According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Richard Carlson, author of Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff passed away last Wednesday (December 15, 2006) while on a flight from San Francisco to New York for a book tour. The author, 45, apparently had a heart attack.

Carlson was a popular motivational speaker, stress consultant and media figure dubbed one of the world’s foremost happiness experts. Associates on Friday recalled him as an unusually clear and giving teacher, listener and friend.

They said his work consisted of translating the essence of the world’s wisdom traditions into practical, easy-to-remember advice. He didn’t just tell people to be kind, patient and grateful; he showed them how to make those values a part of their daily lives.

Don’t answer the phone when you’re rushing out the door, Carlson advised. Give yourself, and others, a second chance. Don’t kill yourself over a mistake. Don’t finish other people’s sentences for them. Take a vacation, not a guilt trip. Your in box is not your life.

For Carlson, who practiced meditation but wasn’t a conspicuous religious seeker, the joy of living was in the positive relationships one could make.

The danger was in the tangle of one’s own thoughts.