From Life’s Little Instruction Book


Jackson Brown originally wrote Life’s Little Instruction book as a gift for his son who was leaving home to begin his freshman year in college. Brown says, “I read years ago that it was not the responsibility of parents to pave the road for their children but to provide a road map, and I wanted to provide him with what I had learned about living a happy and rewarding life.” Life’s Little Instruction Book is a guidebook that gently points the way to happiness and fulfillment. The observations are direct, simple, and as practical as an umbrella.

“Most of us already know how to live a successful and purposeful life,” says Brown. “We know we should be more understanding and thoughtful, more responsible, courageous and appreciative. It’s just that we sometimes need reminding.”

Here are excerpts from the book.

1. Love deeply and passionately.  You might get hurt, but it’s the only way to live life completely.

2. When you get really angry, stick your hands in your pockets.

3. Accept the fact that regardless of how many times you’re right, you will sometimes be wrong.

4. Remember the 3 Rs: Respect for self; Respect for others; Responsibility for all your actions.

5. Write a short note inside the front cover when giving a book as a gift.

6. Don’t think expensive equipment will make up for a lack of talent or practice.

7. Life will sometimes hand you a magical moment.  Savor it.

8. Marry a woman you love to talk to.  As you get older, her conversational skills will be as important as any other.

9. Live a good, honorable life.  Then when you get older and think back, you’ll get to enjoy it a second time.

10. Never say anything uncomplimentary about your wife or children in the presence of others.

11. In disagreements with loved ones, deal with the current situation.  Don’t bring up the past.

12. Share your knowledge.  It’s a way to achieve immortality.

13. Remember that great love and great achievements involve great risk.

14. Apologize immediately when you lose your temper, especially to children.

15. Don’t confuse comfort with happiness.

16. Check for toilet paper before sitting down.

17.When you are totally exhausted but have to keep going, wash your face and hands and put on clean socks and a clean shirt.  You will feel remarkably refreshed.

18. Remember that nothing important ever happens until someone takes a chance.

19. Hire people more for their judgment than for their talents.

20. Don’t outlive your money.