I’d bet money you know this guy: H. Jackson Brown Jr.

Without the help of your favorite search engine, can you say who H. Jackson Brown Jr. is?

Is that name even a slightly familiar? I’m going to guess that some of you thought of that guy who sang “Running on Empty” and “Doctor My Eyes;” others might have thought of some obscure Southern politician; and a few might have said to yourself — based on the blog you’re currently reading — “I bet it’s an author.”

Points to those who picked Door #3.

But what did he or she write?

(I’ll conceded that I never considered H. Jackson Brown Jr. a woman for various contextual clues in the name itself. Though certainly stranger things are possible.)

Let’s go with “he.”

Now do you have an idea of who this man is?

You must.

He’s the guy who wrote “Life’s Little Instruction Book.”

You’ve read it. And page after page, you said to yourself, “That’s a good idea.” or “Duh? Common sense.” or “I wonder how much this guy made pointing out the obvious?”

He probably has more money than he could ever use. But did you recognize his name?


You knew the title of his book, but not who wrote it. You hadn’t a clue who pulled together 511 snappy sentences and made more money in a week than a schoolteacher makes in a decade. (Side note: I bet you could name at least a half dozen teachers you had in grade school.)

H. Jackson Brown Jr. went on to write a bunch of books in the same vein. The serialization of the original book must have been based on the notion that we Americans couldn’t get enough of the idea that LIFE had a do-it-yourself handbook, which if you followed the directives would result in happiness and love and success.

I bought the first one — skipped the rest.

So today, in honor of the billionaire who, in my humble opinion, did little more than Americanize hundreds of ancient axioms, I will meditate on this one:

Judge your success by the degree you’re enjoying peace, health, and love.

Because no amount of money can buy those three things. Which is good because I haven’t made one nickle in this venture into a writing life but spending my time with words and ideas and stories has, without a doubt, amplified all three of those.

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