Sunday, March 18, 2018

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


I picked up this book because I know myself to be easily outraged and constantly feeling anxious or indignant. That is, I give too many f*cks about too many things. I really hoped to learn something about how to care a little less about things in general.

To be clear, the book isn't really about not giving any f*cks about anything. Rather, the author's mission is to lead you to understand that the real issue is about having the right priorities and values so you can make good life decisions and reserve your f*cks for the things that really matter. Using both his own life and the lives of interesting historical and public figures as examples, the author shows us what values will best lead us towards happiness and fulfillment.

Here are a few lines with which I really identified:

Page 13-14: "[W]hen you give too many f*cks... you will feel that you're perpetually entitled to feel comfortable and happy at all times, that everything is supposed to be just exactly the f*cking way you want it. This is a sickness. And it will eat you alive."

Page 31-32: "Happiness comes from solving problems... The secret sauce is in the solving of the problems, not in the not having problems in the first place... True happiness occurs only when you find the problems you enjoy having and enjoy solving."

Page 117: "We shouldn't seek to find the ultimate "right" answer for ourselves, but rather, we should seek to chip away at the ways that we're wrong today so that we can be a little less wrong tomorrow."

The author pulls together concepts from many sources; he admits that a lot of his ideas aren't original, and he gives credit where credit is due. He then distills these ideas into an overall philosophy that is relatable, approachable, and seemingly implementable. I have to admit, his perspective makes sense. He doesn't actually provide specific instructions on how exactly to give fewer f*cks, but he does present a bigger picture, which, if you buy into it, should naturally lead you to only give a f*ck about things that really matter.

Given the title, it's no surprise that the language in this book can get pretty vulgar. I'm usually not one to use profanity myself, so it was something I just had to accept. It was sometimes a little jarring, though, because the author might go on for several paragraphs, or even pages, using perfectly appropriate language, and then right when he's in the middle of explaining a profound insight, he'll throw in some profanity.