When I first picked up Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, I was a little thrown off. After all, when is the last time you picked up a self-help book with an F-bomb on the cover?
There is nothing subtle about Mark Manson and about this book.
Mark Manson is crude, vulgar and doesn’t give a f*ck. But like anything of true value in life, dig a little deeper and you will find treasure worthy of any explorer willing to look below the surface.
I’m still a traditionalist and for me swearing is not cool. I know people who swear think they are smart or think they belong to some exclusive elite group of geniuses, but I think you can still be smart, well-groomed and polished about things without swearing.
Anyway, at its core, the book is about finding what’s truly important to you and letting go of everything else.
In the same way that he encourages limiting exposure to mindless distractions such as social media, television and technology, he encourages limiting concern over things that have little to no meaning or value in your life.
By flipping our conventional definitions of success, happiness, growth, and truth on their heads, Manson’s manifesto forces us to reexamine what’s really important in our lives.
This read is a surprisingly fresh and honest perspective on discovering what we value, finding courage in the face of fear, and embracing our faults as opportunity for change.
Manson begins with an explanation of the book’s namesake:
“There is a subtle art to not giving a fuck. And though the concept may sound ridiculous and I may sound like an asshole, what I’m talking about here is essentially learning how to focus and prioritize your thoughts effectively- how to pick and choose what matters to you and what does not matter to you based on finely honed personal values”.
In the era of social media, people spend too much time worrying about unimportant things – their numbers of likes ranks very high on the list of priorities.
Users become very self-conscious and start worrying over imperfections.
The urge to seek greatness, success and fame has driven more than one insane.
What Mark is saying is basically, stop stressing about such things and focus on things that truly matters.
Except the vulgar, the book has some good thought-provoking ideas.
The book’s subtitle is ‘A counterintuitive approach to living a good life’. This is what the book is about or at least a part of it.
The message is same or similar as other self-help books, but conveyed through reverse psychology.
It does not stop you from giving a f*ck, but just deciding what f*cks you want to give. That is the one integral message written across the pages.
Choose your battles carefully and care less about everything else.
The last chapter is my favourite chapter though. The way Mark has described his visit to Cape of Good Hope is a pleasure to read. I felt as if it was me taking those steps towards the cliff and sit on that cliff. The message was same. There is a difference between being alive and living life; and the choice is ours to make.
A good read, if nothing else then just the last chapter.
- “We’re apes. We think we’re all sophisticated with our toaster ovens and designer footwear, but we’re just a bunch of finely ornamented apes.”
“Unhealthy love is based on two people trying to escape their problems through their emotions for each other—in other words, they’re using each other as an escape. Healthy love is based on two people acknowledging and addressing their own problems with each other’s support.”
- “Don’t just sit there. Do something. The answers will follow.”
- “Life is essentially an endless series of problems. The solution to one problem is merely the creation of another.”
“To be happy we need something to solve. Happiness is therefore a form of action;”
- “Travel is a fantastic self-development tool, because it extricates you from the values of your culture and shows you that another society can live with entirely different values and still function and not hate themselves. This exposure to different cultural values and metrics then forces you to reexamine what seems obvious in your own life and to consider that perhaps it’s not necessarily the best way to live.”
“Don’t hope for a life without problems,” the panda said. “There’s no such thing. Instead, hope for a life full of good problems.”
- “If you’re stuck on a problem, don’t sit there and think about it; just start working on it. Even if you don’t know what you’re doing, the simple act of working on it will eventually cause the right ideas to show up in your head.”