Posted in Tips From Other Humans, Work Tips BookClub

An Instruction Book For Life

Way back in 1991, H. Jackson Brown, Jr wrote a small book of life advice that became very popular. I don’t know who he was, or what the ‘H’ stands for, but he apparently wrote the list of guidelines for his son who was heading off to college. And then it became a global bestseller, so that’s surely a win-win.


Around that time, I think I was in a phase where I loved motivational things – I remember having a pinboard in my room with inspiring quotes stuck on it, and a weird Nike poster, and even a fortune cookie message: You would make a good lawyer, for no detail escapes your attention. (As an aside, I feel that fortune cookie advice would be just as good as the advice given by many high school careers / guidance counsellors – must look into this as a business idea…)

Anyway, I found the book on my shelf during a spring cleaning campaign, and thought I’d save you the trouble of reading the whole thing by sharing some highlights from the (slightly yellowed) pages here today.

And so it begins.
Still relevant after all these years. Especially #53 right now, Australia.

And some of the advice is bizarrely specific, and a little judge-y. Like #85: Never encourage anyone to become a lawyer. That’s a bit harsh, H.


The instructions certainly cover a lot of ground, from the philosophical to the mundane. From marshmallows in hot chocolate to learning CPR.


So 1991. As if these will still be relevant in 2017. [Cough, cough]
And another very precise instruction is #396. I don’t really like fruitcake, so it works for me as a tip for both work and life.


Like all good things, the stream of advice must come to an end. Strangely enough, it ends on instruction #477, and is then followed by five completely blank pages to complete the book. Maybe it’s meant to be a cliffhanger, as there was at least one if not two sequels to this one (yes, I think I have them).


And with that, I am off to call my mother.


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