The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life
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New York Times Bestseller
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, s**t 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.
A good start
Emerson supposedly told Whitman something like "I write to you at the start of a great career." I'm no Emerson, and this book isn't poetry, but Manson is singing a song of himself and it's built on a legitimate foundation: decide what's important, and exclude all the crap. He makes a strong case for taking care of the stuff that is really within our circle of influence. It's very stoic in that sense, and corresponds to what other writers of his age and energy have been saying lately. I'm thinking of Ryan Holiday and Tim Ferris. This book is much better than Ferris's.
But there's something missing, that Ferris missed. And I don't think either man could really have done this at their age. Manson is well read, and travelled, but in his early 30s still, he hasn't really had the time to apply his enlightenment to life to much of an extent. He's aware of the futility of chasing tail and partying nonstop, and it sounds like he's pointed in the right direction, having settled and married. But he hasn't done much of the wood shedding, and while I see signs that he'll make a great dad, his writing and storytelling is missing something that I think only comes around middle age. I wrote in my review of Ferris's book on audible.com that I look forward to reading the book he writes when he's 60. I feel the same about Manson.
Also, Manson mentions only in passing his relatively privileged roots. It would be something if he looked more closely at that, and the role money and education play in reaching the realizations he does. What about those who need to think about eating each day? How did privilege hinder his inner work? In all, a good book. I have high expectations for his next.
What a great read. Manson takes you through all the steps you need to get on an even keel and get some perspective on life.
Do yourself a favor and read it.
Total life changer
Mark Manson's work has been totally life changing. I discovered him by just expanding my horizons. I laughed at the title of this book. Something clicked with the preview. So, I bought the book and started to read. I'm happy that I was able to enjoy his work and I'm sure you will also. Mark, if you are reading this thank you for a lot.