Albom has said the book was inspired by his real life uncle Eddie Beitchman who like the character served during World War II in the Philippines and died when he was 83. He is also well known for his philanthropic work in Detroit Michigan where he founded four charities. Many of his columns have been collected into anthology books including Live Albom I (Detroit Free Press 1988) Live Albom II (Detroit Free Press 1990) Live Albom III (Detroit Free Press 1992) and Live Albom IV (Detroit Free Press 1995).
His books have sold over 30 million copies worldwide. Mitchell David "Mitch" Albom (born May 23 1958) is an American best-selling author journalist screenwriter dramatist radio and television broadcaster and musician. Having achieved national recognition for his sports writing in the earlier part of his career he is perhaps best known for the inspirational stories and themes that weave through his books plays and films.