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The Five People You Meet in Heaven

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The Five People You Meet in Heaven


15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Do you understand how your life is unfolding? You can find out in heaven, if you want to wait that long.

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative


Mitch Albom’s fable is almost as much a poem as it is a book. You might be tempted to call it a fairy tale for adults, but fairy tales don’t have 83-year-old maintenance men with bitter regrets and grease-stained fingers. Meet Eddie, a man whose life is haunted by an abusive father, a cherished wife lost young to cancer and a child he accidentally killed during war. When Eddie dies while saving a little girl from falling debris at the amusement park where he works, he begins a new journey, a trek through heaven where the deeper meaning of his life’s meandering course is revealed to him. He learns that from heaven’s perspective, all lives are secretly interconnected. He also comes to understand that people must forgive in order to move forward, on earth as well as in heaven, and that love prevails over death every time. This is an elegantly written, approachable small book filled with a gentle sort of kind wisdom. Thankfully, it is almost no more saccharine than necessary. getAbstract recommends it warmly, though heaven is a bit off our beaten path.


The End

The story of Eddie begins with his death. It turns out all endings are also beginnings.

Eddie spent his last hour at Ruby Pier, the ocean-side amusement park where he worked. Ruby Pier had the usual attractions, a Ferris wheel, bumper cars and an arcade. Eddie was a strong old fellow who walked with a cane, and his job was to maintain the rides. He would stroll over to the Tilt-A-Whirl or the Pipeline Plunge and check to ensure that no parts were loose. He listened carefully to the motors and gears and oiled them when they needed tending.

The children called him "the ride man at Ruby Pier." With 19 minutes left on earth, he sat down in an old aluminum beach chair to rest in a place that used to be the Stardust Band Shell. A little girl ran up to Eddie and asked him to make an animal for her. He pulled three yellow pipe cleaners out of his shirt pocket. He twisted them with trembling hands, and a moment later handed her a pipe-cleaner rabbit. She thanked him with delight and danced away.

A moment later he heard a sound a shout: "Oh my God, Look!"

Eddie looked up and saw that one of the carts atop the Freddy’s Free Fall ride was tilted at a ...

About the Author

Detroit Free Press syndicated columnist Mitch Albom is the author of the bestseller Tuesdays with Morrie and six other books. The Associated Press Sports Editors of America named him the country’s top sports columnist 13 times. He founded two volunteer programs: A Time to Help and The Dream Fund, which helps underprivileged kids study art.

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