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Don't Sweat the Small Stuff and It's All Small Stuff: Simple Ways to Keep the Little Things from Taking Over Your Life, Gift Edition Hardcover – November 3, 1997

4.5 out of 5 stars 813 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Got a stress case in your life? Of course you do: "Without question, many of us have mastered the neurotic art of spending much of our lives worrying about a variety of things all at once." Carlson's cheerful book aims to make us stop and smell--if not roses--whatever is sitting in front of our noses. Don't Sweat the Small Stuff... offers 100 meditations designed to make you appreciate being alive, keep your emotions (especially anger and dissatisfaction) in proper perspective, and cherish other people as the unique miracles they are. It's an owner's manual of the heart, and if you follow the directions, you will be a happier, more harmonious person. Like Stairmasters, oat bran, and other things that are good for you, the meditations take discipline. Even so, some of the strategies are kind of fun: "Imagine the people in your life as tiny infants and as 100-year-old adults." The trouble is, once you start, it's hard to stop. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Stress consultant Carlson reads his self-help guide with conviction, his gentle voice clear and persuasive. He presents common-sense advice for living a less hectic and more meaningful, loving life. His essential message is that we get caught up in minutiae, "the small stuff," and never get around to doing what makes us or our loved ones happy. He advises readers to engage in such small acts as paying someone a compliment daily, putting a lid on keeping track of who does what around the house, and writing a letter to a friend. Carlson urges small daily changes and uses examples of improvement from his own life to show how the advice works, making the book ideally suited to the audio format. Tape quality is excellent. Recommended for public libraries.?Nancy R. Ives, SUNY at Geneseo
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion; Gift edition (November 3, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786864109
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786864102
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (813 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #825,744 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By James L. Grubb on January 3, 2000
Format: Paperback
A highly-readable little paperback with a different perspective of the generations; your own, those before you, and those soon to follow. The book is enjoying a good run as a best-seller, living proof many among us must be anxiety-ridden and looking for answers.
Say to yourself: "Life isn't an emergency" advises Dr. Carlson, and admits this is his essential strategy on how to keep little things from taking over your life. Then, along with this, he confronts the reader with the realization (often unrecognized) that life is made up of "little things."
Each of the hundred short chapters contains ideas and true-life examples of how to work around the little things so life will be more livable and enjoyable minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour. It would seem that adopting even one of these sometimes profound, sometimes simplistic concepts of living, you can relieve stress in your life; more importantly, life will be a lot more fun.
Examples: Live in the present. When you look around, it's easy to see no one has a guarantee he or she will be here tomorrow; right now is the only time we have control over. When we focus on the present moment, fear of what might happen in the future (and most of these fearful events never happen) goes away so we are more relaxed.
Become more patient. Don't interrupt others or finish their sentences (a sign of impatience that says, "I'm waiting for you to finish so I can talk"). The more patient you are, the more you will accept how it really is, rather than insisting that life should be as you would like it to be. Patience adds ease and acceptance of life so essential for inner peace. Allowing the other person to finish speaking is a mark of patience which improves relationships.
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Format: Paperback
I love this book because it is so small that I can carry it with me in my purse. I like to get it out on a break at work and read a chapter on what I feel I need help with; it always picks me up and encourages me. What simple and brief yet wonderful advice! As I read I highlight the areas most applicable to me so that next time I read it I can read exactly what I most need to hear. Most chapters have a space that I use for notes and comments. Keep in mind that this is not a quick read. To make real changes in your life, I recommend this book should be read slowly, one to three chapters a day. When I first began, I tried to read straight through but it just goes in one ear and out the other. You have to read a chapter, stop, and think about it to best apply it to your life and make it work for you.
One of my favorite chapters is chapter six: REMIND YOURSELF THAT WHEN YOU DIE, YOUR "IN BASKET" WON'T BE EMPTY. I think the whole world should read this chapter! Here is an sample:
"SO MANY OF US LIVE OUR LIVES AS IF THE SECRET PURPOSE IS TO SOMEHOW GET EVERYTHING DONE....OFTEN WE CONVINCE OURSELVES THAT OUR OBSESSION WITH OUR "TO DO" LIST IS ONLY TEMPORARY--THAT ONCE WE GET THROUGHT THE LIST, WE'LL BE CALM, RELAXED AND HAPPY. BUT IN REALITY, THIS RARELY HAPPENS. AS ITEMS ARE CHECKED OFF, NEW ONES SIMPLY REPLACE THEM. THE NATURE OF YOUR "IN BASKET" IS THAT IT'S MEANT TO HAVE ITEMS TO BE COMPLETED IN IT--IT'S NOT MEANT TO BE EMPTY....REMEMBER THAT NOTHING IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOUR OWN SENSE OF HAPPINESS AND INNER PEACE AND THAT OF YOUR LOVED ONES. IF YOU ARE OBSESSED WITH GETTING EVERYTHING DONE, YOU'LL NEVER HAVE A SENSE OF WELL-BEING! IN REALITY, ALMOST EVERYTHING CAN WAIT...
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Format: Paperback
A friend of mine suggested I get this book recently. I felt stressed in a number of areas in my life and when I started reading this I understood why she suggested it to me. Some of Carlson's thoughts and exercises are great and good reminders of what the real priorities in life are about. Learning to "let go" or thinking about the overall picture. I was worried about whether a relationship I'm in would work out or not and I thought of the "Will this really matter a year from now" exercise. And also the chapter on "The Snowball Effect of Your Thinking." A lot of the things in here are kind of common sense, but we never stop to think about these ideas. Things like "Choosing Your Battles Wisely" or "Becoming a Better Listener" just for example.
This book is truly one about ways to improve your life as well as being able to step back, take a deep breath and enjoy life.
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Format: Paperback
It's not so much a book about helping you handle more stress better, but about making your life better so there won't be so much stress. Nearly all of the little "chapters" contain behavior-altering suggestions that are not easy to do--but that's the hard truth of self improvement. You cannot change behavior overnight, it's the kind of thing that requires day-to-day concentration. Benjamin Franklin discovered his, and wrote about it in his autobiography. He chose a handful of things he wanted to change about himself, and set out to practice one thing each day until he got it down--and it often took him much longer than he anticipated. If you don't want to put forth the effort of self-improvement, especially where stress is concerned, don't buy this book.
This book is easy to read, the suggestions being one to two pages. It may seem like he's "watering" down the facts of stressors and behavior, when in fact this material *must* be simplified in order to be at a level that is concise, direct, and understandable. Some of the 100 suggestions seem to overlap, but in my opinion, it is necessary. There are many aspects to human behavior. For example: Is patience really as simple as we think it is? Or is Mr. Carlson right in helping us with different aspects of it by overlapping the "patience" theme in several chapters? You may just need to decide for yourself.
So, when you're feeling bad about yourself and want to improve, this is a good place for ideas/reminders that can help you from the inside-out. You will have to read it slowly and re-read it again and again, using it as a reference for years to come in order to benefit from its potential effect on your life.
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