The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck: A book review

WARNING: This book review contains coarse language.

Book Review: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck: A Counter-Intuitive Approach To Living A Good Life by Mark Manson.

Rating: 8 out of 10
Readability: 10 out of 10
Recommended:  YES


Well, that book title certainly got my attention.  I purchased the book a few weeks back in the book store.  Apparently, said title got the attention of at least 3 million other readers as well. 

Thankfully, this was not a controversial eye-catching title let down by a lousy manuscript.  It's actually a very thoughtful and helpful book.  

You just have to get past the fact that the author uses the word "fuck"-- A lot! 

The easiest translation here is that "Giving a Fuck", and only having "so many fucks to give" all relate to choosing what you care about, and choosing what you pay attention to.  There is only so much energy you can devote.

The penultimate theme: be careful what you care about, be careful what you value, and (hu)man up, accept responsibility for your situation and in the process become  empowered to change it, and live a good life.

WOW, that was a mouthful.  Fuck!  (sorry, I just had to say that LOL)

Now, I purchased this book because I was hoping it would teach me how to care less.  I care so much about other people in my life that it causes pain, strife, and agony for me.  If you are in the same boat, let me save you the suspense -- the book does not teach you how to care less (aka not give a fuck).

What the book did teach me is to become more discerning.  It encouraged me to define my values, and then live my life according to those values.  It was somewhat successful in that regard.

I believe that this book, ironically, teaches you to care more!!  Care more, and be more careful what you care about.

This book has a refreshing viewpoint on our emotions and how highly overrated they are.  Manson tells us that we need to get over ourselves.  We are not special.  We are not all going to have resounding success. He further states that those who achieve resounding success are usually fucked up in other ways in their lives.

Strangely enough, it is a self-help book that criticizes some key practices in the self-help industry -- particularly affirmations.  The inclusion of these criticisms, quite frankly, seems out of place in this book.  To me, it seemed as though he was taking a cheap shot at people who do affirmations and/or recommend them.

The author postulates that no matter your station in life, no matter how good you have it (or bad), you will always suffer.  Suffering is a drive in our lives.  If we answer this drive, we simply move up the escalator to have better problems do deal with.

Manson also postulates that happiness is the reward for solving a problem in life.  It is the positive climax.  Continue solving problems and you get rewarded with better problems to solve, thereby improving the quality of your life.

The pain, struggle and suffering you are willing to take on determines your rewards in life.

An example: If you want a great physique, you have to be willing to eat right consistently, and work out at the gym (again, consistently).  That may mean waking up at 5 am, and giving up alcohol and potato chips.  The reward is feeling good about how you look, and turning heads (and perhaps a YouTube channel on fitness).  If you want to look shredded, you have to follow an even stricter diet and exercise regime.  

I really like the format of the book.

Manson starts off many of his chapters with stories about certain obscure people in history.  He uses the story to drive home the point he is trying to make.  He then analyzes and supports his point.  This makes for an easier read that keeps the reader's attention.  In subsequent chapters, these characters are often referred to again to reinforce and remind us of previous points and how they relate to the next point he is making.


In summary, this book is a good read, despite the title.  Manson makes some very valid points for one to consider in hopes of living a good life.  Adopt some values, make your choices based on those values, take responsibility for your circumstances and by doing so, you will live a good life.

Despite his cheap shots at the power of affirmations, Mark Manson's book echos the values of Defying Depression with respect to the power of accepting responsibility for your situation.  

I recommend this book.




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