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The Sweet Spot: How to Find Your Groove at Home and Work

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  1,316 ratings  ·  147 reviews
Learn how to achieve more by doing less! Live in that zone you’ve glimpsed but can’t seem to hold on to—the sweet spot where you have the greatest strength, but also the greatest ease.
Not long ago, Christine Carter, a happiness expert at UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center and a speaker, writer, and mother, found herself exasperated by the busyness of modern life:
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published January 20th 2015 by Ballantine Books (first published January 13th 2015)
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Average rating 3.86  · 
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 ·  1,316 ratings  ·  147 reviews

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Nov 16, 2014 rated it it was ok
The Sweet Spot by Christine Carter includes nice tidbits of advice about prioritization, organization, practicing beneficial habits, etc., but it often reads more like a memoir (i.e. "I write at a standing desk that has a small treadmill under it" (91), "I'm extroverted. I'd rather be with people, preferably talking" (238).)

Most advice like this is obviously not practical for most readers, particularly for professional educators who work 45 hours in the classroom and another 10 or so at home. On
Erin Goettsch
Mar 20, 2015 rated it it was ok
The best thing I can say about this is it helped me feel drowsy for a few nights this week when I couldn't get to sleep.

The content is fine -- nothing particularly original, it's sort of a mishmash of her own best practices, along with (I think?) every other organizational tip she's encountered, ever -- so there are lots of good ideas here, but they feel sort of unfocused. (Oh, irony.)

Also, not to be overly pedantic, but I can't abide professional editing that doesn't use "begs the question" cor
Feb 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is awesome. Even though it covered a lot of ground from authors I've already read, it didn't hurt to have a reminder. Carter tells us that in order to be happy, we must live our lives from a point of strength and ease. Most of us have a lot to do, and even if we live charmed lives, we are still having trouble navigating through the busy waters. I took a lot of notes on the different sections, but I felt most inspired by the last section, which talks about how we must live with a growth ...more
Mar 02, 2015 rated it liked it
If you haven't read any books about happiness science, then this one might be OK because it reads like a series of book reports/infomercials on other books. At least the author gives credit to many other self-help authors, who then give her blurbs for her book jacket.
I don't think her first-world problems are very interesting. One of her biggest tragedies she had to overcome is that her Realtor told her to sell her house in the summer and then changed her mind and told her to sell later. Oh the
Dec 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, business, arc
This is one of the best (and most realistic) books I've read about how to live a more balanced and content life--even in the midst of so much "busyness." There was a ton here that I found helpful, and I've already integrated some of Carter's suggestions into my daily routines. And I even saw positive results almost immediately--seriously! (Though I will say, in the interest of full disclosure, that I am a stay-at-home mom and writer, so I think I am THE target audience for this book, which may b ...more
M.E. Kinkade
May 05, 2015 rated it liked it
This book was so persuasive, I implemented some of its suggestions even before buying and reading it!
It's true. I first heard about The Sweet Spot: How to Find Your Groove at Home and Work on the incredibly excellent radio program Think. I only heard the tail end of the discussion, but it was very convincing: that implementing a few routines and intentional habits into your life could make work, life, everything more copacetic.
And that's how I started doing pushups as soon as I woke up. And th
K.J. Dell'Antonia
Feb 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Lots of practical "road tested" advice here. I changed the way I exercise and the way I think about my work day. Especially great for those of is for whom working "flex time" ended up meaning "kinda working all the time." ...more
Rachael Mackie
Jan 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: bookclub
Too long, too wordy. Could have been half the length and just as beneficial. For me there was nothing life changing, primarily common sense and some interesting tidbits. All that being said, I typically don’t read self help books so not much to compare it to.
Aug 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: giveaways
I wanted to like this book more than I did. I did enjoy some of the stories, but mostly this book felt like a regurgitation of many other books I've read. In fact, it felt like the author was referencing specific books on every other page. Okay, I'm exaggerating a bit, but not by much. I've read many of the books she referenced, so I'm left feeling like I didn't learn anything new. If a reader is hearing this content for the first time, I'd say it would be meaningful. For me... not so much.

For e
Dec 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: work, non-fiction
Lots of practical advice and reminders I found helpful in the particular season I'm in. (7/10) ...more
Cheyenne Krijgsman
Sep 16, 2020 rated it liked it
Good, easy and practical tips which you can implement in your life right away. However, a lot of overlap with other 'self-help' books. ...more
hemlet kiai
Aug 20, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mylibrary
i truly enjoyed reading this book. where is my sweet spot? i guess it has always been there all this while. i just didn’t realize it. recommended reading.
Feb 21, 2017 rated it it was ok
Just a review of other people's good work with nothing new or interesting. It was just a hodgepodge of ideas without a coherent synthesis. I mean, it's all helpful, but I'd rather read the other people's work or I already have and this is redundant. ...more
Jan 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Disclaimer- I received this book in a Goodreads giveaway.

I could not have received this book at a better time! Currently, I work 90+ hours a week with my new company plus I have several animals, a husband and a household to keep up. It's exhausting and I've been chronically ill for the past six months due to stress and overworking. Even though I'm working toward my lifelong goals and I'm successful I don't feel happy. Dr. Carter's book has definitely opened my eyes to the fact that I'm surviving
Jan 28, 2015 rated it liked it
Well, first there's there slight irony that it took me 4 months to finish a book about getting into your groove so you can focus your energy more effectively on living a life you desire. Let's just say I definitely desire more reading time. Secondly, this is probably a book for Type As. Given that I nodded my head in earnest agreement as the author described that actions and feelings that led her to ultimately physically fall ill and reassess everything, I'd say I could relate.

She moves gradual
Jan 22, 2015 rated it it was ok
I didn't really "read" this one, but rather skimmed. I took the author's advice to heart and allowed myself to say no and concentrated on chapters that I felt would be beneficial. I did a lot of, "I do that", head-nodding, and "yes, that" while reading. I'm happy to report that I already incorporate a lot of the practices suggested; adopting a work uniform, sticking to a basic weekly menu, and establishing/following good habits to establish a fair amount of routine; sounds exciting, right?? Acco ...more
Steve Bivans
Mar 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Has modern technology just given us more time to work and stress about working? Do you feel as if you're running around in circles, chasing something that is ever illusive? Are you happy with your life? Or has work and the stress from work invaded your home-life, too?

In 'The Sweet Spot,' Christine Carter tackles these questions head on, and while she analyzes the causes and underlying psychological drivers of this rat race, she doesn't stop there. Christine gives you elephant-loads of down-to-Ea
Jul 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Wow! I can't begin to describe how much I enjoyed this book. Only a few chapters in and I was recommending it to friends, coworkers, and clients. This is easily one of the best positive psychology books I've ever read (and that's saying something). Christine has a very clear, down to earth, and accessible style and the suggested tips she offered were very practical. I appreciated her cogent real life examples, often of her playing mom. I liked this so much I bought the book after listening to th ...more
May 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
In general I don't read self-help books. I don't really like them. But right now I seem to be on some sort of self-help mission. This is the most helpful self-help book I have read since Covey's 7 Habits. That one (7 Habits) was a "lightbulb" book. It turned on lightbulbs; it solved problems; and it changed my life. So has this one. Right now my brain kind of overfloweth, but I am going to take tiny steps to forming new habits (already have in several cases) and I'm looking forward to the next i ...more
Dec 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Reading this was part of my journey to consistent happiness. Carter references many of the studies and theories that I already knew and mixed them with her personal stories. The reinforcement of behaviors and practices was good for me and I liked that she ended each theme with an "easy" tip for moving forward. ...more
Jul 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I highly recommend this book; it's full of excellent ideas and strategies for improving your life and gaining greater fulfillment. I zipped through it on audio and now I plan to buy a copy and read it slowly with an eye toward focusing on the specific areas that apply to me. ...more
Kris Springer
Oct 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Excellent book about doing what's meaningful, helping others and finding joy. Great and useful tips. Happiness is more about having a growth and abundance mentality, as well as doing work you're passionate about and that helps others. ...more
Oct 04, 2016 rated it it was ok
I really liked the first half that used a practical approach to balance however the second part didn't resonate with me as much. ...more
Kirsten Bansen
Dec 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
I read this very slowly...Lots to absorb. I normally hate self-help.books but I found this to be practical and timely, if a little overwhelming.
Feb 04, 2017 rated it it was ok
The information was the same I have read & heard before. Written well it just didn't provide me with any new insights ...more
Rachel Reynolds
Apr 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Most self-help books follow a formula. Within each chapter's theme, there is a pithy opening quote to frame the concept, background research or ideas for why this is important, cursory summary of some research, which many times says that "X proves Y", and a few efficiently summarized tips for moving forward and implementing said concept. This book is pretty standard fare for the "self-help" genre and Christine Carter's book was easy to read. It was also easy to determine which sections I wanted ...more
Aleks Veselovsky
Sep 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is excellent and I am so glad I came across it. Here is what I liked best about it:
1) It has a great balance of theory and practice. I appreciated the explanations of the theory and I was able to apply some of the things Dr. Carter describes immediately. For example, she writes that she completes a 9 mile run every day, which may not seem like much daily, but adds up over the course of the month, and is a lot more effective then trying and failing to schedule time for a long run. I hav
Apr 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
The reason that I chose to read this book is because I took the course The Science of Happiness at the Greater Good Science Center and she was part of that crew. I’ve read many of the books she’s referenced so a lot of what she mentions is a repeat for me but hearing them again was a good reminder. There’s a few sweet spots that I found particularly useful including how to make home life more efficient, particularly routine stuff so you don’t have to spend a lot of cognitive energy on them. I pa ...more
Stephanie M.
Jul 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Many practical solutions that you can implement right now. Quick, easy engaging read.

Top three take away points:

1. Intentional rest and relaxation will get you to your goals quicker.

Self explanatory- make time to rest and relax.

2. Insert habits into your already made routines.

Example: you want to wash your face everyday and you already take a morning shower- wash your face in the shower.

You want to learn a new language and you already listen to 1 hr of audio books a day- insert the language
Ellen Pilch
Aug 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
I won this book on Goodreads, but that didn't influence my opinion of it. I think this is an amazing book and one that I will purchase copies of us gifts for the frazzled people in my life.

So many people are overworked and stressed. They wear it like a badge of honor, almost like you are only important if you are busy. I used to feel that way too, but changed my views long before reading this book. Despite already understanding that business does not increase your personal worth, I found many ti
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Christine Carter, Ph.D., is a sociologist and author of The New Adolescence, The Sweet Spot and Raising Happiness. A sought-after keynote speaker and senior fellow at UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, she draws on scientific research to help people lead their most courageous, joyful, meaningful, and productive lives.

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Here’s some trivia for your next vacation get-together: The concept of the summer “beach read” book goes all the way back to the Victorian...
54 likes · 15 comments
“Perfectionism is not a quest for the best. It is a pursuit of the worst in ourselves, the part that tells us that nothing we do will ever be good enough.” 3 likes
“working more than 40 hours a week was stupid, wasteful, dangerous, and expensive—and the most telling sign of dangerously incompetent management to boot,” Robinson writes. Further, more than a hundred years of research shows that “every hour you work over 40 hours a week is making you less effective and productive over both the short and the long haul.” Really! Even though most people think this makes intuitive sense, they are still surprised to hear that it is actually true. This common sense is so widely ignored that overwork—and the problems with health, happiness, and productivity that it brings—is epidemic.” 1 likes
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