by Howard Brown
In Shining Brightly, Silicon Valley pioneer, cancer survivor and interfaith peacemaker Howard Brown shares keys to resilience for successful entrepreneurs, patient advocates and community leaders. He shows us how to reach out through our families, our communities and around the world to form truly supportive connections and friendships. From Howard’s career as a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, to his conquering metastatic stage IV cancer twice, to his compassionate outreach as a peacemaker, to his love of sports—this ultimately is not one man’s story. Shining Brightly is a story shared by countless men and women—and may wind up changing your life as well. With each true story he tells in the pages, Howard invites readers to picture how they might join him in shining more light in our world.
Basketball is a lot more than just a game to me. Basketball is a cerebral sport, a community sport, a sport of relationships, respect, chemistry and teamwork. Each time I have been knocked down by a physical disability, a surgery or a chemo series, one of the goals that gets me out of the bed each morning is getting back onto the court as a milestone in the healing of my mind, body and soul. I’ve had a chemo port installed, neuropathy, chronic diarrhea and the fogginess that I call chemo brain—and I’ve played through all of that. I don’t know too many stage IV cancer patients who’ve kept playing before, during and after treatment.
It’s hard playing full-court basketball several times a week with all that running, zigging and zagging. It’s even risky. I sometimes worry that a hard hit to the chest might disturb my chemo port. This is simply a part of my healing journey. The blueprint to my own survivorship. Basketball was the light that got me through some of the darkest periods of my life. And that’s the story behind that little photo caption that keeps bouncing around the internet: “I, Howard Brown, Stage IV Colon Cancer and now No Evidence of Disease (NED), celebrate survivorship by going to my happy place: the basketball court!” No, I’m not trying to convince you that you have go out and shoot hoops. Maybe some people will be prompted to get out on the court again after reading this chapter. Most won’t. The whole point of this chapter is to tell you about my “happy place.” We each need to find at least one of those for ourselves. My happy place is anywhere I’m playing with my hoops with my boyz. What’s your happy place?
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Howard Brown is an author, Silicon Valley entrepreneur, interfaith peacemaker, two-time stage IV cancer survivor and healthcare advocate. For more than three decades, Howard’s business innovations, leadership principles, mentoring and his resilience in beating cancer against long odds have made him a sought-after speaker and consultant for businesses, nonprofits, congregations, and community groups. In his business career, Howard was a pioneer in helping to launch a series of technology startups before he co-founded two social networks that were the first to connect religious communities around the world. He served his alma matter—Babson College, ranked by US News as the nation’s top college for entrepreneurship—as a trustee and president of Babson’s worldwide alumni network. His hard-earned wisdom about resilience after beating cancer twice has led him to become a nationally known patient advocate and “cancer whisperer” to many families. Visit Howard at ShiningBrightly.com to learn more about his ongoing work and contact him. Through that website, you also will find resources to help you shine brightly in your own corner of the world. Howard, his wife Lisa and daughter Emily currently reside in Michigan.
Link to buy:
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Can you tell me a little about yourself, and how you became an author?
Have you ever stopped to think about your life? I mean, have you ever set aside time to reflect on the meaning and purpose of your life?
I decided to take stock after years as a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, a mentor to college students, an interfaith peace advocate—and a cancer whisperer to other patients after having survived two long-shot bouts with cancer myself. After fully expecting to die more than once in my life, I wondered: Why am I still standing? Who helped me? And then: What can I share to help inspire people to build their own resilience?
As you will learn in the true stories in this book, one key to resilience is not trying to tackle life on your own. We are always at our best when we draw other people around us and, right there, you’ve got a central theme of this book.
That leads to the questions: How do we draw people around us? How do we make and keep friends? How do we build a community? How can each of us contribute to our families, our friends and to the larger world?
Answering those questions will give you hope and will lead you to greater strength, love and joy in your life. Taking those questions to heart will help your light shine brighter in this often very dark world.
I set out on my journey in an unusual way that you will discover in these pages—and may want to try yourself. Over a two-year period, I sought out people who had played a significant role in my life—from camp counselors and basketball coaches I knew as a kid to family and friends to business and community leaders to some of the world’s top faith and health professionals. Because my quest unfolded during the COVID pandemic, I met these more than 100 men and women via Zoom.
And here’s the biggest surprise: Everyone loved the experience. While they were doing me a favor—and I am thankful for everyone who shared stories with me—the truth is: Most of them enjoyed the experience as much as I did.
That’s why I am confident you will enjoy this adventure, too, and you may decide by the end of the book to set out on such a quest yourself. No matter how you choose to reflect on your life’s purpose, I hope this book fans your inner flame so you can shine ever more brightly.
What is your book about?
In Shining Brightly, Silicon Valley pioneer, cancer survivor and interfaith peacemaker Howard Brown shares keys to resilience for successful entrepreneurs, patient advocates and community leaders. He shows us how to reach out through our families, our communities and around the world to form truly supportive connections and friendships. From Howard's career as a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, to his conquering metastatic stage IV cancer twice, to his compassionate outreach as a peacemaker, to his love of sports -- this ultimately is not one man's story. Shining Brightly is a story shared by countless men and women -- and may wind up changing your life as well. With each true story he tells in the pages, Howard invites readers to picture how they might join him in shining more light in our world.
Who is your real life hero/heroine?
My mom and wife who were my caregivers are my super-heroes. Also, my infusion nurses administering chemotherapy.
What are your favorite times for writing? Morning? Evening?
I recorded over zoom interviews at all different times of day. Writing and editing in the mornings was best
Who are your favorite authors? Did they influence your writing, and if so, how?
Bounce by Dr. Robert J. Wicks, because it is a book all about keys to resilience from one of the international experts in the field. Dr. Wicks graciously wrote the Foreword to my book Shining Brightly.
Did you have a favorite book as a child? Did it influence your choice to become an author?
Good Night Moon. No, I loved the story.
Thank you for answering my questions!