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Author Biography


Articles & Reviews

Small: The Little We Need for Happiness

by Jane Anne Staw

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Known as someone who worried about every little thing, always anticipated the worst possible outcome, and generally allowed her thoughts to get far ahead of life's actual circumstance, author Jane Anne Staw was one day inspired to think small. Her inspiration led her to learn to pay attention to the unfolding moments of life without the burden of worrying about what might come next. Over time, thinking small developed into a central practice in Staw's life, and what followed was life-changing. In all facets of her life, she experienced a shift away from anger, depression, overwhelm, and loneliness to affection, calm, and connection. These short and insightful essays about some of life's most common occurrences are meditations and exercises in thinking small and discovering a life of profound contentment and wellbeing.

BODY, MIND & SPIRIT / Inspiration & Personal Growth
SELF-HELP / Personal Growth / Happiness

ISBN: 978-1-947067-14-1 (print; softcover; perfect bound)
ISBN: 978-1-947067-26-4 (digital)

LCCN: 2017962949

Released 2017

186 pages

Author Biography

Jane Anne Staw has taught at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop; Stanford University; for over twenty years at The University of California at Berkeley Extension, where she was named an Honored Instructor; and most recently, for twelve years, in the M.F.A. Program in Writing at the University of San Francisco. She serves on the Advisory Board of the University of California Extension Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Program in Writing. As well, she has been a Bay Area Writing Coach for the past fifteen years, working with writers on projects ranging from memoirs and historical fiction to novels, short stories, and essays. Her books include: Parsnips in the Snow: Talks with Midwestern Gardeners (with Mary Swander), University of Iowa Press, 1990; and Unstuck: A Supportive and Practical Guide to Working Through Writer’s Block, St. Martin’s, 2003.


"Into our super-sized world of 'more' comes this gem of a book inviting us to observe life through a different lens. Small shows the reader that the secret to feeling more alive is in slowing down enough to discover the subtleties of life all around us and within our hearts. Like looking at a drop of pond water under a microscope, Jane Anne Staw reminds us that by focusing with care and sensitivity a whole world of connection and miracles is revealed. Small helps us reclaim our sense of wonder and see each moment with fresh eyes. I love this book."
James Baraz, Awakening Joy: 10 Steps That Will Put You on the Road to Real Happiness

"In this age of shortened attention spans and slavish devotion to our iPhones, Facebook, and Twitter feeds, Jane Ann Staw has written a collection of lyrical essays that remind us of the importance of savoring the moment. Her meditations on the small beauties of life—the trill of the junko, the individual words in a poem, the struggles and triumphs of a single garden plant—are a guidebook of sorts on how to strip away the unnecessary to uncover the essential."
Frances Dinkelspiel, Tangled Vines, Greed, Murder, Obsession, and an Arsonist in the Vineyards of California

"With calm brilliance, Staw reminds us of the beauty always around us and helps us, by example, tune into the many facets of love in our lives. Different from other self-help books, Small is a portal that takes us wide and deep (within and without) into a borderless field of grace."
Susan Wooldridge, Poem Crazy: Freeing Your Life With Words

Articles and Reviews

Frances Dinkelspiel, "Berkeley author Jane Anne Staw writes about the pleasures and importance of thinking small," Berkeleyside, 1-30-2018.

"San Francisco Writer Discovers How Little She Needs for Happiness," 12-15-2017 [press release]


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