Mitch Albom rocketed to literary superstardom upon the publication of Tuesdays with Morrie, his third book and first memoir, in 1997. It’s widely considered one of the best books by Mitch Albom, but what about the rest of his oeuvre? We’ve pulled together this definitive ranking of the author’s most popular books so that you can explore Albom’s body of work for yourself.
Mitch Albom was born in Passaic, NJ in 1958. He holds an undergraduate degree in sociology from Brandeis University and two master’s degrees from the Columbia University Graduate Schools of Journalism and Business.
By the mid-1980s, Albom had made a name for himself as an award-winning sports journalist. He wrote two sports biographies — Fab Five and Bo, the latter of which was co-written with its subject — before publishing his breakout memoir in 1997. Albom continues to cover sports and write opinion pieces for the Detroit Free Press today. Along with Mike Lupica and Bob Ryan, he co-hosts Compass Media Networks’ bi-weekly Sports Reporters podcast.
Tuesdays with Morrie chronicles Albom’s 1995 reunion with his former sociology professor at Brandeis, Morrie Schwartz. The two men reconnected just a few short months before Schwartz’s death from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis at age 78. Oprah Winfrey optioned the book for a TV film of the same name, which premiered in 1999 and starred Hank Azaria (The Simpsons) and Jack Lemmon (Some Like It Hot) as Albom and Schwartz, respectively. The Onion lampooned Tuesdays’ enduring popularity in 2004, with the headline: “New York Times Seeks Court Order To Remove Tuesdays With Morrie From Bestseller List.”
Best Books by Mitch Albom
Tuesdays with Morrie
Tuesdays with Morrie is Albom’s most popular book by far. The memoir recounts 14 life lessons Morrie Schwartz imparted upon Albom before Schwartz’s death from ALS. Schwartz’s lessons touch on common themes of the human condition, including family, forgiveness, regrets, aging, marriage, and more. Twenty-five years after it first appeared on store shelves, Tuesdays with Morrie has sold more than 17 million copies.
The Five People You Meet in Heaven
Albom’s first published work of fiction, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, follows Eddie, an elderly maintenance worker at an amusement park, who goes to heaven after his heroic death saving a child’s life. At the time of his death, Eddie has spent more than 80 years feeling as if life has completely passed him by. He only learns the truth once he reaches the afterlife. Everyone who dies is given a series of five escorts as they move through Heaven, who teach the recently deceased important things about the life they’ve just left behind. Fans of It’s a Wonderful Life will find much to love here.
For One More Day
Charley has been caught in a tragic, downward spiral since his father went AWOL. After he destroys his relationship with his own family in much the same way, Charley makes a rash decision, only to find himself reunited with his late mother in his childhood home. Over one impossible, fateful day, he uncovers the secrets his mother kept from him about both herself and his father. He slowly begins to see where his life went off the rails — and how to get it back on track — in For One More Day.
The Time Keeper
The Time Keeper centers on one man’s journey to become Father Time. Incarcerated for centuries after he invents the clock, Dor emerges with a newfound understanding for humans’ appreciation of time — or lack thereof. To redeem himself for his own crimes against God’s design, Father Time is tasked with saving two people on the verge of death: a teenage girl who wants to die by suicide and an elderly businessman who plans to be cryogenically frozen.
Have a Little Faith: A True Story
In his second memoir, Albom recounts his eight-year-long friendships with two men: one an aging rabbi in New Jersey, the other a formerly incarcerated pastor in Detroit. Knowing his own death is approaching, the rabbi of the temple Albom attended in childhood asks him to write his eulogy, a request that prompted the author to reconnect with the man who helped to shape his faith. Albom simultaneously builds a relationship with Henry Covington, the pastor of a flagging Detroit church. Have a Little Faith contains Albom’s observations of these two men’s missions and struggles, and their impact on his own personal philosophy.
The Stranger in the Lifeboat
We’ve all heard of God saving people, but what if people got the chance to save God? That’s the driving question behind The Stranger in the Lifeboat. Albom’s 2021 novel centers on a detective who must solve a case involving an abandoned lifeboat that washed ashore. The diary inside belongs to Benji, who recounts the harrowing journey of 10 shipwrecked passengers who find an 11th man in the ocean — a man who tells them he is God. Moving between Benji’s story and the detective’s, The Stranger in the Lifeboat unspools the mystery of the empty raft and the man who said he could save it.
The First Phone Call from Heaven
This follow-up to The Five People You Meet in Heaven revolves around a formerly incarcerated widower whose town garners national attention when its citizens begin to receive phone calls from the afterlife. Sully has long since grown jaded with faith and hope, and these uplifting messages from “heaven” sour his mood even further. He sets out to prove that miracles don’t actually happen, in The First Phone Call from Heaven.
The Next Person You Meet in Heaven
The Next Person You Meet in Heaven follows Annie, the girl whose life Eddie saved in The Five People You Meet in Heaven, as she makes her own journey through the afterlife. Annie’s whole life has been spent in the shadow of the accident that nearly cost her her life as a child. She finds herself in Eddie’s shoes when she’s killed in a second accident, this time on her wedding day. Her journey allows her to reconnect with the man who saved her life all those years ago, as well as four others whose lives she touched.
The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto
The Spirit of Music recounts the storied life of one famous, fictional musician, in The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto. After he bounces from home to home in his childhood, the orphaned Frankie takes up the guitar and proves to be a prodigy. What follows is a poetic and heartfelt journey through the American music scene of the 20th century — one that ends in tragedy when Frankie loses his capacity to produce music.
Finding Chika: A Little Girl, an Earthquake, and the Making of a Family
Albom touches on his personal losses in Finding Chika. This memoir revolves around Albom’s adoption of a young Haitian girl, the eponymous Chika, whose brain tumor required treatment not available in Port-au-Prince. Albom and his wife brought Chika to the United States and went on a globetrotting journey in search of a cure — one they ultimately did not find.
Human Touch: A Story in Real Time
Written in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, Human Touch is a work of serial fiction about a small town grappling with the shift in human interaction. As the adults around him crumble under the pressure of lockdown, a young boy whose mother believes he is immune to the virus begins an outreach program, which attracts media attention. But when the boy suddenly vanishes, the town is left to figure out its own future.
Fab Five: Basketball, Trash Talk, The American Dream
Albom’s book-length work of sports writing tells the story of the eponymous Michigan basketball team whose underdog story at the 1992 NCAA tournament drew attention from none less than ESPN. The dreams and ambitions of first-year college students Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King, and Ray Jackson are laid bare in Fab Five.
Here are the answers to a few burning questions from Mitch Albom fans.
What is Mitch Albom’s best-selling book?
Mitch Albom’s best-selling book is Tuesdays with Morrie. As of its 25th anniversary in 2022, publisher Doubleday reported to NPR that the book “has sold nearly 18 million copies globally and has been translated into 48 languages.”
Is the book Tuesdays with Morrie a true story?
Yes, Tuesdays with Morrie is the true story of sportswriter Mitch Albom’s reunion with Brandeis University’s Morrie Schwartz. The two men reconnected 16 years after their last communication with each other, shortly before Schwartz’s death from ALS, after Albom saw his former professor’s Nightline appearance in which he stated that he “wanted to use whatever time he had left to teach about life to whoever would listen.”
What disease did Morrie have on Tuesdays with Morrie?
Morrie Schwartz had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a neurodegenerative disease that causes a progressive decline in motor function. ALS is also commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, after the New York Yankees first baseman and Baseball Hall of Famer who passed away from it in 1941.
How long did Morrie live after he was diagnosed?
Morrie Schwartz received his ALS diagnosis in August 1994. He died approximately 15 months later, in November 1995. He was 78 years old.