Usual disclaimer: This post will contain foul language, and I’m assuming that if you’re put off by that kind of thing, you quit reading when you saw the text on the book cover. The rest of you, since you’ve kept reading, fuck yeah! Let’s do this. Read this book. You’ll love it. Mark Manson is one of the smartest people on the internet, one of the few writers who reliably floors me and fascinates me. There are other books about learning how not to give a fuck, but The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life is a book of a higher order. Original thoughts FTW.
BTW: For at least a year, I thought ‘FTW’ meant “Fuck The World” rather than “For The Win.” I’d keep reading statements like “Nachos FTW!” And I’d be like, “Well, it can’t be all that bad, at least you have nachos.” That’s what happens when you put fucks where they don’t belong.
Where do I even start with this book? It’s full of truth bombs, for one thing. If you can read it unflinchingly and recognize yourself in even one chapter, if you can say, Ah, yes, so this is the name for my problem, then you can walk away with total freedom. Another interesting thing is that, for a book with so much cursing, drugs, sex, nihilism, and poor choices, it has a secret upbeat message, like the core of a Tootsie Pop, except that the lollipop is glass and you don’t get the candy until the middle.
Stop caring about stuff. Accept your flaws. Admit it when you’re being selfish. Life is pain and most goals won’t get us what we really want.
I often measure my interest in a book by how many pages I’ve bookmarked. I counted, and I averaged one every two pages for The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. I can’t not give a fuck about this book! It’s so quotable. There could/should be a cottage industry of Mark Manson shirts and coffee mugs. (I checked and I’m not coming up with anything, except that apparently a few people have searched on ‘Mark Manson shirtless.’) This could be because Manson is a confirmed minimalist. The thought of one’s personal philosophy generating a bunch of clutter is sort of crazy-making, like marketing Happy Meal toys from the movie Wall-E.
“Practical enlightenment” is the message. It’s easy to take because Manson makes it so funny, provocative, and totally compelling. He walks us through the process of choosing our values and setting boundaries. He clarifies some of the most confounding problems of philosophy, such as how to find meaning in suffering and whether we are responsible for everything that happens to us. This is a topic that tends to lead to a lot of wrong thoughts, and I found Manson’s take to be refreshingly mature and nuanced. More like this, please.
I highly endorse this book and I wish I’d written it. Instead, I’ve made this little drawing of Disappointment Panda as a tribute to Mark Manson.
Some favorite quotes, but not all of them, because SPOILERS:
“…negative emotions are a call to action.”
“…the more uncomfortable the answer, the more likely it is to be true.”
“With great responsibility comes great power.”
“…there is little that is unique or special about your problems.”
I've been working with chronic disorganization, squalor, and hoarding for over 20 years. I'm also a marathon runner who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and thyroid disease 17 years ago.