I was cleaning out my bedside table and way, way back in the drawer under a heap of papers I found the tiny book Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff… and It’s All Small Stuff by Richard Carlson. I bought this book in 1997, one year after our son was born. It was an essential read back then. We were juggling two full-time careers and two young children, with the potential for many little things to mushroom into perceived big things.

Twenty-two years later, the book still has incredible meaning and valuable advice. So, it got me thinking, what other oldies-but-goodies books are collecting dust around the house that are worth rereading as we explore ways to challenge our minds, strengthen our bodies, and enhance our relationships. Buried in the shelves, I found five such books (all rated 4.5 on Amazon).

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff… and It’s All Small Stuff – Richard Carlson

This little treasure spent 100 weeks on the NY Times bestseller list, and for good reason. At this stage in our lives, it’s easy for our life experiences to create added worries. We’ve seen so much, the good and the bad. Not kept in check, we’re prone to blowing things out of proportion and ruminating about things we can’t change or simply have no control over.

This pint-size treasure offers 100 simple ways to keep the little things from taking over your life. The book provides perspective through small daily changes, such as “Think of your problems as potential teachers”; “Allow yourself to be bored”; and “Make peace with imperfection.” Dr. Carlson’s suggestions reveal ways to make your actions more peaceful and caring, with the added benefit of making your life more calm and stress-free.

First published in 1997; only the cover has been revised. On Amazon.

Who Moved My Cheese? – Spencer Johnson, M.D.

It is said that change is inevitable and that change is constant. Yet, most people are fearful of change, both personal and professional. Who Moved My Cheese? is a parable about two mice (Scurry and Sniff) and two Littlepeople (Hem and Haw) who live in a maze and look for cheese. One day the cheese disappears. Cheese is a metaphor for what you want to have in life and the maze is where you look for what you want.

I first read this book when a former boss required it of our team back in 1998. The book made its way through many companies, as the lessons applied to both organizations and individuals. The parable illustrates how attitude can impact outcomes when faced with change, and offers ways to deal with change in your own life.

Since the book’s publication, phrases like “who moved my cheese?” or “my cheese has been moved” have become synonymous with change and a recognition of the myriad of potential reactions.

First published in 1998; no revisions. On Amazon.

What Color Is Your Parachute? – Richard N. Bolles

As we rewire and explore other careers and interests, this popular book is a must read. It is particularly helpful for those who are job hunting, making a career change, or pondering what passion to pursue. Years later, I still remember the Flower Exercise that is the heart of this book.

Updated annually, What Color Is Your Parachute? has sold more than 10 million copies and was selected by the Library of Congress as one of 25 books that have shaped people’s lives throughout history.

First published in 1970; revised annually. On Amazon.

The Five Tibetans – Christopher S. Kilham

The Five Tibetans are yogic exercises that are purported to improve health, energy, longevity, and healthy aging. All of the exercises only take ten minutes each day. The book provides illustrated instructions and explains how regular practice of these postures relieves muscle tension and nervous stress, improves digestion, strengthens the cardiovascular system, and leads to deep relaxation and well-being.

I bought this book years ago and, for a while, was pretty faithful about doing four of the five exercises. Life got busy and I stopped doing all but one. I was younger, so the claim that the Five Tibetans are youth enhancers, wasn’t a front burner motivator.

Fast forward to my fifties, well, that’s an enticing, more relevant promise. The author republished the book after decades of his own practice and believes it has slowed down his own aging process.

First published in 1994; most recent edition in 2011. On Amazon.

All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten – Robert Fulghum

A #1 NY Times bestseller, this book offered us a credo and engaged us in 25 essays that are worth rereading. The book offers musings on life, death, love, pain, joy and sorrow, and emphasizes that the most basic aspects of life hold the most important opportunities.

Wisdom is shared building off kindergarten teachings, like: share everything, don’t take things that aren’t yours, say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody, and clean up your own mess. Each lesson is extrapolated into adult terms and applied to our own lives.

First published in 1989; most recent edition in 2004. On Amazon.

Happy reading!

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1 Comment

  1. I absolutely loved three of these five books. Never heard of the Five Tibetans book. I will check it out.


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