The Subtle Art

sketch of the book cover for The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck | Mark Manson

I’ve heard about this book for a while now, it was published in September 2016, but have shrugged off reading it. I was judging the book by its cover, or rather it’s title. In my mind, the title suggested a shallow and cliche premise; that you shouldn’t care (or give a fck) about what others’ thought.*

Despite my previous thoughts, I picked up the book on Amazon Prime Day. It was a relatively quick read at a little over 200 pages; I was able to finish the book in about 3 nights. After reading the book, I can say that I was completely wrong about its contents. The first chapter does go into detail about identifying your differences and being comfortable with them. But the rest of the book covers a whole lot more than that.

Basically this book describes Mr. Mason’s philosophy on life, which is closely tied to teachings of Zen Buddhism and Stoicism. The book is littered with clever examples and personal stories to illustrate his points. Most of these examples were familiar to me because of my extensive dive into his blog. However, the paragraphs between the examples are what make the book special. Without giving too much away, the book starts by explaining why values are important, then goes into Mr. Manson’s personal values.

One of the chapters that caused a shift in my thinking was the chapter titled Happiness is a Problem. I didn’t appreciate the double meaning of the chapter title until this reflection. Mr. Manson’s theory is wanting to be happy actually causes discomfort. What gives us joy is solving problems. So the way to a good life is to choose the problems you can live with. He gives an excellent example in physical fitness; if you want to have a great body, then you have to deal with the pain of putting in the hours at the gym, the day-after soreness, and sticking to a diet. There’s always going to be issues that come up in life but you get to choose which ones to give a f*ck about with your values.

Overall, I think this is a great “self-help” book that causes the reader to think about life differently. I got around the excessive use of expletives but replacing “giving a f*ck” with “caring” or “worrying”. But in the end, Mr. Manson is just following his advice and not giving a f*ck about the number of times f*ck is used in the book.

Tags: #books

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