Saturday, 27 December 2014

Book review: The Five People You Meet In Heaven

I realize that not looking at the stock market is a good decision. Now, I don't look at it as frequently as I used to be. It has been "a while" since I don't write non-investment stuff, today I am writing a book review, a book written by my favorite author.

Title: The Five People You Meet In Heaven
Author: Mitch Albom
Category: Fiction (Philosophy)
Year: 2003
ISBN: 978-0-7515-3614-0

The first time I saw this book was in 2008, where I have a glance through the Chinese-translated version of this book. I skimmed over it very quickly, have a feeling that this will be a good book to read. My feeling could not have been more accurate. I am impressed by the author's writing skill. Later on, I bought the English version.

The background is about an old man, Eddie, working in an amusement park for most of its life. He felt bored of the work and useless about himself for not accomplishing anything in his life. This book describes Heaven as a place where you seek answers for unanswered questions in your life. After Eddie's death, he met five people in the heaven. These people answered the questions that he has been seeking in his life, as to why these people crossed his path, as to how these people altered his life and as to why things happened as they did.

The first people he met is a guy that died for him. The whole point of this lesson is: Everything happens for a reason. I believe in this:  that what goes around comes around;  that there are no random acts; that all things are connected; This has nothing to do with religions though, is just a way of looking into life.

I like a quote in this chapter, that Eddie said it isn't fair that why the guy has to die for him and why he doesn't have to pay for his "sin". The guy replied:
"Fairness, does not govern life and death. If it did, no good person would ever die young."

The second people is Eddie's captain during war time.  Eddie lost one leg in the war. Everything changed after that. This lesson tells us that we have to make sacrifice in our lives.

Sacrifice. We made choices everyday, big and small. We inevitably need to sacrifice something to gain another. You win something, you lose something. Give and take. There is a balance to it all. The important thing is we can't keep thinking about what we've lost or what we should have chosen instead.

Another quote:
"Sometimes when you sacrifice something precious, you are not really losing it(the thing that you've sacrificed). You are just passing it on to someone else."

What a quote! This is strengthening what the author wrote for the first lesson, that all lives intersect.

The third person is a stranger to Eddie, yet she is connected with Eddie somehow. Eddie was angry with his father for the whole life, thinking that his father is accountable for all of his losses. But holding anger is a poison which eats you from inside. Hatred is a curved blade, the harm we do, we do to ourselves. That's why we need to forgive.

I like the analogy of curved blade. This is similar to people saying, when you point one finger to other, you are pointing three fingers to yourself.

The fourth person is his wife. His wife died early. Eddie lives by himself after that. His lost wife is the person that he has ever loved. This lesson is about how love goes on, even after death. Death merely ends a life, not a true love.

"Lost love is still love. It only takes a different form -- memory."
"Life has to end, but love does not."


Eddie's job is to maintain the rides in an amusement park. He felt his job is useless, boring and accomplished nothing. Therefore, the fifth person is to let Eddie knows that his job is important to maintain the safety of others, to kept the rides in the park functioning properly. The message conveyed is: Do not belittle yourself, do not feel unimportant for what you are doing. You may not know it at the time, but you will, in the future.

This is a very short review of the book. There are still a lot of great quotes and stories in the book. This is a great book. Totally awesome. However, on the way reading the story which leads to the lesson may be boring. Give it some patience, you will find the time spent is worthy.