I am not much of a self-help reader (occasionally I will read a Christian living/theology book but that's really it), but I recommend this book to everyone. There are some real pearls of wisdom therein (if you will pardon the cliche'). I definitely believe some of these strategies are intuitive, that you probably utilize some as survival mechanisms in your daily routine, just to get through the day and dealing with others. But it never hurts to get a gentle reminder. My recommendation is to keep this book at work in your drawer, or in your tote bag. Pull it out when you need a few minutes to recharge your juices. You will find yourself putting some of these tips to use right away. As a shy, conflict-avoiding person who went into a field where I have to deal with people (often difficult and often stressed and not always pleasant) everyday, I think anyone who has to be around and communicate with others heavily can use these skills in this book.
What I really like about this book is how easy it is to read. Although Dr. Carlson is a PhD, he doesn't write in such a way to sound more scholarly and less down to earth. And this book is fairly inexpensive. I got it for $9 at Barnes and Noble. I'm sure you can find it even cheaper if you tried. I believe his goal really is to help. He uses a friendly, conversation writing style that is very down to earth and concise (He sorts of reminds me of Christian writer Max Lucado in that sense). Each chapter is no more than three pages at the most, but so much good information is included, plus personal examples of how the strategy was used by the author. Nothing like seeing that the writer struggles in the same ways as the rest of us.
Update One:This week, I had one of those Mondays you really don't want to have. I pulled this book out of my tote and started reading it. It helped me to feel better because it really does put things into perspective. We make big deals out of stuff that we really shouldn't. We make our lives into soap operas when they don't have to be. Why? It's such a waste of energy that we could be using to fuel our daily lives in better, more productive ways. With a fringe benefit of leaving us plenty of energy to be content and enjoy our lives. Dr. Carlson really gets to the heart of that in this book.
At the time of update one, I was still reading this book. I started this review before I finished the book, in order to get some of my thoughts down (before they fly out of my head).
Some lessons from this book that I applied to my life this week:
-Don't sweat the small stuff (the titular lesson--which bears repeating as a daily mantra)
-Develop your compassion
-Remind yourself that when you die, your 'in basket' won't be empty
-Choose your battles wisely
-Become a better listener
-Choose being kind over being right
What a rewarding reading experience. This is the one self-help book you really should read. It doesn't matter if you're religious, atheist, whatever. You can gain some wonderful insight from this book. At the final reading, I could see how the advice in this book would have helped me in a challenge I faced a day or so before. It still helps on the other end, giving me the insight to look at things from a more healthy viewpoint. Stress kills, and I have come to the realization that I don't want to die from stress-related health problems, which I could be on the fast track to doing if I don't change my outlook.
This book helped me today. I had to deal with a person that I did not have a good experience with the first time around. The advice this book gave me about listening to someone and what that person is truly saying, and trying not to interrupt, and trying to see the 'innocence' in them, well it was simply invaluable. I promise, I am not the type to hype self-help books! But I can't help but praise this one.
Some of the powerful things I read about today:
-Turn Your Melodrama into a Mellow-drama
-Practice Ignoring Your Negative Thoughts
-Be Happy Where You Are
-Quiet the Mind
-Think of Your Problem as Potential Teachers
-Get Comfortable Not Knowing
-Acknowledge the Totality of Your Being
-Cut Yourself Some Slack
-Stop Blaming Others
-Transform Your Relationship to Your Problems
-The Next Time You Find Yourself in an Argument, Rather than Defend Your Position, See if You Can See the Other Point of View First
-Listen to Your Feelings (They Are Trying to Tell You Something)
-Redefine a "Meaningful Accomplishment"
-If Someone Throws You the Ball, You Don't Have to Catch It
-One More Passing Show
-Realize the Power of Your Own Thoughts
and a very good lesson for me.... Trust Your Instinctive Heart!
I am so glad I bought this book. It will not be one that I shove to the back of my bookshelf, to pull out rarely, if ever. It's going to be one that I carry around with me as I walk through life. It won't replace the Bible for me. It's not that kind of book. But whatever your belief is, it never hurts to put things into perspective. And that is the simple message of this book. You can learn to realize that the small stuff isn't worth all the drama, and in the sum of things it's all small stuff, as the title says.
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