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The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck by Mark Manson – A Book Review


Lately, I’ve been feeling like I’m running around in a circle. Like my own mind is trying to sabotage me.  Like I desperately need a push. Well, judging by the tranquility of my comfort zone for the last couple of months, more like I need good, old-fashioned punch in the face.

To my greatest satisfaction, I found what I was desperately looking for.

I randomly came across a book that in a blunt and politically incorrect manner said to me everything I was too afraid to admit to myself.

The kind of rude sincerity and brutal honesty that at first triggers an angry “Who the f*ck are you to tell me what’s best for me?” inside of you, and then splashes you with an ice-cold bucket of truth while a strange sense of relief takes over your body.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the #1 best-selling novel for 2017 – The Subtle Art Of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson.

First things first, to all of you fragile flowers out there who prefer bottling your own words and feelings instead of expressing them where you should, and to all of you thin-skinned people who fear uttering or reading the infamous four-letter word, this post might not be the right one for you.

But, for the rest of you, who enjoy learning the eternal truth in life by taking some sucker punches, and then taking some more, buckle up. You are about to get your ass whooped. But, trust me, you are going to like it.

This brilliance of a book will change your beliefs and open your eyes to the brutal reality out there. It will take away your sugar-coated conceptions and values about life and show you that the conventional way of thinking this society propagates is only wasting your life.

Manson’s idea of not giving a fuck as the ultimate method for finding the true happiness in life does not mean being an indifferent, heartless and ignorant psychopath who couldn’t care less about anything in the world.

Instead, throughout 9 brilliantly written chapters, he concentrates on explaining the bittersweet reality that “Everything worthwhile in life is won through surmounting the associated negative experience. Any attempt to escape the negative, to avoid it or quash it or silence it, only backfires.”

“The avoidance of suffering is a form of suffering. The denial of failure is a failure.”

Therefore: “To try to avoid pain is to give too many fucks about pain. In contrast, if you’re able to not give a fuck about the pain, you become unstoppable.”

This book is literally the guidance or nudge we all desperately need in life. Call it whatever you want.

A pragmatic and realistic interpretation of what life actually means, what our existence on earth signifies and how does the course of our actions, whether they’re small or insignificant has the power to either destroy or improve our lives.

Manson explains how life is directly created and influenced by our chosen metrics in life.

We arrive in this world as a blank piece of paper that is eventually transformed into a book. The metrics we choose to rely on are basically our values that were created, adapted and modified through the years.

He shamelessly confronts himself and undresses his ego in front of the readers, only to help them recognize themselves into his own life challenges.

By twisting and turning society’s conventional definitions and our favorite, ‘click-bait’ clichés about success, love, emotions, happiness, self-growth, and relationships, Manson proves some extraordinary and clever arguments that have never really crossed my mind before.

While the mass media enjoys tapping your back, assuring you that “every person can be extraordinary and achieve greatness” and therefore opens the door of entitlement, Manson refers to this practice as “The Tyranny of Exceptionalism” and punches your ego with a Chapter named “You are not special”.

“Once you accept the premise that a life is worthwhile only if it is truly notable and great, then you basically accept the fact that most of the human population (including yourself) sucks and it’s worthless.”

While every motivational quote and inspirational book out there tells you that you should believe in yourself and be certain of your potential, Mark has the guts to shove the ugly truth in your face and write that “instead of striving for certainty, we should be in constant search of doubt: doubt about our own beliefs, doubt about our own feelings doubt about what the future may hold for us unless we get out there and create it for ourselves.

“Instead of looking to be right all the time, we should be looking for how we’re wrong all the time. Because we are.”

While society is forcing you to be successful, but avoid failure at all costs, Manson explains why his adolescent, and by the way most tragic and miserable years of his life made him the most fortunate man at that time.

“Improvement at anything is based on thousands of tiny failures, and the magnitude of your success is based on how many times you’ve failed at something. If someone is better than you at something, then it’s likely because she has failed at it more than you have.”

And while you fear rejection as if it was the Boogeyman, and tend to behave completely affirmative and accepting towards every possibility in life, Manson bluntly enlightens you that “Rejection Makes Your Life Better”.

“There’s a certain level of joy and meaning that you reach in life only when you’ve spent decades investing in a single relationship, a single craft, a single career. And you cannot achieve those decades of investment without rejecting the alternatives.”

“We need to reject something. Otherwise, we stand for nothing.

All in all, this book shelters the truth you’re so afraid to hear, but desperately wish to find.

 That’s the irony in his wisdom. He doesn’t care about alleviating your pain and comforting your insecurities. He doesn’t care about sugar-coating the truth for you. “This book is not some guide to greatness” – he says.

Yet, the beautiful paradox is that these carefully written stories in a form of sucker punches and brutal bitch slaps will somehow fill your heart with hope and motivate you to really grab life by the balls.

So, here’s to you buddy.

You made me laugh, you made me cry, you left me in awe, you forced me to relive my fear and shudder while reading your insanely disturbed adventure on The Cape Of Good Hope, you inspired me to get up and “not just sit there”, you piqued my interest with your clever examples of real-life stories about the greatest master-minds, artist, and intellectuals out there.

But, most importantly, you introduced me to a new and improved definition about the meaning of our existence on this Earth.

Thank you for that.

Stephanie Reeds