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The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson
Published by HarperOne on September 13, 2016
Buy on Book Depository
After all, no truly happy person feels the need to stand in front of a mirror and recite she is happy. She just is.
I should have stopped reading at this point. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck* is probably the biggest buzz book in business this year. It feels like everyone is raving about it. GoodReads gives it 4.02 stars from more than 71,000 ratings. A designer I like started a book club and chose this as the first book, so I pounced on it.
The book runs about as well as the book club. The first chapter was entertaining, though nothing really new. The book club was energetic. The book club died, and I forced myself to finish The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck.
The book’s tagline promises “a counterintuitive approach to living a good life.” Drop the word counterintuitive, and I’d say it’s correct. The first chapter gives the title and shows that we should pick and choose what we care about. Or give a fuck about. Subsequent chapters discuss choice, failure making people stronger, expectations being inflated, and why you should always question and learn. Yeah, so not much of that is counterintuitive.
To be fair, I think if I were younger and hadn’t messed up so many times already then this book would help me.
Mark Manson uses a lot of his experiences as examples. Taking drugs, dropping out of school, swallowing pride and going back (to a different course), his friend dying. There are also stories of others discovering through life. I like that he describes the person, and identifies them at the end. Buddha discovered enlightenment from messing up. Dave Mustaine, the founder of Megadeath, always felt he was a failure because he was kicked out of Metallica. I don’t recall seeing any academic studies references at all. I also haven’t followed Mark’s blog, so I don’t know if it’s different there.
I’m sure the book’s title is just for shock factor—or maybe again I’m too old. The first chapter shows how versatile the word fuck is. While correctly used, it’s rather over-used. Luckily that dies off quickly.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck isn’t for everyone. But then again, not everyone needs to stand in front of a mirror reciting they’re happy.
*There you go, Nelle.