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Finding the Sweet Spot: The Natural Entrepreneur's Guide to Responsible, Sustainable, Joyful Work Paperback – September 15, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing (September 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933392908
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933392905
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,212,150 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Pollard, a longtime entrepreneurial advisor, distills his extensive experience into sound suggestions in this useful and much-needed book. According to the author, too many individuals hesitate in creating a business in line with their goals, skills and values out of fear or a lack of self-confidence or funds. Pollard argues that entrepreneurship need not imply stress or risk, and he coaches readers through the process of identifying their passion, choosing the right collaborators and discovering unmet needs in the marketplace. Helpful charts and exercises guide the reader in finding where their purpose, passions and gifts intersect; and bite-sized case studies of entrepreneur success studies abound and help illustrate his points. Along the way, Pollard warns against settling for work that is anything less than satisfying. The ideal job—what he calls natural enterprise or the sweet spot—is an innovative business that touches people's lives. Pollard gives an insightful overview of the entrepreneurial process, and the book itself stands testament to the success of the author's methods. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"With a welcome vigour Pollard reinterprets many of the tools of management for the entrepreneur. Straightforward and plain-speaking without shortchanging the complexities of creating value, Finding the Sweet Spot is a book for grown-ups who want their work to make them feel like a kid again."—Michael E. Raynor, co-author of The Innovator's Solution and author of The Strategy Paradox


More About the Author

ABOUT DAVE POLLARD (dave.pollard@gmail.com) AND HOW TO SAVE THE WORLD (howtosavetheworld.ca):

My blog has evolved, since I began it in early 2003, to become the journal of my learning about how the world really works, and my search for a better way to live and make a living. In recent years, it has also become a chronicle of civilization's collapse, and of my struggle to find what I should do in response to that collapse. When I began writing it, I was a believer in our collective capacity to 'save' the world from that collapse. I now believe that our global industrial growth culture is unsustainable and is very quickly desolating our planet, and its collapse is natural and inevitable. While I continue to support radical 'deep green' activists, I am no longer one myself. I believe that our attempts to significantly change or reform complex systems are ultimately futile (due to Jevons Paradox etc.) and I believe that while the collapse now underway will be gradual, lasting the rest of this century, and punctuated, it will ultimately be total. What will be left, besides a devastated and exhausted planet, will be a much smaller (and thereafter declining) human population, struggling to relearn how to live healthy, sustainable, resilient lives in local self-sufficient communities. The rest of life on Earth will recover and do just fine without us.

I have also been exploring, in parallel, who we human 'individuals' really are, in the belief that self-knowledge and self-awareness are essential elements of a healthy and useful life. I have concluded that our concept of self is illusory, a figment of reality, and that 'we' are really just collectives of the cells and organs that make up our bodies, now fighting for control of our 'minds' (which our organs evolved for their benefit to better coordinate information and mobility) with our civilization culture, a culture which is desperate to perpetuate itself despite its fatal and tragic failures and its utter unsustainability. Our futile attempts to control and manage our 'selves' amidst this conflict, and the endless stress and violence we face in our horrifically overpopulated, overcrowded civilization have combined to make us all mentally and physically ill, further increasing the destructiveness and dysfunction of our culture.

So in 2010, after 40 years trying to work within the industrial growth society, I resigned from it. During that 40 years I advised entrepreneurs about starting and running a business, innovation, research, sustainability, coping with complexity, and the effective use of knowledge and social media, and in 2007 authored my first book, Finding the Sweet Spot: A Natural Entrepreneur's Guide to Responsible, Sustainable, Joyful Work. It explains the 6 qualities that differentiated 'natural' entrepreneurs (amazing, resilient, connected, high-energy places where people loved to work) that I worked with, from the most entrepreneurs whose lives were full of constant struggle and unhappiness.

I was born in 1951, have lived most of my life in various parts of Canada, was married for 27 years to a woman I remain on good terms with, and have two wonderful step-children and four grandchildren I am very proud of. Since quitting paid work and moving to Bowen Island BC in 2010, I've become involved with the local Intentional Community and Transition movements, the Dark Mountain collective of artists writing about and portraying the final years of our civilization, and an international group developing novel tools and games to help groups improve their collaborative and communication processes. My writing is shifting from expository blog posts (what else is there to say?) to creative writing, including music, poetry, theatre, film and game creation. These are forms of play. Once I gave up the hubristic belief we could 'save the world' I realized the real implication of Darwin's theory and of Gaia theory: Our purpose on this planet is to play, responsibly, sustainably, lovingly, joyfully, with each other, as part of all-life-on-Earth. To have fun. Now, at last, that is what I do.

I am a hedonist, poly and vegan. I am deschooled, unspiritual, and comfortably retired (from paid work). I have evolved two 'laws' to capture the most important things I have learned about our species and our world:

Pollard's Law of Human Behaviour: We do what we must (our personal, unavoidable imperatives of the moment), then we do what's easy, and then we do what's fun. There is never time left for things that are merely important.

Pollard's Law of Complexity: Things are the way they are for a reason. If you want to change something, it helps to know that reason. If that reason is complex, success at changing it is unlikely, and adapting to it is probably a better strategy.

I believe the key to resilience in the coming decades will be our ability, in the moment, to imagine ways around the crises we cannot prevent, predict or plan for. Practicing that capacity is a form of play, too. I have become a joyful pessimist.




Customer Reviews

Read this book if you are struggling to figure out what to do next and how to get started--you will be glad you did so.
Donna Martemucci
Bought Dave's book after reading an interview with him in Ode... I have not just read this book, I am putting the principles he outlines into action and its working!
Amazon Customer
Explore what you are good at, what you love doing, who you love and want to work with, and then come back ready to make it happen no matter what.
Dave Smith

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Dave Smith on September 28, 2008
Format: Paperback
...this is not a warm and fuzzy "do-it-and-the-money-will-come" wish book. What you'll find here is an excellent, nonacademic, no-nonsense, down-to-earth, hands-on, "insight-full" working guidebook, led by an innovative, caring, and extremely bright man who may not know all the answers, but, much better, shows us how to go about finding them. However you may define business success and meaning for yourself, this will become one of those books you often turn to for idea sparks and troubleshooting; a manual that stays close by after you've dog-eared, starred, and underlined the pages most useful to you... Grab this book and a friend or two, and head to the woods for a few days of study, hiking, and brainstorming. Explore what you are good at, what you love doing, who you love and want to work with, and then come back ready to make it happen no matter what.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on November 9, 2008
Format: Paperback
Any library strong in business books will find this a key acquisition, coming from an author whose career is serving as an advisor to entrepreneurs, studying those successful at starting and building 'natural enterprises'. Responsible, sustainable and joyful work is where passions and purpose blend, and FINDING THE SWEET SPOT tells how to find such work, offering six steps to finding the right partners and acting responsibly in the business environment.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Robert Paterson on November 8, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Are you stuck? Stuck about what to do with your life? How to mix what you really want to do, with whom you are and to make a living? Then Dave Pollard can help.

Dave Pollard is I think one of the most illuminating thinkers about what is really going on. His book Finding the Sweet Spot is a very practical guide for anyone who wishes to find their own way at last. For the way ahead is often blocked by our belief in the old system. And so seeing any alternative is very hard. Here is is his own synopsis.

Here are 3 snips that I like a lot:

"I believe it's because of the brainwashing we get in the education system, in the workplace, in the media, and in society at large, that we think the lifelong, often joyless and meaningless struggle in the workplace is the only way to make a living. We should know better.

Just because it's the only way we know how to make a living doesn't mean it is the only way. There is a better way. The only thing holding most of us back is lacking the knowledge of that way. This book will give you that knowledge."

And:

"Natural Enterprise: A sustainable, self-organized, self-managed, community-based business partnership in which a group of people agree to make a living together as collaborators and peers, strive to attain what each member needs to achieve for his or her personal well-being, accept substantial responsibility for each other, and respect and help the community or communities in which the enterprise operates and the natural environment.

It is "natural" because this form of socioeconomic activity occurs ubiquitously in hunter-gatherer cultures and in most nonhuman animal cultures."

And:

"Natural Enterprises don't need to grow bigger to survive. They can focus on getting better instead."

A book for our time
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kare Anderson VINE VOICE on October 3, 2008
Format: Paperback
Dave's apt examples, depth, wide-ranging background and an ability to embody his message enables him to resonate with readers who do not think they would, to quote a colleague, "like that sort of soft and squishy approach to work." Yet, inevitably, when I suggest Finding the Sweet Spot to entrepreneurs or the would-be ones. those who actually read it start referring to it when discussing their ideas to grow their business - the what and the why.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. H. S. Roodt on May 24, 2010
Format: Paperback
I read this book with increasing urgency. The reality is that I need to find my "sweet spot" and spend time enjoying what I am doing. Walking away from plan A is never simple and this book helps you to organise your thoughts and to clearly see what could work. It will not spoonfeed you into a new sense of security, it will ask that you work and check perceptions about yourself. Unless you can do that, stay in your current job, or keep on hunting. If you are thinking about going "solo", read this book and find the collaborators that will be your network to success, think about what you want and then design from there. This is a template (but not a simple one) to help you set up a collaborative network and to understand where you would fit in.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By James R. Newcomer on June 15, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a business coach focusing on social ventures, I give this book to every client who is starting out. Dave's observations and recommendations are fundamental and wise for any entrepreneur. And his writing is beautiful, so that the book keeps urging the reader on to read more, discover more, learn more. I order them 5 at a time so I always have one or two on hand.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Reg Nordman on May 18, 2009
Format: Paperback
A guide to finding where your gifts, passions and purpose interact. I could not put this book down. Just when I thought I had heard a lot of this before, Pollard would come up with the twist that really made sense. He is a skilled writer, who pulls a lot out of the reader. So much in this little book (195pp) For example we all too often find work due to our gifts, rarely do we share the passion of our hobbies at work and even less so have we found our purpose for being here. The author gives you a blueprint on how to help yourself find all this. In another section , he quickly much of what my firm, Rocket Builders, used to consider its own secret sauce wrto effective market research methods and meaningful analysis. You could say this is one chapter or a whole book on meaningful innovation. A surprise and a joy to read. Hard to believe the author was an accountant for 27 years and not a journalist.
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