These Are a Few of My Favorite Things


A Heartwarming Collection of Celebrities? Most Coveted Pleasures to Benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation


What tops the thrill of receiving an intimate, handwritten note from a famous celebrity? What surpasses the satisfaction of helping to fulfill the deepest wish of a gravely ill child? THESE ARE A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS combines these heartwarming rewards in a unique ...

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A Heartwarming Collection of Celebrities’ Most Coveted Pleasures to Benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation


What tops the thrill of receiving an intimate, handwritten note from a famous celebrity? What surpasses the satisfaction of helping to fulfill the deepest wish of a gravely ill child? THESE ARE A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS combines these heartwarming rewards in a unique keepsake collection.

Author Tony Burton, a producer on Dateline NBC, got the idea for the book after getting an uplifting note--not computer-generated, but penned on personal stationery--from a celebrity he had long admired. Eager to spread the “warm and fuzzy feeling,” he set out to collect personal notes from celebrities admired by others worldwide--leading lights in television, movies, sports, music, literature, and politics. Inspired by his wife’s devotion to The Sound of Music, Burton decided to ask each notable to jot down a few of his or her favorite things. And since one of Burton’s own favorites happens to be his volunteer work with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, he decided to make his effort a collaboration--and a gift. Fifty percent of the author’s royalties will be donated to support Make-A-Wish, the world’s oldest, largest, and most respected wish- granting organization, in their mission to make wishes come true for boys and girls afflicted with life-threatening diseases.

Fascinating, inspiring, and unflaggingly fun to read, THESE ARE A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS shines a spotlight on the everyday experiences and simple comforts that make life special and precious--even for superstars. Within its pages, readers will revel at the cherished moments, adored activities, and beloved objects of dozens of well-known figures, including Bob Costas, Michael Bolton, Bryant Gumbel, Susan Lucci, Hank Aaron, Nora Ephron, Colin Powell, Richard Holbrooke, and Jeff Gordon. Here’s the scoop on what makes some remarkable people truly happy:

Katie Couric treasures group hugs with her daughters, Cary Grant movies, the beach at 5:00 pm, and “singing in the shower (or anyplace else!).”

Mark McGwire prizes the childhood memory of hitting a homerun in his first Little League at-bat, listening to Bruce “The Boss” Springsteen, a “big, juicy steak,” and “EVERYTHING!” about being a father.

Conan O’Brien delights in canned baby peas, World War II documentaries, and trying to get a gym sock away from his dog.

George Will esteems the Constitution, Cole Porter songs, dry martinis, and the bests of baseball: opening day, Bob Costas broadcasting on radio, the seventh inning stretch, and extra innings.

The collection also features crayon-crafted confidences from boys and girls whose wishes have been transformed into reality by the Make-A-Wish Foundation--tiny missives capturing the wonders of imagination, family, and friendship that make kids happy. Robert, age 4, who got his wish to visit Walt Disney World with his family, even provides a portrait of his favorites: dragons and dinosaurs.

Bringing together the sentimental, the silly, and the sublime,THESE ARE A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS is a powerful, pocket-sized volume certain to enchant all who enter its pages. Beyond life-affirming insights into what makes the acclaimed and accomplished happy, readers will find contentment in contributing to the happiness of a deserving child.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780684857947
  • Publisher: Touchstone
  • Publication date: 10/1/1999
  • Pages: 128
  • Product dimensions: 7.03 (w) x 5.35 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Make-A-Wish Foundation® Dear Friend of the Make-A-Wish Foundation®,

Chris Greicius had a favorite thing -- a dream of someday becoming a police officer. A mature seven-year-old with leukemia, Chris had his wish granted when the Arizona Department of Public Safety named him the first and only honorary highway patrolman in state history. This one child's wish was the inspiration behind the founding of an organization dedicated to helping children with life-threatening illnesses realize their one favorite thing. Through Chris's dream becoming a reality, the Make-A-Wish Foundation was born.

Many times in life, we are touched by the actions of a special person, a thoughtful gift, or a heartwarming story. And afterward, our lives are never the same. The indelible mark left by such an experience is something that we treasure and hold dear to our heart for the rest of our lives. It becomes a part of who we are -- and who we always wanted to be.

Sometimes, our favorite things come in the shape of something big, like a trip to meet Mickey Mouse or a new computer. Other times, our favorite things may be in the form of less tangible elements -- a cool breeze on a warm day, the mouth-watering aroma of a home-cooked meal, or the smile of a child.

Whether your favorite things are big or small, it is important to reflect upon the experiences we so often take for granted. Most of us do not think about the everyday things that make life so special and precious. This book highlights and celebrates some of those things. We hope that in reading it, you will be inspired to ponder fondly a few of your favorite things.

Tony Burton will donate a portion of his profits earned from this book directly to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Since 1980, we have helped grant more than 65,000 wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses. By purchasing this book, you can join the Make-A-Wish Foundation in granting the wishes of even more children -- and help each of our wish kids realize one of his or her favorite things.

On behalf of the Make-A-Wish Foundation and our wish kids, thank you for your support. For more information about the Make-A-Wish Foundation, please call 1-800-722-WISH, or visit our Web site:

Paula Van Ness
President and CEO

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First Chapter

Acknowledgments First, I would like to thank the Rodgers and Hammerstein Foundation for approving this book's title. It came from my wife's love of the song "My Favorite Things." With the foundation's cooperation, we were able to use the memorable lyric from The Sound of Music.

The contributors whose pieces appear in this book also deserve my heartfelt gratitude. Without their participation, this project would never have happened. Having said that, I would also like to thank all the publicists, managers, agents, personal assistants, and friends of the contributors who took my phone calls, faxes, and letters, day in and day out.

Some people I would like to acknowledge by name for going the extra mile to make this happen are: Andrea Miller, Greg Ikonen, Bill Harden, Sarah Longden, Matt Lombardi, Fred Rothenberg, Matt Lauer, Bob Costas, Dave Holbrooke, Greg Picker, David Manns, Andy Zulla, Bonnie Bernstein, Neal Shapiro, and Rebecca Spencer.

Saving the best for last, I would like to thank my editor, Cherise Grant, for her patience, her support, her help, and her lunches. The others at Simon & Schuster who deserve recognition are: Trish Todd, Sue Fleming, Emily Remes, and, last but not least, Helen Adams. Thanks for taking my call.\

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This is not your typical book. It doesn't have main characters, plots, or subplots. Nor are there protagonists confronting antagonists coming to some resolution in a climactic ending. This book is a collection of "favorite things" from the famous and not-so-famous; lists that are as varied as the individuals who wrote them. But if I had to name the one thing the letters do have in common, I could do so with a single word: simplicity. Whether the submission came from a former military general, a movie star, or a young child, all are celebrations of life's simple things.

Personally, if I were asked to write a submission for this book, I would not know where to end for fear of leaving something out. I would definitely include dinners with good friends and family that go well into the night; weekends at the Castle Hill Inn, in Newport, Rhode Island; the smell of bacon cooking on any morning; a James Taylor concert on a summer night; playing softball in Manhattan's Central Park or Chappaqua, NY; golden retrievers; The New York Times on Sunday; the sound of my goddaughter's voice; and all the ways my wife, Jackie, makes me smile. These are also simple things.

The idea for These Are a Few of My Favorite Things was born a few years ago when I had the pleasure of working with Bob Costas on a news segment for NBC television. After we worked together, I sent Bob a Christmas gift: a short book honoring Mickey Mantle. Within days, Bob returned a thoughtful note card in which he shared how much he appreciated my sentiment. His letter meant so much to me that I tacked it up on the bulletin board in my office. What amazed me was how my friends and colleagues reacted upon seeing the note. It was not the content they marveled at. Instead, they were fascinated to see his own stationery, his handwriting, and his signature up close and in person. Today, with e-mail, faxes, and telephone being so pervasive, the intimacy provided by a letter has been nearly lost. A handwritten letter has been physically touched, folded, and cared for before it reaches your mailbox. That is what drew my friends to open Bob's note card.

A portion of the proceeds from this book will be donated directly to the Make-A-Wish Foundation®. As a volunteer for the Foundation, I have experienced firsthand the sense of joy that this organization has bestowed upon others. The selflessness of the workers inspired me to bring greater recognition and financial support to their work through this book. As you share in the warmth of these letters, know that your purchase will help a child's wish come true. It is also my sincere hope that this collection will inspire you to remember your own favorite things. Jot them down and share them with loved ones.

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