The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
After hearing so much about this book, I decided to finally pick it up and see what all the fuzz was about. I see myself as somewhat of a modern stoic, but above all a humanist, and I already had a hunch that his book would contain tips for a somewhat like a stoic approach to life.
One of the things that bothered me a lot at the start of this book was the amount of senseless swearing. Sure, the title should be somewhat of a giveaway that the book will contain some swearing. But this was starting to put me off, but a couple of chapters in this became less and less, thankfully. I’m not sure if I would have bothered finishing it otherwise, because I don’t believe swearing to make a point will make it more valid.
“The desire for more positive experience is itself a negative experience. And, paradoxically, the acceptance of one’s negative experience is itself a positive experience.” – Page 9
Mark Manson tells us how his life was and how he changed, based on several life changing experiences. Like most young people, he was escaping his problems by trying to achieve the next high, but ultimately found that this lifestyle was not a very fulfilling one. He then tells us what he did to make a change to his life for the better.
I really love reading some good non-fiction books, but I also feel that whenever someone makes certain statements, I want proof of their claims. What I did miss in this book was a reference to Mark’s research material, but the longer I kept reading, the less I felt this was necessary, because this book isn’t scientific in many senses, it’s more of a philosophical book and that’s how I started treating it from then on.
The book is a good read and many things that are said make sense. Especially the last parts about relationships and always doubting if you’re right were really good. It really is a very stoic approach to life. You’re not responsible for what others do, but you are responsible for your reaction to what they do. Being less certain about yourself can be a very good thing, and these are some questions you should always ask yourself:
1. What if I’m wrong?
2. What would it mean if I’m wrong?
3. Would being wrong create a better or worse problem than my current problem, for both myself and others?
Sometimes it’s just better to admit you’re wrong. But this ties in nicely to my skeptical approach to almost everything in life.
The last chapter, about the acceptance of death is also something the old stoics kept repeating. The parts about leaving your mark, so called “immortality projects”. We have a tendency that we need to be better than average, that we should be exceptional, so that when we die we’ll leave this massive legacy and people will continue talking about us through the ages. What Mark really tries to say in this book is to just let go of most of these things. Stop caring about stuff that doesn’t matter, and start caring about things that do matter.
My assumptions about the book were mostly correct; that this book is a modern stoic approach to life, but I did gain a few new insights and this book has given me the courage to confront some of the problems I’ve been having lately. Life is too short to bother with giving fucks to things that don’t matter.
“Don’t just sit there. Do something. The answers will follow.”
Cover art: 🌟
Paper smell: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Jeffrey, You did an excellent review here of a book with worthy life considerations. I can see why a serious person such as you would be drawn to it as am I. But I will have to settle on reading your review. I’m having enough trouble trying to recuperate from the move & unpacking/setting up the new place & finding time to read. I have started Chapter 1, “The Xoron Redemption,” but have no built in daily time to read more than my periodicals. At least I have you book & there is hope! Phil
Hi Phil, moving is always an arduous task, so I understand it completely that you need to recuperate from it! In time you will probably find the time to read again. This book is good, and I would definitely recommend it to you, as a fellow non-fiction enthousiast! All the best to you and Geri of course! – Jeffrey
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