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Book review: Don't Sweat The Small Stuff at Work

Updated: Nov 3, 2023

Cover of "Don't Sweat The Small Stuff at Work" book by Richard Carlson

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I was going through some old books the other day to put together a pile to bring to our local used bookstore and I found this one: “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff at Work” by Richard Carlson.

My husband and I have no idea where it came from! Neither one of us had read it. So, I did what any reasonable person in the workplace stress management field would do… and I read it!

It was published in 1998. So, it’s already two and a half decades old. Knowing this, I was expecting outdated advice, of which, there was a bit.

However, overall, I think this book has held up quite well against a work environment that has changed a lot in the last 25 years. I’m sharing three of my favourite ideas from this book with you below.

  1. Carlson stresses the importance of knowing your personal priorities and points out that life isn’t going to miraculously get less busy one day. Life and work ARE busy. So, if something is important to you personally, you must make the time for it… otherwise, you’ll never get to it!

  2. The author also talks about viewing issues that arise at work as “speedbumps” that are an expected part of the experience and give us an opportunity to slow down. He reminds the reader that we successfully get through most of the challenges we face so there’s no use in panicking every time we encounter one. We know issues will come up; instead of viewing them as unmitigated disasters, we can see them as speedbumps.

  3. Carlson talks about how we so often take it personally when we encounter incompetence. He shares that, if we come to expect some degree of ineptitude in our interactions from time to time, we won’t be taken aback by it, and it will be less likely to set us off. Instead, he urges the reader to consider the fact that most people do their jobs well, most of the time, but that we don’t usually stop to appreciate that. He encourages the reader to consider whether it really is worth your energy to get frustrated or upset when you occasionally encounter incompetence in others. It is, after all, something you can’t control.

Thank you for reading!


LORA Concepts Inc.

workplace engagement & well-being

p.s. The information, insight, and advice I share through my work is meant to exist alongside whatever else you may be doing to bolster your mental health, manage stress, or improve your well-being. Nothing I share is meant to replace directives or treatment plans provided by your doctor, therapist, or other healthcare professional.



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