Morrie, Oprah Winfrey, Publisher discussed on Le Batard and Friends - South Beach Sessions

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

Who were coming to feed her crack cocaine while he was at basketball practice in so he was big kid so he just stood on the porch and when they would come you'd have his hands dug in his pocket pretending he had a gun. Whatever and they would walk away and that's why had quit now. That's not an everyday story. No permits you had so many of them. It's not an everyday story but Detroit seem to have more of a Miami had plenty of them but you found so many stories like that and I remember admiring men. This dude is going into the grit of his city and he's finding the stuff that's real and human and no one is looking for for. The Grit of our city isn't far from the guild of our city. That's the thing you know. It's blocks away. The crappy parts. Detroit are very close to the resurgence of Detroit. Even now you only have to be everybody talks about how the trump is coming back and there is a a str- avenue Woodward Avenue which is kind of a Broadway which everything is kind of on and go but you go half a mile to the right or the left and you can find any one of those stories so you know I felt. It was my obligation. I thought I wasn't put here for by accident and I could do more good writing about those stories than my friend. Like Lupu who I do. The sports reporters with I remember Mike All those years. Mike would say I write about stars. People know about stars I read about stars and I remember thinking I do. Exactly what am I doing wrong? I'm not writing about anybody. Anybody knows about but you know everybody has a different path and I guess that was my so. How does it end up happening? So you're writing Tuesdays with Morrie and at the time are you seeing? Wow this is going to be powerful content. Like how much is because you were saying. You were wildly ambitious right before that but you learned all sorts of things in there that offered you like sort of spiritual moments of clarity right like what ended up becoming a commercial success. Was it at least in part because of your ambition or were you just sent there by love. No you know and I didn't go there to write a book. I went there to visit with him and At one point you know after a few visits he suggested that we tape our conversation so that I be able to listen to him after he was gone you know and so we started recording them and it was only after. He told me that he was in debt up to his eyeballs because he had taken Alex loans. And you know he couldn't eat and have a good severance going to have tenure deal with his university. He had to pay for two years of worth of people coming to the House because he was dying at home not in hospital and he said I'm going to die and then my family's GonNa have to sell the house because they don't have money to pay these bills in it's killing me. I'm GONNA die twice. And that was the whole for Tuesdays with Morrie and I started going around to publishers in New York and asking them if they could if they were interested in. Could they give just enough money to pay his bills and most of them? Dan said no they weren't even interested in it was boring. It was depressing was a sports writer. Who would read a book like that so I had no confidence even when we found one publisher they gave us the money. I gave all the money to Moore and said you know. Pay Your bills and there was just enough to pay his bills and I always thought I would say you know. Tuesday's more ended for me that day because I finally come around and done one. Nice thing back for this guy who was doing all these nice things for me and I wrote the book really. We're obligated to write the book you know but nobody thought it was going to be successful book. I thought I'd get laughed at. You know in the sports writing community for trying to write the soft a spiritual a spiritual book. Yeah hold on a second if I may because a lot of the people listening to this might be younger and they might not even know what it is that we're talking about as ridiculous as that seems because you wrote a book while not the Koran or the Bible. You wrote a book that people remember and those are rare to come by and so that book and you explain to people the success that it had for the people listening. Don't understand that this level of success has happened. Maybe two five authors ever. Well I'll explain it but I don't WanNa take any credit for it but what happened was They printed twenty thousand copies total and we thought that that would be all that would be. I'd be selling them out of the trunk of my car for the rest of my life. You know and when it came came on August that ever green month for new publications August. That's when you're on a read a book on a spiritual book at that so nobody had any plans for. Didn't it didn't do anything. It just came out and it just kind of sat there you know in terms of sales and things like that but these were the days which are gone now. When bookstores small independent bookstores would sort of pass on books and it started to get this little following independent bookstores would pass it on on a pass it on and it just started to build and they had to go back and reprint but they would reprint like thousand at a time because they said well this is real you nine thousand two thousand and so if you ever look at the front at. Tuesday's more it has like one hundred seventy five printings because I always say. Don't be impressed by that. It's like the first one hundred fifty two thousand at a time and and then it just sort of started to catch on showed up on a bestsellers list in I think November. After it'd come out not August. Usually most books are gone by then and it just started to slowly rise up and then Oprah Winfrey had me on your show for five minutes and I remember I did a five minute segment at the end of show she was doing with Elizabeth Kubler. Ross about that and when I got done the president of Harpo whatever has to see me and he said that was very interesting. Little segment you did. At the end there is a thanks. He said you know. How many books do you have out there now and I said I don't I don't know he said well you better tell your publisher print like two hundred thousand books because that was a powerful segment and I said Would you mind if I dial number in New York right now? Would you say what you just said to me to the person on the other end of the phone and he laughed and said sure so. We've called the publisher and I said listen. I'm sitting here in Chicago. That's where she was with a president of Harpo and he He has something to say so he got him phone and he said Yeah we just did a segment with Michio was really powerful and you know. I think you should have a couple of hundred thousand books out there when this airs in a couple of weeks so they hung up and they printed five thousand and they ran out of books right before Christmas. When that's no hold on a second this this has a happy ending. This all has a happy ending. But so hold on. This is pre Internet. Okay and this is Oprah Winfrey at basically the height of she she can make anything go viral right. And so you go on there you do something that's heartfelt emotional and pure in spirit because you're just trying to help how. What was the nature of his debt can? Can we get into the specifics? He died from Lou Gehrig's disease and he owed Very low six figures In IN MONEY. Which was you know? I mean you know single digits six figures and so you know we. The money went to pay his bills and take care of his family. And all that and that was fine by me. I wasn't doing it to make money and I was just trying to go back to be in a sports writer in surprised that I even got asked. I don't know how Oprah Winfrey found the book I mos- like I reached out to where I couldn't even get on interviews because nobody wanted talk to me because I was a sports writer and they said you know he's not the regular. They couldn't even get on sports programs. Because we don't talk about a dying old man died from Lou Gehrig's disease so there really wasn't that much publicity or anything like that. It just sucked quarter grew and to get to the end of it. Because I don't want to spend a lot of time with what am I? Okay no but okay look. I know there's a lot of ego here here but it's one of the great success stories in the history of writing because if there are many people here who might not have any idea how big that book ended up becoming well cut to the end. It's now the biggest selling memoir in the history of publishing and I don't know how many copies got twenty million or something like that are purchased. But there's also it's taught school systems around the world. Starting all over America in junior highs in even elementary schools sometimes colleges. It's taught in Australia. China Japan Sweden. It's fifty two languages or fifty two countries in forty seven languages. And so I you know the breath of it goes on and on and his teaching goes on and on which I'm happy about you know people but again I don't take credit for. Its not my writing. That may choose as with Maury an embrace book. It's the wisdom that Morrie had and shared that I wrote down. You know I'm Aristotle Plato. Or Plato Darris. Whichever one was the one who wrote down with the other ones that And so I never kidded myself that it was about me but I'm glad that is words or are still being taught an interesting. We can never read a word of it. You know so you think about that. And when I talk about what I've learned from Tuesday's with Morrie I always say you never know the impact. You're going to have on another person that affects another person that affects another personnel affects the world. Maurice Schwartz died. You know not ever knowing that a book was ever. GonNa come out about him. And now they're millions and millions and millions of people around the world who know who he is and and and and have shaped their lives at least in a small way by his philosophy and he's not even here to see that happen so we never know in no the ripples in the pond that were making with our existence. And right there. At that crossroads like you can point to that time learning about death learning about mortality inspecting at an interesting age your own ambition your own ego. Your own. Need to climb professionally. You can point to watching your teacher. Your literal teacher die as the time that your path sort of shifted not to say that we don't have our selfish moments now too but your path shifted to realizing. Oh I need to be a vehicle for something larger than just sports stories that feed my ego. Well Yeah Now yes absolutely. That was the moment to change and it. You know it wasn't even me making that decision. It was the world around me making that decision. Perfect example. Before Tuesday's more came out you know I was on. Espn and people knew my face and they would stop me in airports. And they'd say things like Hey Mitch Albom. Espn WHO's GonNa Win Super Bowl and I would say you know patriots and just kind of go up the escalator. Patriots Watt. By and then after Tuesday's more came out after a little bit People would stop me in airports but they would say hey My mother was dying from cancer. And we just read your book together. That was the last thing we did together. Can I? Can I talk to you about it? And you can't say Patriots go up the escalator. You have to stop and that Dan has happened to me starting then every single day of my life if I go out in public and sometimes hundreds of times in the day I do a speech or at appearance..

Coming up next