Don't Sweat the Small Stuff for Men: Simple Ways to Minimize Stress in a Competitive World


Over the past five years, Richard Carlson has shown countless families, lovers, and workers how to live in a more calm and productive manner. Now he turns his attention to men, with numerous simple strategies and life lessons that blend humor, warmth, and uncommon wisdom. Carlson invites men of all ages to enjoy the benefits of simplification and discover what so many of us already know: that its a stressful world out there, but it doesn't have to be.

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Over the past five years, Richard Carlson has shown countless families, lovers, and workers how to live in a more calm and productive manner. Now he turns his attention to men, with numerous simple strategies and life lessons that blend humor, warmth, and uncommon wisdom. Carlson invites men of all ages to enjoy the benefits of simplification and discover what so many of us already know: that its a stressful world out there, but it doesn't have to be.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Don't Sweat the Small Stuff franchise turns its focus on men in Don't Sweat the Small Stuff for Men. Here, Richard Carlson offers 100 essays on the importance of living life to the fullest and letting go of the little things that can muck up one's daily happiness.
Publishers Weekly
Carlson (Don't Sweat the Small Stuff, etc.) is back, with 100 brief chapters of advice, many of which acknowledge the male psyche. For example, men have told him that doing service feeds the soul, so he reminds readers to have a special cause. He also advises men to avoid letting their competitive natures rule their lives and to maintain their male friendships after they get serious with a woman. The chapter "Take Your Wife's Advice" makes clear that Carlson is targeting readers who are part of a nuclear family. Then again, a good number of chapters offer more gender-neutral advice: cast your choices in a positive light ("be in favor of simplicity" rather than "against clutter and chaos"); keep a spare set of keys and a wallet with a credit card and some cash, so that losing these items won't be catastrophic. There's inevitable repetition if read from cover to cover Carlson advises readers to do something nice for others and to be more generous, and to practice mindfulness and be present but this book is meant to be read in inspirational snippets. The author's "half full" outlook will indeed inspire and soothe: readers should "calculate the number of things that went right today" and observe that there's no bad weather, "only different kinds of good weather." Life, he reminds us, is "too precious to take for granted." (Sept.) Forecast: Publication in time for Father's Day might have worked better, but a $200,000 marketing campaign (including major TV advertising), Carlson's scheduled appearance on Good Morning America and his bona-fide franchise bode very well. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786886364
  • Publisher: Hyperion
  • Publication date: 9/5/2001
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 313,903
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 6.40 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard Carlson, Ph.D.

Richard Carlson, Ph.D., was the author of the bestselling Don't Sweat the Small Stuff series. He passed away in 2006.

Kristine Carlson has a gift for creating lifelong relationships and is very dedicated to her family, friendships, and personal growth. She loves riding horses, running, and solitude. Richard and Kris were married for over 21 years. She lives in Northern California.


Richard Carlson, whose Ph.D. is in psychology, is considered one of the foremost experts in happiness and stress-reduction around the world. He is the author of fifteen popular books including the runaway bestseller, Don't Sweat the Small Stuff...and It's All Small Stuff, which was named the No. 1 bestselling book in America for two consecutive years, a feat never before achieved in publishing.

Dr. Carlson has become a worldwide phenomenon as well. His books appear in over 100 countries, resulting in over 40 million people worldwide reading one of the books in the Don't Sweat series. In 1997, he was chosen by People magazine as one of the most intriguing people to watch in the world and has been a popular guest on shows such as The View, Oprah, Today, and CNN.

Author biography courtesy of Hyperion Books.

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    1. Hometown:
      Northern California
    1. Education:
      San Jose State University, Pepperdine University; Ph.D., Sierra University

Read an Excerpt

1. Have an Affair

I thought the title of this strategy would grab your attention and would be a great place to begin this book!

Okay, not that kind of affair!

The kind of affair I'm talking about is a love affair with life. If there's one thing I've noticed that seems to be lacking in many men, it's a passion for life. It seems that many of us have lost that sense of wonder and awe for the incredible gift of life itself. We've become lost in the multitude of responsibilities, ambitions, drive, and commitments. We've become very serious and heavyhearted. Many of us have lost our sense of humor and our perspective. We've lost our compassion, as well. Instead of marveling at it all, we take life for granted. We become stuck in the mundane and succumb to boredom. It's as if we're doing nothing more than putting in time and going through the motions.

Life is slowly passing us by. Without a genuine sense of enthusiasm, a zest for life and a lighthearted spirit, we take our problems and obstacles too seriously. We become uptight and a drag to be around. More than anything else, we start sweating the small stuff. Life starts to bother us instead of amusing us. People are seen as burdens instead of as gifts. Challenges are dreaded instead of seen as opportunities.

The solution to all of this is to have an affair with life. The idea is to reignite your passion for living, and to see the extraordinary in the ordinary. Remind yourself how precious and how short this adventure really is. I read a great book called A Parenthesis in Eternity. What a great way to think about the duration of your life — as a blip on a passing screen. We're here for a moment in time — and then we're gone. Why waste one second on self-pity, frustration, irritation, and all the rest? Our lives are so much more important than that.

It's shocking what happens to the quality of your life when you put it into this perspective. All of a sudden, the things that seemed so big seem small. And the things that seemed so small — and the things we postpone and take for granted — seem so big! We see that, for the most part, we usually prioritize in reverse order. But we can change all that in a moment. We can make a shift right now.

The things that we so often attach importance to are important, but it's a question of degree. Success, perfection, achievement, money, recognition — you can have them all, but they're not everything. In fact, without a passion and appreciation for life, they don't amount to much.

I was talking to a group of men about this subject. A few days later, I received a call from one of them that sums up the essence of this strategy. He said that while we were talking, he had thought that my "intentions" were good, but that I didn't really understand how serious and important his "role" was to everyone.

As fate would have it, while driving home that evening, his life changed in a single moment. He was nearly clipped by a huge truck on the freeway. He wasn't hurt, but it was a very close call. The near miss brought forth the insight that he hadn't spent virtually any time with any of his three children in several years, and that they were growing up very quickly. For the first time in years, tears came down his face as he realized that he was missing the point of life — as well as his chance to live it. When he arrived at home, he sat down with his family and told them that he was going to be making some changes in his life, beginning with appreciating his family. He had had a major change of heart.

Although this type of realization often has to do with family, it's not just about family. It's even larger than that. Recognizing the miracle of life — and having an affair with it — means that you being to attach great value to the moments of everyday life. The people you live and work with — and, for that matter, go grocery shopping with — all take on far more importance. Nature appears more beautiful, life is more precious, "things" and conveniences are more appreciated. You become, not less effective, but less demanding on others and on yourself, because you better understand the relative importance and significance of the events around you. Things won't get to you so much, and you won't be sweating the small stuff — at least, not as often!

An affair with life is real, and it can happen to anyone at any time. All it takes is the commitment to reflect upon the miracle of life itself and to remember, each day, how lucky we are to be alive. Think about what it means to wake up in the morning and have "another day to live". Some day, that won't be the case. In the meantime, live each day like it really matters — because it does.

One final note on this subject. Needless to say, an affair with life will never get you into any trouble with your wife or girlfriend. On the contrary, they will appreciate your change of heart as much as you do. So have fun.

Copyright © 2001 Richard Carlson, Ph.D.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1. Have an Affair 5
2. Make the "Peaceful Assumption" 8
3. Spend More Time with Your Kids 11
4. Take Your Wife's Advice 14
5. Avoid the "S" Word 16
6. Don't Know the Answer 19
7. Have a Special Cause 22
8. Be Able to Laugh at Yourself 25
9. Don't Let Your Competitive Nature Get the Best of You 28
10. Learn About Life from Golf 30
11. Grant Yourself One Hour 32
12. Don't Jump Ship 35
13. See It as a Test 38
14. Flash Forward for Instant Perspective 40
15. See Stress as Nonsexy 42
16. Share Your Dreams 44
17. Be a Part of the Solution 47
18. Give 'Em a Break 50
19. Keep Your Perspective 53
20. Spend Time with Your Buddies 55
21. Practice Mindfulness 58
22. Look at What the Cat Dragged In 61
23. Do at Least One Really Nice, Small Thing for Someone, at Least Once a Week 63
24. Avoid "As If" Assumptions 66
25. Be Careful of the Comparison Trap 70
26. Take Up Yoga 73
27. Schedule Time for Yourself 75
28. Get Out of the Serious Mode 78
29. Think "Maybe So, Maybe Not" 81
30. Don't Let the "Turkeys" Get You Down 84
31. Rid Yourself of a Busy Mind 87
32. Create an "Easier Life" List 90
33. Keep in Mind that the Fantasy Is Often Better than the Reality 93
34. Read Your Audience 96
35. Have Conflict Without It Having You 99
36. Take the Quirks with the Perks 102
37. Find a Place to Park 105
38. Avoid the Pursuit Trap 108
39. Think C-A-L-M 111
40. Eliminate Entitlement Thinking 113
41. Learn from Fellow "Sweat"-ers 116
42. Be For Something Rather than Against It 118
43. Blow Off Steam 121
44. Avoid the Excuse, "That's the Nature of the Business" 124
45. Be Aware of the "Taken Away" Trap 126
46. Have a Beginner's Mind 129
47. Don't Do It Yourself 132
48. Engage in Less Picking and Choosing 134
49. Keep in Mind that No Decision Is a Decision 136
50. Memorize the Words, "There's No Such Thing as Bad Weather--Only Different Kinds of Good Weather" 138
51. Try the "Pause and Come Back to It" Technique 141
52. Remember that Sometimes Less Effort Is Better 144
53. Ease Up Behind the Wheel 146
54. Quiet Down 148
55. Have a Spare Set 151
56. Anticipate the Best 154
57. Be Sure You're Mad at What You Think You Are 156
58. Experience the Power of Being Present 159
59. Identify Your Stress Signals 163
60. Become More Accepting of Change 166
61. Reflect on the Power of Prevention 169
62. Redefine the Word "Emergency" 171
63. Develop Some Nonnegotiables 174
64. Avoid Overidentifying with Your Role 177
65. Wait 179
66. Have a Change of Heart 181
67. Honor the Humility Factor 184
68. Acknowledge Your Inner Intelligence 186
69. Use Hindsight to Create Foresight 188
70. Diversify 191
71. Calculate the Number of Things that Went Right Today 193
72. Underreact 196
73. Let Go of the Past 200
74. Anticipate Defensiveness 202
75. Think "Yeah, So?" 205
76. Try Not to Be Frustrated When It Might Be More Appropriate to Be Grateful 207
77. Consider that "Needing a Vacation" May Not Be the Real Problem 210
78. Avoid the "Caught Up" Trap 212
79. See the Irony of "Striving" for Balance 215
80. Check Your Blind Spots 218
81. Open Your Heart to Compassion 220
82. Live by the Motto, "It Is as It Is" 222
83. Don't Miss the Fun! 225
84. See Things from a Distance 227
85. Prevent Little Things from Becoming Front-Page News 230
86. Use Compliments as a Stress-Reducing Tool 232
87. Keep in Mind that Practice Doesn't Make Perfect--Perfect Practice Makes Perfect 234
88. Be More Generous 237
89. Let Others Be Right About the Little Things 240
90. Apply the "One-Year" Standard 243
91. Extend Compassion to Your Daily Life 245
92. Stop Broadcasting Your Thoughts 247
93. Practice the Rule of Two 250
94. Become a Health Nut 253
95. Have a Favorite Cause 256
96. Respect the Law of Diminishing Returns 259
97. Be a Quitter 262
98. Remind Yourself--One More Time--of the Mood Factor 265
99. Ask the Question, "If Not Now, When?" 267
100. Deepen Your Perspective 269
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