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The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

Updated: Feb 28, 2022

What I enjoyed about this book was the author going against the traditional self-development ethos by saying life can be negative sometimes and that's okay. The message is simple, to the point and honest. No long lists about what you're missing or how to better, the book emphasised that less is more which was refreshing to read.

 

About the Author

Mark Manson is the #1 New York Times Bestselling author and runs one of the largest personal growth websites in the world, MarkManson.net, a blog with more than two million monthly readers and half a million subscribers. His writing is often described as ‘self-help for people who hate self-help’ — a no-BS brand of life advice and cultural commentary that has struck a chord with people around the globe. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, TIME Magazine, Forbes, Vice, CNN, and Vox, among many others. He currently lives in New York City.


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


The Premise of the Book

How to stop trying to be "positive" all the time so that we can truly become better, happier people.


The Book in a Nutshell

  • The book flies in the face of positive psychology and offers a unique perspective - things might not always be rosy, but all that matters is we live a meaningful life centred around what is important to us.

  • By prioritising what's important to us and can stop giving a f*ck about everything else.

  • A necessary component of creating consistent happiness in our lives is to accept suffering as a natural part of life rather than trying to resist or escape it.


Key Ideas

  1. The Grass is Green Enough

Living life through the lens that the grass is always greener on the other side is to live chasing expectations at the expense of gratitude - it reinforces the idea of what we lack. By giving too many f*cks we become overly attached to the superficial and fake, pursuing a mirage of happiness. So choose what's important to us and only give f*cks about what is truly worthy.


2. Happiness is Problematic

Happiness is not a solvable equation. Happiness is found in solving problems, not avoiding them. So choose problems we enjoy having & solving because they never stop, they only get exchanged or upgraded.


3. We're Not Special

Seeing ourselves as average will propel us to improve and become great.


4. The Value of Suffering

Pain is a feature of human evolution. It teaches us what to pay attention to. If we stop giving a f*ck about the pain our goals require then we become unstoppable.


My Favourite Quotes

“The desire for more positive experience is itself a negative experience. And, paradoxically, the acceptance of one’s negative experience is itself a positive experience”
“To be happy we need something to solve. Happiness is therefore a form of action.”
“Who you are is defined by what you’re willing to struggle for”
“This is the most simple and basic component of life: our struggles determine our successes”
“Our values determine the metrics by which we measure ourselves and everyone else”

Actionable Takeaways

  1. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

  • It is not about being indifferent but okay with being different.

  • To not give a f*ck about the adversity we must care about something greater.

  • Minimise what we give a f*ck about - focus on what is important to us.


2. Short-Circuiting the Feedback Loop From Hell

Giving too many f*cks about things that don't matter makes us feel bad about ourselves. This leads to the Feedback Loop From Hell: We get a feeling for some reason which makes us feel even worse. The solution is not to give a f*ck about negative experiences (anxiety, anger, fear, guilt etc). Sometimes it's normal to have these feelings, don't beat ourselves up over it.


3. Choosing Our Values

Change our problems by how we view them. To change our problem change what we value or how we measure failure or success. ONLY choose values we can control. Values we don't control we can't change which means they can be a constant source of suffering.


4. Elevating Our Happiness

Lead a life in alignment with our personal values.


Impact Statement

“The key to a good life is not giving a fuck about more; it’s giving a fuck about less, giving a fuck about only what is true and immediate and important”

 

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