DO YOU FIND LIFE IN THE '90S TAXING? Are you unenlightened by philosophy, bereft of metaphysics, intimidated by fortune cookies? Maybe you need Life's Little Instruction Book, which has perched atop the best-seller lists for eight months, providing a quick fix for countless seekers after truth—simple truth, that is.
This siring of 511 pearls of gee-whiz wisdom is the work of H. Jackson Brown Jr., a Nashville advertising man who professes to be surprised by the book's success. "It was written for my son, Adam, who was going off to college," says Brown. "I wasn't writing for anyone else out there. I was just saying, 'Adam, your dad has lived 50 years, half a century. Obviously I know more than you because I've lived longer.' " But Brown was willing when a publisher friend, who had put out two earlier books of Brown's—collections of his parents' sayings—asked to publish the list, which includes chestnuts such as:
Don't burn bridges. You'll be surprised how many times you have to cross the same river.
Never go to bed with dirty dishes in the sink.
Learn to handle a handsaw and a hammer.
Live your life so that your epitaph could read "No regrets."
Brown certainly has. "I was lucky to marry the person I did," he says about Rosemary, his wife of 22 years. "And I'm lucky to have this little advertising business that I love."
As for Adam, 20, the original beneficiary of these musings, he is an advertising major at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, helping to pay his way by working as a bartender—and still consulting the 32 pages of notes his father gave him in 1990. "I've got a couple of favorite ones," he says. "My all-time favorite is 'Don't major in minor things.' They have helped me keep my own life in perspective."
On Newsstands Now
- The Little Couple: A New Mom's Fight to Live
- Remembering Nelson Mandela
- Princess Kate's Style Secret!
Pick up your copy on newsstands
Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine