Davidson, N.C. - North Carolina native Tony Brown, a successful
businessman and self-described contrarian, couldn't resist engaging in
a friendly "ping-pong" debate with best-selling author Anna Quindlen
after he read her book, A Short Guide to a Happy Life." So that's what
he did – in writing – and he called it A Happy Guide to a Short Life.
Brown produced this little parody book with a philosophical message on
how to get a life, matching his comments to her commentary. Then, he
called the author, shared the book, got permission to publish – and use
her name and book title in his publication. Now the book's available on
Amazon.com and the Web site, www.HappyGuidetoaShortLife.com.
But even if the book imitates Quindlen's success, Brown's not going to
profit from the sales. Instead, all the proceeds from book sales –plus
gift and jewelry items created from the book's message – go to worthy
"Although I was inspired by Quindlen's book, I challenge her
reflections on happiness and other themes. We agree that time on earth
is short, so it shouldn't be wasted, but I elaborate on the
significance of work, play, family and friends. I also debate happiness
and address the themes of service, gratitude and love to demonstrate
personal fulfillment, Brown said. He defines his philosophy on life
through three overlapping circles: Work, Family/Friends and Play. He
describes life's goal as making the best use of time in work,
relationships and play, not in happiness. And, he emphasizes his belief
that people should dedicate their existence to being generous in work,
relationships and play.
Donating profits to the Community Foundation of Western Carolina, which
will distribute them to selected non-profits, is Brown's way of
personally demonstrating the importance of generosity in his life.
"I'm proud of the book. However, I'm most excited about the potential
fund-raising capacity of Happy Guide. We donated 100% of the profits,
which means somewhere between $5 and $15 per book goes to some really
neat non-profit organizations," Brown said.
Brown, who lives in Davidson with his wife and three school-aged
children, grew up working on a small produce farm near Asheville. He
graduated from North Carolina State University and earned his MBA from
Duke University. Most of his career has been in the public healthcare
sector in technology. He's now a principal of the Public Consulting
Group, a large management consulting firm headquartered in Boston with
offices in Charlotte, Asheville and Raleigh.
In addition to loving his family, friends, work and play, Brown's
managed to climb the highest mountains in the United States, fly a
private plane, run the Boston Marathon, ride a bull for eight seconds
and, in 2000, write a children's book, Farmer Lloyd & Grannie's Big
Farm in the Mountains. And, he can add to that résumé – the person who
wrote a guide to show everyone how to "flip on the happy switch" in
The recommended retail price of A Happy Guide to a Short Life is
$14.95. To learn more about its author, book discussions and signing
events, non-profit recipients from the books' sales, as well as the
gift and jewelry items that are created from the book's message and
whose proceeds also go to charity, please visit