The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson

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The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson

When this book came out, it got LOTS of attention. I saw it all over book lists and many fellow bloggers recommended it (both book bloggers and non-book bloggers). Andy and I have gifted the book to friends for birthdays and this past Christmas, being convinced by the reviews that gifting it would be a slam dunk.

It’s hard to summarize the “plot” or the “gist” of this book. The book is advertised as a self-help guide, but I found that it read more as an anecdotal memoir with tidbits of life advice. Manson both recommends “not giving a f**k”….and then also recommends “giving a f**k” about the things that matter. Sounds pretty good, right?

Here is a snippet from the Amazon summary of the book:

Manson makes the argument, backed both by academic research and well-timed poop jokes, that improving our lives hinges not on our ability to turn lemons into lemonade, but on learning to stomach lemons better. Human beings are flawed and limited—”not everybody can be extraordinary, there are winners and losers in society, and some of it is not fair or your fault.” Manson advises us to get to know our limitations and accept them. Once we embrace our fears, faults, and uncertainties, once we stop running and avoiding and start confronting painful truths, we can begin to find the courage, perseverance, honesty, responsibility, curiosity, and forgiveness we seek.

One key thing is missing for me in this book: References! Any time I wanted to expand further on a subject, there was no footnote, no bibliography, nothing original I could source. The aforementioned “academic research” doesn’t seem to hold up.

That being said, I thought there were some good points about acknowledging suffering, and its inevitability. We are consistently fed the message that we need to do as much as we can to avoid pain (hello opioid crisis), even if a degree of suffering is to be expected in life.

I also enjoyed Manson’s approach to reality and truth. There is a strong pull to pretend like “everything is ok,” especially in the age where social media and presentation dominate our culture (#blessed!). I own my “basic-ness” in this trend, as my own Instagram account is filled with optimism and positivity, and only occasional moments when I acknowledge that not everything is always “ok.”  Perhaps I am more inclined to acknowledge those inevitable moments of suffering, in the spirit of growth and truth.

I would still recommend this book to read, specifically for the food for thought. Manson shines best in moments when he is vulnerable, when he takes off his f-bomb mask and writes about more meaningful moments and life lessons. I sincerely hope that Manson considers writing another book in the future, but with better editing and giving credit where it is due.

This book is a great case study in successful book marketing – an attention grabbing title in a time of high conflict. A bright orange cover you just can’t get away from. A promise of a reprieve from heaviness. Writers and publicists- take note!

Rating: 3 stars

Source: I checked this out from my library!

Further Reading:

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