[Bloom's] approach to writing is resolutely unwriterly and unacademic—that’s to say, he writes as if speaking, which brings a welcome immediacy to his explorations ... these explorations, richly substantiated, are punctuated by allusions not only to Daniel Kahneman and Robert Nozick, but also to The Matrix and Pokémon Go. Avengers: Endgame rubs shoulders with Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, and the effect, simultaneously authoritative and chummy, is engaging.
[Bloom's] resources are both eclectic and intellectually stimulating ... Bloom himself has an impressive range of interests, and he's unafraid to explore discrete questions that surround his central theme. These include quirky ones, like why some people enjoy horror movies or explaining the lure of BDSM, and more profound ones, like what effect having children has on one's sense of life's meaning or whether unchosen suffering makes us more resilient. The Sweet Spot is certain both to spark reflection and not a few vigorous rebuttals. Regardless of where one lands on its central themes, it's consistently provocative, thoughtful and often sheer fun to read.
The Sweet Spot is in many ways a case for rational suffering, a guide to making life better through the measured incorporation of pain ... [C.S.] Lewis, like many religious thinkers, takes for granted that suffering is unavoidable, the price of entry into the human condition. Bloom acknowledges as much, too, albeit somewhat late in his book ... But the term 'unchosen suffering'—which, as far as I can tell, is synonymous with what for centuries we have simply called 'suffering'—suggests an exception to the rule. If there is a sweet spot between those who suffer too much and those who don’t suffer enough, his imagined audience seems to consist primarily of the latter. In truth, the line between chosen and unchosen pain is not always clear.