Book Review: THE SUBTLE ART OF NOT GIVING A F*CK | MARK MANSON

Book Review: THE SUBTLE ART OF NOT GIVING A F*CK | MARK MANSON

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The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson
Published by Harper on September 13, 2016
Pages: 224
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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, Mason 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.

five-stars

Bottom Line, Up Front

I found The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson to be brutally honest, yet hilarious. I thoroughly enjoyed the fresh take on the self-help genre. Instead of telling people they are special and talented, Manson argues that people need to be honest with themselves and be responsible for how they react to the things that happen in their lives. One of my favorite bits in the book is how we are responsible for everything in our lives. Maybe we don’t always have control of what happens to us, but we do control how we interpret and respond to it. I also enjoyed the numerous references to HBO’s The Wire.

It took me a while to read this. Not because it wasn’t interesting, but because it led to some uncomfortable realizations. More than once I was like “holy schnikes! He’s describing me!” I will need to go back through all the passages I annotated and reflect on some things. If you looking for a different type of self-help book, I highly recommend The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck.

Yeah, But What’s the Writing Like?

Manson is an excellent writer, and it shows in ‘Subtle Art’. His style is engaging, and funny, but very straight forward. He’s not going to sugar coat the fact that you may not be as talented and deserving of special things as you think you are, just because some inspirational teacher told you that you can be anything you want to be. That is false. I want to be a wizard, and yet that’s never gonna happen. Manson also weaves in funny anecdotes about people in his life who demonstrate the actions he’s currently discussing. No one is left unscathed. 

Quotes/Favorite Parts

“The key to a good life is… giving a fuck about only what is true and immediate and important.”

“If you feel crappy, its because your brain is telling you that there’s a problem that’s unaddressed or unresolved.”

What are some of your favorite humorous self-help books that I should add to my TBR?

Cat Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

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