RELEASED: September 13, 2016
GENRE: Non-fiction, Self-help, Psychology
GOODREADS RATING: 4.00
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.
I usually don’t read non-fiction at all, but once in a while you stumble upon a book that sounds too interesting not to give it a shot. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is one of those books. I have to admit: At first, I wasn’t all to sure about reviewing this book because the things you pick up, the things you learn and want to put to use are personal and will differ for every single person reading the book. In the end, though, I wanted to share and maybe convince others to read it as well. Which is why this review exists.
Do realize this isn’t going to be a normal review. There isn’t anything good or bad about this book, simply because it’s Mark Manson’s own opinions, thoughts and stories. There are things I agree with, other things I can’t find myself in at all and that’s okay. What I am going to do, however, is share what stuck with me and what I’m going to try to put to use in my life from now on.
Will it be easy? No. But is it simple? Yes. That immediately describes one of the things Manson writes about.
Happiness is measured through our accomplishments, our good experiences, the things we value. It’s those values that should change. A lot of us measure happiness by looking at how much money we have, how many books we can buy, what kind of trips / holidays we can go on, what kind of job we have or want to have but those aren’t the right ones. Changing our values has a huge impact on the way we see and measure happiness.
Another one? Fault versus responsibility. That one stuck with me in a giant way since it’s so easy for people to blame others for things going wrong and, as such, not taking responsibility for their own feelings. Manson talks about how taking responsibility for things doesn’t equal taking the blame. You can’t help it that person X did that, but you can help how you react to it and what you do with it.
Except for the actual messages and lessons Manson tries talking about, I also liked the way he went about it. He gave examples from his own life, which made this book feel more personal and honest in a way, but also compared some of his convictions to historical events / stories. The combination of these things made for an interesting read and added a lighter touch, which was very much-needed when certain subjects were broached.
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.
Sure, I can see how some of you might be going “aren’t all these things obvious?” and, sure, they are. But the way Manson talks about and describes them in his book, is a way that really got to me and made me realize that even though I already tried certain things, there are other or more ways to go about it.
Have you read this book? What did you think?
Are you contemplating reading it? Why / why not?