markmanson

Review: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson

Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is THE book right now. It’s this year’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up or The Little Book of Hygge – everyone wants to read it and be seen reading it. In short, the book is everywhere.

Which explains why – even though my library has 30 copies of the ebook – I waited 5 months for it. FIVE MONTHS PEOPLE.

Was it worth it?

Yes and no.

The first thing I’ll say is that if you’re going to read it, be aware that Manson uses the word f*ck (not the censored version) approximately 4000 times in the first chapter. If you’re like me and this kind of thing drives you batty, hang in there. It gets better, and in the rest of the book, f*ck is used somewhat sparingly.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way. I’m still sorta torn on how I feel about this one. On one hand, Manson has a lot of really solid advice or thought or whatever you want to call it. What he’s saying is pretty reasonable. Basically, there’s no need to care about everything, but make sure whatever you do care about is in line with your values. Oh, and have good values. And don’t strive for happiness because pursuing happiness only reinforces the idea that you’re dissatisfied and/or unhappy to begin with.

Did I just lose you?

That’s kinda how I felt reading Manson’s book. I’m no stranger to personal development books or theories; I read a fair amount of them, and have spent my fair share of time on a therapist’s couch. But even I had to stop over and over again to suss out what I’d just read. And that’s why I have such a hard time with this one. While Manson’s ideas are sound, they’re difficult to comprehend the way he’s written them. I actually think people would get a lot more out of hearing him speak about these ideas. Perhaps the audiobook version is better because of that very fact.

I didn’t hate it, and like I said, Manson has a lot of really solid stuff in here. Stuff that everyone would benefit from hearing or reading. My favorite quote from the book is one I’d like to shove under the world’s nose:

There is a simple realization from which all personal improvement and growth emerges. This is the realization that we, individually, are responsible for everything in our lives, no matter the external circumstances. 

PREACH, Mark Manson, preach.

What do you think? Will you give this one a try, or have you already read it?

Hardcover: 210 pages    Published: September 2016 by HarperOne    Source: Library via Overdrive

Buy it on Amazon

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck on Goodreads

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.

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2 comments

  1. Hmmm… I have a copy of this book. (I think I got it at BEA 2016.) I had thought I’d read it but yet I haven’t reached for it. I admittedly don’t read much self-help but I’ve seen some very enthusiastic reviews but still I’m like meh about investing the time in reading it. I appreciate your thoughtful and honest review.

    1. It’s a fairly quick read if nothing else. It wasn’t terrible, but there are definitely better examples of the genre!

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