Life’s Little Instructions

Here is a review of this book: Life’s Little Instruction Book: Simple Wisdom and a Little Humor for Living a Happy and Rewarding Life Hardcover – by H. Jackson Brown Jr.

The Life’s Little Instruction Book offers insights, simple suggestions, heartfelt humor, and reminders for readers of all ages. I have noted some of my favorite instructions and organized them into categories. If you enjoy these instructions, I recommend that you read the book and discover your personal favorite life’s little instructions.


  • Success
  • Finance
  • Parenting
  • Personal Development
  • Relationship and Love
  • Happiness and Mindfulness
  • Productivity
  • Life Hacks


Don’t work for recognition, but do work worthy of recognition.

Watch for big problems. They disguise big opportunities.

Remember that anything worth doing is going to take longer than you think.

Stand up for your high principles even if you have to stand alone.

Perform your job better than anyone else can. That’s the best job security I know.

Remember this statement by Coach Lou Holtz, “Life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I react to it.”

When there is a hill to climb, don’t think that waiting will make it smaller.

Never hire someone you wouldn’t invite home to dinner.

Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a stroke of good luck.

Don’t let weeds grow around your dreams.

Do a good job because you want to, not because you have to. This puts you in charge instead of your boss.

Become famous for finishing important, difficult tasks.

Ask someone you’d like to know better to list five people he would most like to meet. It will tell you a lot about him.

Keep a diary of your accomplishments at work. Then when you ask for a raise, you’ll have the information you need to back it up.

Remember that just the moment you say, “I give up,” someone else seeing the same situation is saying, “My, what a great opportunity.”

Every once in a while ask yourself the question, “If money weren’t a consideration, what would I like to be doing?”

Never admit at work that you’re tired, angry, or bored.

Question your goals by asking, “Will this help me become my very best?”

When starting out, don’t worry about not having enough money. Limited funds are a blessing, not a curse. Nothing encourages creative thinking in quite the same way.

Be willing to lose a battle in order to win the war.

Remember that overnight success usually takes about fifteen years.

Promise big. Deliver big.

Discipline yourself to save money. It’s essential to success.

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

Don’t delay acting on a good idea. Chances are someone else has just thought of it, too. Success comes to the one who acts first.

Remember that winners do what losers don’t want to do.

Evaluate yourself by your own standards, not someone else’s.

Once a year take your boss to lunch.


Acquire things the old-fashioned way: Save for them and pay cash.

As soon as you get married, start saving for your children’s education.

Remember that wealth is not having all the money you want, but having all the money you need.

Refuse to share personal and financial information unless you feel it is absolutely essential.

Learn to save on even the most modest salary. If you do, you’re almost assured of financial success.

Be ruthlessly realistic when it comes to your finances.

When you find a job that’s ideal, take it regardless of the pay. If you’ve got what it takes, your salary will soon reflect your value to the company.

Ask for a raise when you feel you’ve earned it.

Save ten percent of what you earn.

Never discuss money with people who have much more or much less than you.


Allow your children to face the consequences of their actions.

Give children toys that are powered by their imagination, not by batteries.

Write a thank-you note to your children’s teacher when you see your child learning new things.

When you race your kids, let them win at the end.

To help your children turn out well, spend twice as much time with them and half as much money.

Ask your child to read a bedtime story to you for a change.

Let your children observe you being generous with those in need.

Teach your children never to underestimate someone with a disability.

When no great harm will result, let your children do it their way, even if you know they are wrong. They will learn more from their mistakes than from their successes.

Let your children see you do things for your wife that lets them know how much you love and treasure her.

When you tell a child to do something, don’t follow it with, “Okay?” Ask instead, “Do you understand?”

Read to your children. Sing to your children. Listen to your children.

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

Set aside your dreams for your children and help them attain their own dreams.

Remember that no time spent with your children is ever wasted.

Help your children set up their own savings and checking accounts by age 16.

Drive as you wish your kids would. Never speed or drive recklessly with children in the car.

Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring, and integrity, they think of you.

Hug children after you discipline them.

Even if you’re financially well-to-do, have your children earn and pay part of their college tuition.

Even if you’re financially well-to-do, have your children earn and pay for all their automobile insurance.

Cherish your children for what they are, not for what you’d like them to be.

Encourage your children to have a part-time job after the age of sixteen.

Teach your children the value of money and the importance of saving.

Don’t confuse comfort with happiness. Don’t confuse wealth with success.

Personal Development

Give yourself a year and read the Bible cover to cover.

Remember that the only dumb question is the one you wanted to ask but didn’t.

Rescue your dreams.

Seek respect rather than popularity. Seek quality rather than luxury. Seek refinement rather than fashion.

Be willing to accept a temporary inconvenience for a permanent improvement.

Watch your attitude. It’s the first thing people notice about you.

Remember that what’s right isn’t always popular, and what’s popular isn’t always right.

Encourage anyone who is trying to improve mentally, physically, or spiritually.

Never swap your integrity for money, power, or fame.

Have some knowledge of three religions other than your own.

Strive for excellence, not perfection.

Spend less time worrying who’s right, and more time deciding what’s right.

Don’t major in minor things.

Keep good company. Keep a daily journal. Keep your promises.

Leave everything a little better than you found it.

Never underestimate your power to change yourself.

Never overestimate your power to change others.

Accept pain and disappointment as part of life.

Instead of using the word “problem”, try substituting the word “opportunity”.

Relationships and Love

Remember the observation of William James that the deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.

Be the first to forgive.

Put a love note in your wife’s luggage before she leaves on a trip.

Go for long, hand-holding walks with your wife.

Tell your wife how terrific she looks.

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

Carry a list of your wife’s important sizes in your wallet.

Open the car door for your wife and always help her with her coat.

Never miss a chance to dance with your wife.

Remember that the best relationship is one where your love for each other is greater than your need for each other.

When you know someone has gone to a lot of trouble to get really dressed up, always tell them “You look terrific.”

Improve your performance by improving your attitude.

Be enthusiastic about the success of others.

Never deprive someone of hope; it might be all they have.

Don’t allow the phone to interrupt important moments. It’s there for your convenience, not the caller’s.

Every day show your family how much you love them with your words, with your touch, and with your thoughtfulness.

Remember that a successful marriage depends on two things: (1) finding the right person and (2) being the right person.

When tempted to criticize your parents, spouse, or children, bite your tongue.

Never waste an opportunity to tell someone you love them.

Every day look for some small way to improve your marriage.

Save an evening a week for just you and your wife.

Understand that happiness is not based on possessions, power, or prestige, but on relationships with people you love and respect.

Never give a loved one a gift that suggests they need improvement.

Don’t undertip the waiter just because the food is bad; he didn’t cook it.

Happiness and Mindfulness

Remember that what you give will afford you more pleasure than what you get.

Take your dad bowling.

Include your parents in your prayers.

Treat your parents to a dinner out on your birthday.

Don’t expect the best gifts to come wrapped in pretty paper.

Don’t think you can fill an emptiness in your heart with money.

Don’t waste time waiting for inspiration. Begin, and inspiration will find you.

After you’ve worked hard to get what you want, take the time to enjoy it.

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

Don’t allow self-pity. The moment this emotion strikes, do something nice for someone less fortunate than you.

Make a list of twenty-five things you want to experience before you die. Carry it in your wallet and refer to it often.

Buy a bird feeder and hang it so that you can see it from your kitchen window.

When meeting someone for the first time, resist asking what they do for a living. Enjoy their company without attaching any labels.

Lie on your back and look at the stars.

Refrain from envy. It’s the source of much unhappiness.

Be bold and courageous. When you look back on your life, you’ll regret the things you didn’t do more than the ones you did.

Don’t miss the magic of the moment by focusing on what’s to come.

Don’t let your possessions possess you.


Get your priorities straight. No one ever said on his death bed, “Gee, if I’d only spent more time at the office.”

Ask yourself if what you’re doing today is getting you closer to where you want to be tomorrow.

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.

Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.

When there’s no time for a full work-out, do push-ups.

Life Hacks

When traveling, put a card in your wallet with your name, home phone, the phone number of a friend or close relative, important medical information, plus the phone number of the hotel or motel where you’re staying.

Put your address inside your luggage as well as on the outside.

When you go to borrow money, dress as if you have plenty of it.

Get all repair estimates in writing.

Wear expensive shoes, belts, and ties, but buy them on sale.

When concluding a business deal and the other person suggests working out the details later, say, “I understand, but I would like to settle the entire matter right now.” Don’t move from the table until you do.

Take the stairs when it’s four flights or less.

Do 100 push-ups every day: 50 in the morning and 50 in the evening.

Read a lot when you’re on vacation, but nothing that has to do with your business.

Replace the batteries in smoke alarms every January 1st.

Choose a seat in the row next to the emergency exit when flying. You will get more leg room.

When you’re angry, take a thirty-minute walk; when you’re really angry, chop some firewood.

Remember that all important truths are simple.

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