Book Review: The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck by Mark Manson.

Have you ever gotten uncensored advice from your older brother, who is also a therapist who gives little or no ef’s about your feelings? Yeah, me neither. But this book mirrors what that experience might feel like.

Mark Manson is so brutal and honest! He throws at you concepts that will challenge your entire thought process.

While I do not agree with everything he said, the greater part of his words helped me wake the f*ck up.

Warning: If you find cuss words offensive, you should probably stop reading now.

Photo by Udoh Christiana

In this generation-defining self-help guide, a superstar blogger cuts through the crap to show us how to stop trying to be “positive” all the time so that we can truly become better, happier people.

For decades, we’ve been told that positive thinking is the key to a happy, rich life. “F**k positivity,” Mark Manson says. “Let’s be honest, shit is f**ked and we have to live with it.” In his wildly popular Internet blog, Manson doesn’t sugarcoat or equivocate. He tells it like it is—a dose of raw, refreshing, honest truth that is sorely lacking today. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is his antidote to the coddling, let’s-all-feel-good mindset that has infected American society and spoiled a generation, rewarding them with gold medals just for showing up.

Manson makes the argument, backed both by academic research and well-timed poop jokes, that improving our lives hinges not on our ability to turn lemons into lemonade, but on learning to stomach lemons better. Human beings are flawed and limited—”not everybody can be extraordinary, there are winners and losers in society, and some of it is not fair or your fault.” Manson advises us to get to know our limitations and accept them. Once we embrace our fears, faults, and uncertainties, once we stop running and avoiding and start confronting painful truths, we can begin to find the courage, perseverance, honesty, responsibility, curiosity, and forgiveness we seek.

There are only so many things we can give a f**k about so we need to figure out which ones really matter, Manson makes clear. While money is nice, caring about what you do with your life is better, because true wealth is about experience. A much-needed grab-you-by-the-shoulders-and-look-you-in-the-eye moment of real-talk, filled with entertaining stories and profane, ruthless humor, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is a refreshing slap for a generation to help them lead contented, grounded lives.

—Publisher.

A Light Summary of The Main Lessons

  • Point A: Values, Priorities and F*cks-giving.

This book isn’t about not being concerned with anything. That would just make you a nonchalant jerk.
The aim of the book is to encourage you to direct the limited number of f*cks you have to the things that actually matter. To ask and answer these questions for yourself:

1. What are we choosing to give a fuck about?

2. What values are we choosing to base our actions on?

3. What metrics are we using to measure our life?

You are always choosing. Even not choosing anything is a choice.

The things you choose to care about will be determined by the values you hold dear; your values reflect in the things you care about. In a nutshell, “self improvement ” is about prioritizing better values; choosing better things to give a f*ck about.

By what standards do you measure your success in life?

The media has made a habit of flooding us with the best of the best. “Hottest summer bodies!” “Best Hairstyles of 2020.” “Billboard Hot 100.” “Click here to see people living totally awesome lives.” These things aren’t bad! God, no. But they shouldn’t be the yardstick for measuring success.

Praising exceptionalism as the new awesome, creates a feeling of inadequacy in people’s hearts. It paints being average as a crime, punishable by the law.

The truth is, we don’t all have to be extraordinary! Think about it—if everyone was extraordinary, doesn’t that mean the entire world would be ordinary?

You don’t need to invent a computer, to be awesome. You’re already awesome! The mere fact that you’re still getting out of bed everyday to take a chance on life is enough to make you feel great!

THE FIVE BENEFICIAL VALUES ONE SHOULD HAVE:

  1. Responsibility—taking responsibility for everything that happens in your life. This doesn’t mean anything that happens is your fault, but rather, you are in charge despite everything.
  2. Uncertainty—acknowledging your ignorance and cultivating a habit of doubting your beliefs.
  3. Failure—willingness to discover your flaws and mistakes, in order to improve upon them.
  4. Rejection—the ability to both say no and hear no. This is key in establishing good boundaries.
  5. Mortality—coming to terms with the fact that everybody dies in the end. Contemplating death helps people wake up to the beauty of life.
  • Point B: The Motivation Loop.

In this book, I found a solution to a problem I’ve had since the lockdown began in March—lack of motivation.

We see motivation as being a chain reaction, consisting of these steps:

Emotional inspiration => Motivation => Desirable action

Mark Manson says this is less a chain, and more an endless loop. When you lack motivation, you can begin with action. By simply doing something, anything at all, we begin to experience the joy and sense of fulfilment that comes with getting work done. This feeling provides us with motivation to do more. And so it continues.

  • Point C: Happiness Comes From Solving Problems

Mark uses the “backwards law” to explain why consciously chasing happiness creates anxiety.

Problems never end, today’s problems will lay a foundation for tomorrow’s problems.

Rather than trying to be happy by ignoring our problems, solving these problems will offer us the happiness we desperately seek.


There’s so much to this book! This post already feels long enough, so I’ll stop now.

5 Stars

You get hooked on this one immediately you pick it up. It’s not the kind of book that requires you to patiently wait for the author to arrive at the “point”. Mark gets down to business.

Enjoy!


Thank you for reading!

Have you read this book yet? What did you make of it? How would you rate it? What ideas challenged your belief the most?


Till next time…I love you and #StaySafe.

8 Comments

  1. Wow, you explained the book nicely. I have read the book about a month ago but this review refreshed all the contents of the book. I am really excited to see your next reviews and blogs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Khalil! 😃
      I’m truly pleased that I could help you relive such a beautiful book.

      I’m excited to bring you more reviews too. 🤗🤍 See you on the next one! 🤸🏽‍♀️🥰

      Like

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