In the Fall of 1990, Mr. Brown sat at his kitchen table, pulled out a pad of paper and began writing advice to his son, who had just entered college.
Mr. Brown’s aphorisms eventually evolved into twenty one books, including four New York Times bestsellers. With Life’s Little Instruction Book, Mr. Brown became the first author to simultaneously hold the number one positions on both of the NYT’s hardback and paperback lists.
Some of Mr. Brown’s quotes have become so well known that they are often mis-attributed to historical figures, including the following, which is widely credited to Mark Twain: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.
So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
As James Clear notes in The #1 Regret Of Dying Patients, far too many people spend their final stage of life regretting their youthful choices. Mr. Brown’s advice will help you to, “live a good, honorable life which you can enjoy a second time when you are old.”
When read nearly twenty-five years after they were penned, some of Mr. Brown’s musing are anachronisms (e.g., “Don’t sit while ladies are standing”), while others are banal (“Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth”).
However, the vast majority of the 1,560 quotations in Volumes I – III of Life’s Little Instruction Book, are clever, relevant and inspirational.
Below are 43 quotes in bold text which are relevant to business executives who want to live a regret-free life. I categorized the quotes by: aspiration, kindness, leadership, success and happiness.
In a few instances, I have slightly paraphrased Mr. Brown’s original text – my apologies to Mr. Brown and his purist fans.