Book Review: The Subtle Art of Not Giving A…

I kept seeing references to The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck everywhere. A blog I follow mentioned it, then another. Then FB posts started appearing, every one talking about Mark Manson’s ideas and suggestions.

The Basics (Courtesy of Harper Collins):

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 modern 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.

My Thoughts:

I actually considered buying this one before I saw the 12 plus dollar cost for an e-book. Um, no. So I got on the very long list at the library. Eventually the book came to me.

I ended up reading it almost entirely in one day. It was just the way the timing shook out. Some things got canceled and moved about so I had time to read. That in and of itself was a pleasure.

Manson was mostly preaching to the choir. So many things he went on about, the constant media onslaught to be extraordinary, the pressure that if you aren’t – you are lazy or a failure and a loser, the role the media plays in increasing school shootings…The idea that our emotions are a feedback to loop to look at what we value. You have to pick and choose what to spend your time, effort, and emotion on. Not new ideas.

We often like books, blogs, people who agree with us. So my saying I enjoyed this book, is not saying much. Manson is funny though. He’s also thought provoking. Emotional. Vulnerable in his openness about his own shortcomings.

If you’re easily offended by swearing, this is not the book for you.

But if you can overlook a potty mouth that wants to shock you into thinking…it’s an interesting read.

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