The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck Book Review

the subtle art of not giving a f*ck
the subtle art of not giving a f*ck

Daily Blog #302

Another one down, and now it’s time to move onto the next. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy reading The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson, but it wasn’t quite what I was expecting based on all of the good things that I have heard about it. The second half of the book was absolutely phenomenal, but who likes reading 100 pages if you aren’t going to enjoy it fully!

The bad:

One of the things that I found disappointing right off the bat was the use of profanity. It’s not that I mind the use of profanity, in fact, I swear like a sailor. But the fact that there was a swear word in every sentence, well that got a little excessive even for someone like myself. On numerous occasions, it seemed like profane words were used just for the sake of using them.

Now I know that Mark Manson doesn’t give a f*ck what I think about his writing (see what I did there), but there were also a few other things that I disagreed with in the book. For starters, Manson had stated that “fixating on the positive only serves to remind us of what we are not, of what we lack, of what we should have been but failed to be.”

I don’t see a fixation as a way of saying that we aren’t enough. I see fixation the same way I see dedication. When we are dedicated to something, we become fixated on it because it means a significant amount to us. It doesn’t always mean that we are looking for something that we lack. It could also mean that we are wanting to hold on to something that we already have, and something that we see of value.

Another part of the book that I disagree with is when Manson says that we aren’t meant to be special, and we shouldn’t try to be extraordinary. Well, if we aren’t meant to be special, or if we shouldn’t try to be the extraordinary person that we are meant to be, then what would separate us from the person sitting next to us? What would life be worth living if we weren’t meant to be extraordinary or special?

Again, just because I disagree with Manson doesn’t mean that I am right and he is wrong, or that he is right and I am wrong. It just means that we have different beliefs. I respect his thought process and his beliefs, but that doesn’t mean that I have to agree with them.

The good:

Now onto the fun part. If you made it through the first 100 or so pages, then prepare to be wowed. The second half of the book had the complete opposite effect on me than the first half. I loved it, and I simply couldn’t get enough of it.

To start, I found that despite our different opinions through the first half of the book, Manson and I do share similar beliefs. The main belief – everything is on you. How much suffering you are willing to put yourself through in order to achieve your goals, how much failure are you willing to experience to get a taste of success, and the fact that you need to take responsibility for the things that happen to you in life.

No matter what happens to you in your life, you are ultimately responsible. This doesn’t mean that you are at fault for the things that have happened to you, but you are responsible for how you perceive these situations, and how you allow these situations to impact you moving forward.

An example that Manson gives is when his parents were going through a divorce, and he was constantly getting in trouble at school.  He used the excuse of his parents’ divorce as the reasoning for why he was lashing out. A decade later, he was traveling the world, sleeping with as many women as he could lay his eyes on, and found little value in his life.

But while he would never be able to change the fact that his parents were getting a divorce, he realized that only he had the ability to change his perception on life, and only he would be able to achieve the things that he wanted to accomplish. And it wasn’t just his parents’ divorce that made him realize this. It was also when he was at a party following his usual habits, and his friend jumped off a cliff to his death. From that day on, Manson realized that there was more to life than chasing superficial beliefs.

Lastly, the art of not giving a f*ck truly will change your life. This doesn’t mean that you don’t give a f*ck about anything, but that you choose what to give a f*ck about. If you want to live the life that you envision yourself living, you need to be willing to choose the things that you give your attention to. Is getting mad at others going to make you more productive? Is taking your anger out on inanimate objects going to make you feel better in the long run?While they might feel good at the time, they are most likely not going to provide any benefit to you later on in life.

Instead of being pushed by the opinions and beliefs of others, be pushed by the opinions and beliefs of yourself. Learn to control your emotions, and direct that energy towards things that are going to provide greater amounts of value to your life. This is something that Manson talks about, and I believe it is something that everyone needs to do a better job of living by.

Overall opinion:

I said it before, and I will say it again. If you can get past the first third to half of this book, the rest of it truly is eye-opening. Not only does the reader get quality insight on how to effectively change their life, but the reader is also provided with real-life examples from Manson himself that makes it a lot easier to relate to, and a lot easier to realize that the reader and only the reader is in control of their own life.

Concluding thoughts:

It’s clear that life is full of many problems. And while we are going to experience problems, we shouldn’t run from them, because it is those problems that push us to be better each and every day. We don’t need to live a perfect life and we don’t need to be someone we aren’t. We just need to be the person that you were born to be and to live the best life that we can live each and every day. That is something that Manson indirectly talks about, and it is because of that same reasoning why I may actually consider reading this book again (only the second half).

Michael Bonnell



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