The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
by Mark Manson
Summary:#1 New York Times Bestseller . Over 1 million copies sold
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.
Source: I purchased a Kindle copy
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I really needed this book.
I’ve been trying to embrace positivity and I am always looking to improve, but I’m highly skeptical to most things people say. I tend to scoff at most mindless nonsense disguised as self help and motivational advice because I find it to be fake and ridiculous, but I’m also somewhat open to things I find to be genuine.
A lot of people who did not like The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck accuse the author of spouting nonsense about things he doesn’t understand because he’s never had any true tragedy strike him and he comes from a place of privilege. Maybe they are right, but I really thought the book was genuine for the most part and full of hard truths we all kind of already know with the right amount of humor to make it enjoyable.
Life sucks and our desire to always be happy and positive is both great and terrible in the grand scheme of things. Overcoming adversity has always and will always feel better to us than living in paradise day in and day out. It’s why kids who never want for anything become entitled brats. We already know that. It was just kind of nice to read a reminder that we are flawed as people and the culture of happiness chasing and social media and endless comparisons are ruining us.
This isn’t really self help I’d recommend to someone who faces tragedy or a great stressful moment who needs real advice, but for the rest of us who just want something refreshing instead of cursive Live Your Best Life tee shirts, it’s a fun read. It’s full of the kind of stuff we already know, but need to hear sometimes because the “be happy” yoga mat, coffee cup, messy bun, my-life-is-perfect Instagram selfies are endless.
We accept what we think we deserve, we let others be blamed for things we need to accept responsibility for, we are the only ones that can really make ourselves feel inferior, and we shouldn’t act like happy robots or victims of circumstance 24-7. Stop giving a f*ck about things that don’t matter.
This book was full of some helpful things I will keep in mind.
We joke online about “first-world problems,” but we really have become victims of our own success. Stress-related health issues, anxiety disorders, and cases of depression have skyrocketed over the past thirty years, despite the fact that everyone has a flat-screen TV and can have their groceries delivered.
Because when you give too many fucks—when you give a fuck about everyone and everything—you will feel that you’re perpetually entitled to be comfortable and happy at all times, that everything is supposed to be just exactly the fucking way you want it to be. This is a sickness. And it will eat you alive.
Because when we believe that it’s not okay for things to suck sometimes, then we unconsciously start blaming ourselves. We start to feel as though something is inherently wrong with us, which drives us to all sorts of overcompensation, like buying forty pairs of shoes or downing Xanax with a vodka chaser on a Tuesday night…
In some cases, experiencing emotional or psychological pain can be healthy or necessary. Just like stubbing our toe teaches us to walk into fewer tables, the emotional pain of rejection or failure teaches us how to avoid making the same mistakes in the future.
When we feel that we’re choosing our problems, we feel empowered. When we feel that our problems are being forced upon us against our will, we feel victimized and miserable.
The biggest problem with victimhood chic is that it sucks attention away from actual victims. It’s like the boy who cried wolf. The more people there are who proclaim themselves victims over tiny infractions, the harder it becomes to see who the real victims actually are.
Bukowski once wrote, “We’re all going to die, all of us. What a circus! That alone should make us love each other, but it doesn’t. We are terrorized and flattened by life’s trivialities; we are eaten up by nothing.”