Topics: literature

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck [review]

I feel like a grew up a little more after reading Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. And in a good way. Mark’s latest work is all about getting people to think with more clarity about what we’re choosing to find important in life and what we aren’t. Some would call this basic maturity, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t grasp it. Hell, I know I could do a better job of it.

But before this title is thrown into a heap along with the other billion self-development books out there, let me say that it’s a bit different. It’s not a magical guide to live life better or cure you of anything, and Manson is careful to tell you that upfront. But it could help turn some of your life’s problems into better ones.

subtle-art-of-not-giving-a-fuck

While there is no surefire path to do that, it’s refreshing how Manson readily admits that humans have always made mistakes about what they claim to be true. As a human, he reminds us that he could be wrong about some of counterintuitive approach in this book. I trust him even more for admitting this.

Here are a few takeaways from the book I found worth mentioning:

On having a limited amount of fucks to give – Core to Manson’s book is that as much as it may be praised, there’s no one that doesn’t give a fuck about anything. With that being said, humans have a limited amount of fucks to give without going completely insane or giving up. It would be wise to consider what we want to spend our time and energy on.

On the pursuit of pleasure –  While there is no one cause, a lot of modern life has us in the constant pursuit of pleasure, almost to the point where we don’t think we should ever face any discomfort. While we may think we want a perfect life, Manson makes the case that happiness comes from solving our problems. Besides, you are never going to be able to dodge all of life’s problems. A better course of action may be to spend sometime figuring out what pain you want in your life and what is worth struggling for. It’s the struggle that defines our character.

On values – It’s possible to have shitty values, or to use a euphemism, values that don’t serve you. Manson mentions that we may want to carefully consider (and question) what we value, even if it’s something you feel like is universally accepted as good.

By the time I finished this book, I had pages and pages of material highlighted to revisit and I certainly can’t cover that all now. But if you enjoy brash commentary, humor, and thought-provoking conversation, I recommend you take a chance on this title. I’ll leave you with a quote from the book that may be the perfect example:

“To not give a fuck is to stare down life’s most terrifying and difficult challenges and still take action. While not giving a fuck may seem simple on the surface, it’s a whole new bag of burritos under the hood. I don’t even know what that sentence means, but I don’t give a fuck. A bag of burritos sounds awesome, so let’s just go with it.”

Buy it: Amazon | Barnes & NobleIndiebound

Create Now! [review]

If you find yourself experiencing creative block, Create Now! A Systematic Guide to Artistic Audacity, may be the jolt you need to get back into the flow.

Create-Now-Marlo-Johnson

Meant as a resource you can keep going back to, Marlo Johnson’s handbook guides readers through the stages of setting an intention, creating, sharing work and receiving payment. It does this by asking multiple choice questions that help uncover why one may be procrastinating or building other barriers. If you’re wondering how much of a time investment this book is, the answer is not much. I read the entire thing on my 45 minute commute.

What I like about this guide is that it’s forgiving and not more of the tired work harder bullshit advice. It acknowledges that you need to take care of physical, mental and emotional needs to create to your potential and doesn’t make you feel bad for being the imperfect humans we all are. It doesn’t kick you down for having negative emotions or doubting your skills and wants to help you move past that.

The other thing that lends this guide some credibility is it’s coming directly from a creative coach with the experience and empathy for the challenges people face in creating. I’ll be testing out the process on a project that I’ve been longing to get started with. If you’d like to take plunge with me, here’s where you can find the book.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Chronicle BooksIndiebound

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Art Before Breakfast [review]

I just finished up Art Before Breakfast from Danny Gregory. It’s real talk about making time to be creative, no matter how busy you think you are and why it can make a huge difference in your life. The book is focused on building a drawing ritual, sharing strategies on how to get started and what to draw, from your breakfast, to airport travelers and parts of your own body.

art-before-breakfast

Aside from an idea bank that’s sure to hold something you’ll actually try, I enjoyed the sections on art with a capital A versus art with a lowercase a (hint: little a will set you free) and firing your inner critic (because who doesn’t need those reminders from time to time). But I suppose the most important thing is this book actually inspired me to draw.

That’s a big deal because I have always shied away from it. My skills are severely lacking, but after one mediocre session, I came away feeling alive. I’ve made it a point to keep going (just 10 minutes a day) and remind myself that when you suck at something, the learning curve is pretty exciting because you get better really quickly without pouring every ounce of energy into what you’re doing. Although it took a while for this book to win me over and break out the sketchbook, I can recommend this for anyone needing a little nudge, or as a thoughtful gift. The lessons within can be applied to much more than drawing and they should be, whether you want to improve your writing, instrumental prowess or design skills.

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