Schwartz's and Albom's conversations canvas acceptance, communication, love, values, openness, and happiness. Albom emphasizes the importance of forging a culture of one's own to transcend the tyranny of popular culture, suggesting that the media are preoccupied with death, hatred, violence and depression. Misquoting his favorite poet, W. H. Auden, Schwartz insists we must "love each other or perish".
Throughout the text Albom's character changes as Schwartz's stories inspire him. Albom brings food to Schwartz at every visit, an affirmation of life and health. It is the only gift besides company that Albom is able to provide to Schwartz in his suffering.