation. Morrie loved her voice, and starting crying tears of joy when she was finished. It was like you could "see him dancing inside". When they get to the lesson, Morrie says that marriages are flawed now because people do not commit, they are selfish, and they lack respect and communication. In the anecdote, Morrie says that he thought God was too harsh on Job when testing his faith.
The Eleventh Tuesday
In the Eleventh Tuesday, Morrie talks about our culture. At the beginning of the chapter, Albom is hitting Morrie to free up the "poison" in his lungs. Albom noticed that as time went on, he was less concerned with Morrie's physical embarrassment because he wanted as much time as possible. Morrie says that instead of worrying about culture that people should create their own cultures and be themselves. At the end of the chapter, Morrie makes a strong statement about help from others. He says that we need help from others at all times in life, not just as children and elders. In the anecdote at the end, Morrie points out that there is nothing wrong with being number 2 when the student section at a basketball game start chanting "we're number one".
The Audiovisual Part 3
In The Audiovisual Part 3, Morrie and Koppel conduct their final interview for "Nightline". The crew has to set up in his study because that is where he stays and can't leave. He can not even move anymore, demonstrating that to a national television audience by lifting his arm up high as possible, hardly above his waist. His final words are of compassion, when he says "[l]ove each other or die". Afterwards, Koppel compliments Morrie, and he says that the disease may get his body, but it will never get his spirit.
The Twelfth Tuesday
In the Twelfth Tuesday, Morrie talks about forgiveness. He talks about leaving on a good term, being well with others and not having any regrets. He talks about his friend Norman, who created a sculpture of Morrie's face that was in his house. Norman moved away, they lost touch, and he died of cancer. "You need to make peace with yourself and everyone around you." In an anecdote, Morrie says that he's decided where he wants to be buried, and makes sure that Albom will visit and share his problems with the deceased Morrie.
The Thirteenth Tuesday
In the Thirteenth Tuesday, Morrie talks about the perfect day. Morrie decided that he wanted to be cremated, and joked "[m]ake sure they don't overcook me". Then he goes on to question why people fear death. He says it's "part of the deal we make" and that we need to accept death and live peacefully. The thing is, after you die, people will still remember you. "Death ends a life, not a relationship." Albom asks Morrie what he would do if he could have a full day perfectly healthy. Morrie's simple dream day includes swimming, lunch with friends, a nice duck dinner, and dancing, of course. At the end, Morrie reiterates that Albom needs to get in touch with his brother. Then the anecdote tells a short story about a wave crashing into shore. The wave is not a wave, though, it is a part of the ocean.
The Fourteenth Tuesday
In the Fourteenth Tuesday, Morrie dies. He could barely breathe and was sleeping in bed, which was uncharacteristic of him. His voice was slow and his words hardly got out. Their goodbye is very brief. Morrie tells Albom he is a good soul, and Albom says that he will see Morrie next Tuesday, even though he knows it is not likely.
In the Graduation, Albom visits Morrie's funeral. When Morrie died, his family was at his house. Morrie fell into a coma a couple days after Albom last saw him, and his family members took turns watching over his bedside. He died at a moment when nobody was in the room, because all of his family were grabbing coffee. At the funeral, Albom found that the burial spot of Morrie's ashes was beautiful, and he bent down and enjoyed an imaginary conversation with Morrie.
In the Conclusion, Albom brings closure to the story. He says that Morrie "was changing until the day he died". Afterwards, Albom got in touch with his brother, and they exchanged faxes regularly. The writing of Tuesdays With Morrie was Morrie's idea, and the advance money paid for his large medial bills. The last paragraph of the book is from the beginning chapter, rephrased. "The class met on Tuesdays. No books were required. The subject was the meaning of life. It was taught from experience. The teaching goes on."