Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff… And It’s All Small Stuff – Review

Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff… And It’s All Small stuff is a must read. One of the best features of this book is its readability. Richard Carlson provides us with one hundred simple, yet effective strategies for coping with all of the everyday stressors in our life.

Each strategy is self contained, which allows the reader to choose only one, or as many as one chooses at a particular setting.

Each of the strategies is practical in nature and can be put to immediate use. The ideas are centered around all aspects of humanity. Carlson carries on a conversation with the reader and the book is filled with examples of how he employs the strategies into his own life as a father, husband, son, writer, and fellow human being. These ideas are worthy of implementation in our own lives and families. From how to cope with standing in long lines, practicing random acts of kindness, or making peace with our imperfections, there is something for everyone in this handy little book. While some may be more pertinent than others, depending on the reader of course, the book truly does contain something for everyone!

How I Approach The Book

For me, personally, I have developed the strategy of reading only one a day, and then focus on incorporating that strategy into my daily routine. It is a book that can be read over and over as it deals with all aspects of daily living.

While I prefer reading them in order, there is a table of contents that list each individual strategy so one is free to pick and choose what is most interesting or appropriate on any given day. The book is relatively small and easily can be carried in a purse or a suitcase. It is a wonderful way to begin or end ones day.

It is amazing how many times I am reminded of something I read in this book as I go through my day. Although simplistic in nature, many of the strategies involve interacting with others which, as we all know, can be stressful at times. For example, Carlson reminds us how important it is to be a good listener, something we often take for granted. He stresses the importance of not interrupting the speaker, or merely waiting for them to finish so we can speak our minds. It seems people are a lot more willing to talk when they know they are actually being heard. I am now conscious of this and my conversation have been much more flowing.

Another favorite strategy of mine is allowing others to be right most of the time. When becoming aware of the many opportunities we have to ” correct” others, Carlson points out that rarely does the speaker actually enjoy being corrected. While not ignoring ones own beliefs or opinions, the question one should always ask is: “Do I want to be right, or do I want to be happy?” It is amazing how much just this one idea can change the way we interact.


Lessons Learned

This book has taught me to approach life in a much lighter, carefree manner. No longer do I see life as one great big emergency. Remembering that we become what we practice most opens our eyes to the quality of life we want to pursue. As the book reminds us, it is okay to get comfortable not knowing, to lighten up, and to realize the power of our own thoughts. Perhaps his best pearl of wisdom is the last of them all : “Live This Day As if It Were Your Last”

Although this book is not new, it’s messages are timeless. Because it is derived from basic common sense, it is as valid today as it was when it was written. And I dare to say, it will be just as valid and enlightening in years to come.

There are not many books that I know of that I would put into that category.

The topics Carlson tackles are as vast as life itself. Because of this book, I have become more accepting and tolerant of others. I am able to look with humor at situations that in the past may have caused me undue stress. It is a must read for anyone who is frustrated and disillusioned with the many “self-help” books that are almost impossible to decipher, and at times, can cause the reader even more stress. I find this book to be a breath of fresh air!

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