Hollye Jacobs (Jan. 11, 2016)
Paul Wellman

“There was no book in Spanish for people dealing with cancer,” explains Hollye Jacobs, the New York Times best-selling author of The Silver Lining: A Supportive and Insightful Guide to Breast Cancer. So the nurse, author, and cancer survivor approached several Fortune 500 companies to translate her book into Spanish and distribute a condensed version in both languages for free to a wider audience. Allstate was convinced to step up to the plate.

Making her book accessible was essential to Hollye, whose part memoir/part step-by-step guide is for all affected by cancer, but especially for the woman “who has to make a choice to buy food or medicine.” She gets so animated talking about the topic, but she actually gets quite enthused about every topic I bring up. She is so present and enjoying life, a spirit conveyed through an infectious smile. Diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010, she speaks publicly and writes about her experience on the award-winning blog, “The Silver Pen.”

“I was a health care provider who became a patient,” she explained. “I learned so much more after I was diagnosed.” She is adamantly not “the pink ribbon person,” which means you won’t find her raising money and awareness. Instead, her mission is to educate and directly help people and families that are impacted by cancer.

Here, Hollye answers the Proust Questionnaire.

What is your most marked characteristic?

My hopefulness.

What is the most difficult project you’ve ever had?

Writing and then promoting my book has been the most difficult and exciting project I have ever had. It was the most difficult because, by telling my personal story, I had to relive my own experience with cancer on a daily basis. It was also the most exciting because the book made the New York Times, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times bestseller lists.

What do you like most about your job?

Writing and being a public speaker brings me joy and stimulates me creatively and intellectually.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Snuggling on the sofa in my sunroom with a cup of matcha green tea, a good book, cashmere blanket, and my dog, Buzz

What is your greatest fear?

Hurting someone’s feelings.

Who do you most admire?

Oscar de la Renta. He was as kind and generous as he was handsome and talented.

What is your greatest extravagance?

A three-hour nap (every!) Sunday

What is your current state of mind?


What is the quality you most like in people?

A sense of humor

What is the quality you most dislike in people?


What do you most value in friends?


Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

Look for the silver lining.

Which talent would you most like to have?

I’d love to be able to sing.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I would be less critical of myself.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

My healthy, happy, and authentic (modern!) family.

Where would you most like to live?

Exactly where I am…in Santa Barbara, California!

What is your most treasured possession?

My memory.

Who makes you laugh the most?

My husband.

On what occasion do you lie?

Never. I do bite my tongue quite a bit!


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