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.
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.”