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Finding the Sweet Spot: The Natural Entrepreneur's Guide to Responsible, Sustainable, Joyful Work Paperback – 9 Feb 2009

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing Co (9 Feb. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933392908
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933392905
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.3 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 113,256 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

aDave Pollard explains why finding your right work is a good thing for you and for our society and our planet. He offers unique perspectives on work, enterprise and social responsibility that resonate as true. This is an important book. Read it for yourself, and also for the rest of us.a
aDick Richards, author of "Artful Work" and "Is Your Genius At Work?"

"Publishers Weekly -"
Pollard, a longtime entrepreneurial advisor, distills his extensive experience into sound suggestions in this useful and much-needed book. According to the author, too many individuals hesitate in creating a business in line with their goals, skills and values out of fear or a lack of self-confidence or funds. Pollard argues that entrepreneurship need not imply stress or risk, and he coaches readers through the process of identifying their passion, choosing the right collaborators and discovering unmet needs in the marketplace. Helpful charts and exercises guide the reader in finding where their purpose, passions and gifts intersect; and bite-sized case studies of entrepreneur success studies abound and help illustrate his points. Along the way, Pollard warns against settling for work that is anything less than satisfying. The ideal jobawhat he calls anatural enterprisea or the asweet spotaais an innovative business that touches peopleas lives. Pollard gives an insightful overview of the entrepreneurial process, and the book itself stands testament to the success of the authoras methods.

aEverything I know about life, work, the environment, and entrepreneurship tells me that Dave Pollard is right. Do yourself and the world a favor and read this book.a
aThomas H. Davenport, Presidentas Distinguished Professor of Information Technology and Management, Babson College

aDave Pollard is an undaunted observer of our world. He navigates its challenges and promises with passion and curiosity and an eye to designing a path of personal and social sustainability. No 21st century citizen should travel without this map!a
aChris Corrigan, Principal at Harvest Moon Consultants, Ltd.

aDave Pollard is a bridge between two worldsathe world of liberated imagination and the world of bottom line results. If you are serious about making innovation real in your life, read this book.a
aMitch Ditkoff, author of "Awake at the Wheel: Getting Your Great Ideas Rolling (in an Uphill World)" and co-founder and President of Idea Champions

aThe successful innovators I know constantly struggle to balance the passion they need to push ahead and the dispassion essential to integrity. "Finding the Sweet Spot" does a superb job of packaging, prioritizing and explaining how to achieve the balance that empowers sustainable innovation.a
aMichael Schrage, MIT Researcher and author of "Serious Play"

aWith a welcome vigour Pollard reinterprets many of the tools of management for the entrepreneur. Straightforward and plain-speaking without shortchanging the complexities of creating value, "Finding the Sweet Spot" is a book for grown-ups who want their work to make them feel like a kid again.a
aMichael E. Raynor, coauthor of "The Innovatoras Solution" and author of "The Strategy Paradox"

aI love love love the book, wowait needs to be so much more than just a book! "Finding the Sweet Spot" explains why itas crucial to spend time up-front with prospective customers, to discover and understand (and help them understand!) what they need. And then to work with them to co-develop the solution.a
aKathy Sierra, author of the Creating Passionate Users weblog and the "Head First" book series

aHave you been waiting for the moment to just frigging do something about having a satisfying work life? Then pick up this book! Don't let your fears or objections stop you. Follow the path Dave lays out and you will not only make your life better, youall make the world a better place through the reflected joy of your own fulfillment and by meeting real needs with new business ideas. Do it!a
aNancy White, founder of Full Circle Associates

aI finished "Finding the Sweet Spot" in one night, but I carried it around with me for two weeks after, for no other reason than I wanted people to ask me what I was reading. It worked. This book led to a series of blissfully rich conversations with friends and strangers alike, and something in my heart believes that itas because we all have in us a deep and heartfelt desire to ask and pursue the crucial questions it addresses.a
aSiona van Dijk, Director of Gaia.com

aItas an act of high hubris to ask a vitriolic critic of print publishing, and of professional advice-giving, and of mindless entrepreneurship like me to read a book of advice for entrepreneurs. Unless itas a good and useful book, like this one. No advice can change the world, if you leave it on the shelf. But if you read this you can see the crucial threads Dave Pollard has woven together. And then maybe you can change the world. Go do that.a
aBill Tozier, Vague Innovation, LLC, and co-founder of NotAnEmployee.org

aWe emerge on Earth with two big questions: whom will I love? and what should I do? Daveas book wonat help you much on the first question, but itas fabulous for the second. aWhat should I do?a isnat just about how to occupy your time, or to work to live (or even to live to work). Itas about how to find your right livelihood, the magic combination of skills, passion, and opportunity that feels effortless and worthwhile. Read this and learn how.a
aJerry Michalski, CEO of Sociate.com and founder of the Yi-Tan Collective

aIn "Finding the Sweet Spot," Dave gently but firmly guides the reader toward finding their true calling in life. I am going to ask everyone I love to read it. Iam particularly struck by the message that you canat go it alone, and by the fundamental importance of social ties, both strong and weak; how engagement with the wider community around you, through social networking and respect for all of your stakeholders, is key to the success of a Natural Enterprise.a
aChristian Crumlish, author of "The Power of Many: How the Living Web is Transforming Politics, Business, and Everyday Life"

aI canat believe this essential book has never been written before! Thanks to Dave Pollard, itas here now, and now that it is letas make it required reading for all those young people (and many others, like those about to embark on career number two, three, or four) who need a hand charting a course to the future they are about to invent. If I had this book when I was 22 (several eons ago), I might have shaped my random journey more coherently; Iam certain it will help countless others.a
aJohn Abrams, founder and CEO of South Mountain Company and author of "Companies We Keep: Employee Ownership and the Business of Community and Place"

aIn "Finding the Sweet Spot," Dave Pollard has brought forth a keen understanding that unites the latent desires so many people have to exchange their day-to-day lives for ones with meaning, character and purpose and the needs of sustainable, thriving, twenty-first century communities. It has long been said: to make change, begin with yourself. Daveas approach will make many who want change but feel worn down by their lives find a path to reconnect with their valuesaand begin anew, by finding their own asweet spota of passion for their work, and the places and people that will fill their lives.a
aBruce A. Stewart, futurist, philosopher, writer, and CEO of Accendor Research.

a"Finding the Sweet Spot" provides a holistic framework for entrepreneurship. It can help you discover your own power, find the right partners, and experiment at the margin of what you know and the human needs you can fulfill. Fostering a Natural Enterprise is not only more fulfilling, but a sustainable competitive advantage every entrepreneur should explore. This book can help you discover what you were meant to do, find and fulfill unmet human needs and make it sustainable. If you consider yourself an entrepreneur, or want to unleash your creative side, or want to be an agent of positive change, or if now is the time for broader perspectiveashare this book.a
aRoss Mayfield, Chairman, President, and Cofounder of Socialtext

aStore shelves are full of books that plow already plowed ground. Only rarely does a book take us into a whole new territory. This one does. Dave Pollard proves again that he is not only a brilliant thinker, but one with deep heart and soulaone who is values driven, not circumstance driven. Hereas a remarkable look at the question of meaning (personal and societal) in our work and lives. With an uncanny ability to make meaning on a human scale, Daveas unwavering honesty and clear process make this a must-read. I only wish it had been written 20 years ago. This is exactly the right message for these economic times.a
aPatti Digh, author of "37 Days weblog, Life Is a Verb," and "Global Literacies: Lessons on Business Leadership and National Cultures," and co-founder of The Circle Project

aI love this book; it is beautifully written. I believe that in a few years time the majority of people and businesses will be working passionately and productively for the benefit of society and each other. I believe that the conventional, exploitative model of business will fade away and be replaced by something which is better, more profitable and more sustainable socially and environmentally. That is not to say that the conventional business model is bad; it has brought us much affluence. It is just that its time has passed and we need to move on. "Finding the Sweet Spot" brings that day much closer with its practical and well informed approach. Anyone who reads this book will not spend another day feeling frustrated by the way they make their living. With the help of this book they will find a way to turn their passions into profit for themselves and for us all.a
aNeil Crofts, author of "Authentic Business"

""Finding the Sweet Spot" provides a holistic framework for entrepreneurship. It can help you discover your own power, find the right partners, and experiment at the margin of what you know and the human needs you can fulfill. Fostering a Natural Enterprise is not only more fulfilling, but a sustainable competitive advantage every entrepreneur should explore. This book can help you discover what you were meant to do, find and fulfill unmet human needs and make it sustainable. If you consider yourself an entrepreneur, or want to unleash your creative side, or want to be an agent of positive change, or if now is the time for broader perspective--share this book."--Ross Mayfield, Chairman, President, and Cofounder of Socialtext

"The successful innovators I know constantly struggle to balance the passion they need to push ahead and the dispassion essential to integrity. "Finding the Sweet Spot" does a superb job of packaging, prioritizing and explaining how to achieve the balance that empowers sustainable innovation."--Michael Schrage, MIT Researcher and author of "Serious Play"

"Everything I know about life, work, the environment, and entrepreneurship tells me that Dave Pollard is right. Do yourself and the world a favor and read this book."--Thomas H. Davenport, President's Distinguished Professor of Information Technology and Management, Babson College

"Store shelves are full of books that plow already plowed ground. Only rarely does a book take us into a whole new territory. This one does. Dave Pollard proves again that he is not only a brilliant thinker, but one with deep heart and soul--one who is values driven, not circumstance driven. Here's a remarkable look at the question of meaning (personal and societal) in our work and lives. With an uncanny ability to make meaning on a human scale, Dave's unwavering honesty and clear process make this a must-read. I only wish it had been written 20 years ago. This is exactly the right message for these economic times."--Patti Digh, author of "37 Days weblog, Life Is a Verb", and "Global Literacies: Lessons on Business Leadership and National Cultures", and co-founder of The Circle Project

"Have you been waiting for the moment to just frigging do something about having a satisfying work life? Then pick up this book! Don't let your fears or objections stop you. Follow the path Dave lays out and you will not only make your life better, you'll make the world a better place through the reflected joy of your own fulfillment and by meeting real needs with new business ideas. Do it!"--Nancy White, founder of Full Circle Associates

"We emerge on Earth with two big questions: whom will I love? and what should I do? Dave's book won't help you much on the first question, but it's fabulous for the second. 'What should I do?' isn't just about how to occupy your time, or to work to live (or even to live to work). It's about how to find your right livelihood, the magic combination of skills, passion, and opportunity that feels effortless and worthwhile. Read this and learn how."--Jerry Michalski, CEO of Sociate.com and founder of the Yi-Tan Collective

"It's an act of high hubris to ask a vitriolic critic of print publishing, and of professional advice-giving, and of mindless entrepreneurship like me to read a book of advice for entrepreneurs. Unless it's a good and useful book, like this one. No advice can change the world, if you leave it on the shelf. But if you read this you can see the crucial threads Dave Pollard has woven together. And then maybe you can change the world. Go do that."--Bill Tozier, Vague Innovation, LLC, and co-founder of NotAnEmployee.org

"Dave Pollard explains why finding your right work is a good thing for you and for our society and our planet. He offers unique perspectives on work, enterprise and social responsibility that resonate as true. This is an important book. Read it for yourself, and also for the rest of us."--Dick Richards, author of "Artful Work" and "Is Your Genius At Work?"

"In "Finding the Sweet Spot", Dave gently but firmly guides the reader toward finding their true calling in life. I am going to ask everyone I love to read it. I'm particularly struck by the message that you can't go it alone, and by the fundamental importance of social ties, both strong and weak; how engagement with the wider community around you, through social networking and respect for all of your stakeholders, is key to the success of a Natural Enterprise."--Christian Crumlish, author of "The Power of Many: How the Living Web is Transforming Politics, Business, and Everyday Life"

"I love love love the book, wow--it needs to be so much more than just a book! "Finding the Sweet Spot" explains why it's crucial to spend time up-front with prospective customers, to discover and understand (and help them understand!) what they need. And then to work with them to co-develop the solution."--Kathy Sierra, author of the Creating Passionate Users weblog and the "Head First" book series

"I can't believe this essential book has never been written before! Thanks to Dave Pollard, it's here now, and now that it is let's make it required reading for all those young people (and many others, like those about to embark on career number two, three, or four) who need a hand charting a course to the future they are about to invent. If I had this book when I was 22 (several eons ago), I might have shaped my random journey more coherently; I'm certain it will help countless others."--John Abrams, founder and CEO of South Mountain Company and author of "Companies We Keep: Employee Ownership and the Business of Community and Place"

"In "Finding the Sweet Spot", Dave Pollard has brought forth a keen understanding that unites the latent desires so many people have to exchange their day-to-day lives for ones with meaning, character and purpose and the needs of sustainable, thriving, twenty-first century communities. It has long been said: to make change, begin with yourself. Dave's approach will make many who want change but feel worn down by their lives find a path to reconnect with their values--and begin anew, by finding their own 'sweet spot' of passion for their work, and the places and people that will fill their lives."--Bruce A. Stewart, futurist, philosopher, writer, and CEO of Accendor Research.

"With a welcome vigour Pollard reinterprets many of the tools of management for the entrepreneur. Straightforward and plain-speaking without shortchanging the complexities of creating value, "Finding the Sweet Spot" is a book for grown-ups who want their work to make them feel like a kid again."--Michael E. Raynor, coauthor of "The Innovator's Solution" and author of "The Strategy Paradox"

"Dave Pollard is a bridge between two worlds--the world of liberated imagination and the world of bottom line results. If you are serious about making innovation real in your life, read this book."--Mitch Ditkoff, author of "Awake at the Wheel: Getting Your Great Ideas Rolling (in an Uphill World)" and co-founder and President of Idea Champions

"I finished "Finding the Sweet Spot" in one night, but I carried it around with me for two weeks after, for no other reason than I wanted people to ask me what I was reading. It worked. This book led to a series of blissfully rich conversations with friends and strangers alike, and something in my heart believes that it's because we all have in us a deep and heartfelt desire to ask and pursue the crucial questions it addresses."--Siona van Dijk, Director of Gaia.com

"Dave Pollard is an undaunted observer of our world. He navigates its challenges and promises with passion and curiosity and an eye to designing a path of personal and social sustainability. No 21st century citizen should travel without this map!"--Chris Corrigan, Principal at Harvest Moon Consultants, Ltd.

"I love this book; it is beautifully written. I believe that in a few years time the majority of people and businesses will be working passionately and productively for the benefit of society and each other. I believe that the conventional, exploitative model of business will fade away and be replaced by something which is better, more profitable and more sustainable socially and environmentally. That is not to say that the conventional business model is bad; it has brought us much affluence. It is just that its time has passed and we need to move on. "Finding the Sweet Spot" brings that day much closer with its practical and well informed approach. Anyone who reads this book will not spend another day feeling frustrated by the way they make their living. With the help of this book they will find a way to turn their passions into profit for themselves and for us all."--Neil Crofts, author of "Authentic Business"

"With a welcome vigour Pollard reinterprets many of the tools of management for the entrepreneur. Straightforward and plain-speaking without shortchanging the complexities of creating value, Finding the Sweet Spot is a book for grown-ups who want their work to make them feel like a kid again."--Michael E. Raynor, co-author of The Innovator's Solution and author of The Strategy Paradox

About the Author

Dave Pollard spent twenty-seven years with Ernst & Young LLP as practice leader and advisor to entrepreneurs and then as chief knowledge officer and member of the firm's Strategy and Innovation Group. In 2010, after 40 years trying to work within the industrial growth society, Dave walked away from it. During that 40 years he advised entrepreneurs about innovation, research, sustainability, coping with complexity, and the effective use of knowledge and social media. In 2003 he started a blog called How to Save the World, which documents what he's learned about how the world really works, and how we might create better ways to live and make a living, and in 2007 he authored his first book, Finding the Sweet Spot: A Natural Entrepreneur's Guide to Responsible, Sustainable, Joyful Work.

His popular environmental and business blog can be found at howtosavetheworld.ca. He lives with his family in Toronto, Canada.

Dave Smith has been twice a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry and once a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Other honors include two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He is Elliot Coleman Professor of Poetry and Chairman of The Writing Seminars at the Johns Hopkins University. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

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Format: Paperback
The silver lining in a world filled with economic gloom. I bought this book feeling cautious about anything that was proposing solutions, anything that sounded too much like self-help that makes the authors millionaires but not the rest of us.

I would already describe myself as entrepreneurial, so it was a wonderful surprise not to find the inevitable 'roadmap' to self-fulfilment, instead practical ideas for exploring new ways of working that make economic and environmental sense.

Don't just read the book, head over to Dave Pollard's blog too and join the discussion.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9a4fa3c0) out of 5 stars 13 reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x982d075c) out of 5 stars From my foreword... 29 Sept. 2008
By Dave Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
...this is not a warm and fuzzy "do-it-and-the-money-will-come" wish book. What you'll find here is an excellent, nonacademic, no-nonsense, down-to-earth, hands-on, "insight-full" working guidebook, led by an innovative, caring, and extremely bright man who may not know all the answers, but, much better, shows us how to go about finding them. However you may define business success and meaning for yourself, this will become one of those books you often turn to for idea sparks and troubleshooting; a manual that stays close by after you've dog-eared, starred, and underlined the pages most useful to you... Grab this book and a friend or two, and head to the woods for a few days of study, hiking, and brainstorming. Explore what you are good at, what you love doing, who you love and want to work with, and then come back ready to make it happen no matter what.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x987c3708) out of 5 stars Help with the terrible question What are you going to do? 8 Nov. 2012
By Robert Paterson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Are you stuck? Stuck about what to do with your life? How to mix what you really want to do, with whom you are and to make a living? Then Dave Pollard can help.

Dave Pollard is I think one of the most illuminating thinkers about what is really going on. His book Finding the Sweet Spot is a very practical guide for anyone who wishes to find their own way at last. For the way ahead is often blocked by our belief in the old system. And so seeing any alternative is very hard. Here is is his own synopsis.

Here are 3 snips that I like a lot:

"I believe it's because of the brainwashing we get in the education system, in the workplace, in the media, and in society at large, that we think the lifelong, often joyless and meaningless struggle in the workplace is the only way to make a living. We should know better.

Just because it's the only way we know how to make a living doesn't mean it is the only way. There is a better way. The only thing holding most of us back is lacking the knowledge of that way. This book will give you that knowledge."

And:

"Natural Enterprise: A sustainable, self-organized, self-managed, community-based business partnership in which a group of people agree to make a living together as collaborators and peers, strive to attain what each member needs to achieve for his or her personal well-being, accept substantial responsibility for each other, and respect and help the community or communities in which the enterprise operates and the natural environment.

It is "natural" because this form of socioeconomic activity occurs ubiquitously in hunter-gatherer cultures and in most nonhuman animal cultures."

And:

"Natural Enterprises don't need to grow bigger to survive. They can focus on getting better instead."

A book for our time
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9883c9d8) out of 5 stars Worth reading for any established or aspiring entrepreneur 10 Nov. 2008
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Any library strong in business books will find this a key acquisition, coming from an author whose career is serving as an advisor to entrepreneurs, studying those successful at starting and building 'natural enterprises'. Responsible, sustainable and joyful work is where passions and purpose blend, and FINDING THE SWEET SPOT tells how to find such work, offering six steps to finding the right partners and acting responsibly in the business environment.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x98525a50) out of 5 stars Business Coach Says, "Required Reading for Social Ventures" 16 Jun. 2014
By James R. Newcomer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a business coach focusing on social ventures, I give this book to every client who is starting out. Dave's observations and recommendations are fundamental and wise for any entrepreneur. And his writing is beautiful, so that the book keeps urging the reader on to read more, discover more, learn more. I order them 5 at a time so I always have one or two on hand.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a52b738) out of 5 stars Actionable - if you are not a spoon-fed twit 24 May 2010
By J. H. S. Roodt - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I read this book with increasing urgency. The reality is that I need to find my "sweet spot" and spend time enjoying what I am doing. Walking away from plan A is never simple and this book helps you to organise your thoughts and to clearly see what could work. It will not spoonfeed you into a new sense of security, it will ask that you work and check perceptions about yourself. Unless you can do that, stay in your current job, or keep on hunting. If you are thinking about going "solo", read this book and find the collaborators that will be your network to success, think about what you want and then design from there. This is a template (but not a simple one) to help you set up a collaborative network and to understand where you would fit in.
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