By Mark Manson
Rating: 4 Stars
Goodreads Rating: 3.92
Genre: Self Help
Publication Date: September 13th 2016
Format Read: Libby Audiobook
Goodreads Summary: In this generation-defining self-help guide, a superstar blogger cuts through the crap to show us how to stop trying to be “positive” all the time so that we can truly become better, happier people.
For decades, we’ve been told that positive thinking is the key to a happy, rich life. “F**k positivity,” Mark Manson says. “Let’s be honest, shit is f**ked and we have to live with it.” In his wildly popular Internet blog, Manson doesn’t sugarcoat or equivocate. He tells it like it is—a dose of raw, refreshing, honest truth that is sorely lacking today. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is his antidote to the coddling, let’s-all-feel-good mindset that has infected American society and spoiled a generation, rewarding them with gold medals just for showing up.
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.
There are only so many things we can give a f**k about so we need to figure out which ones really matter, Manson makes clear. While money is nice, caring about what you do with your life is better, because true wealth is about experience. A much-needed grab-you-by-the-shoulders-and-look-you-in-the-eye moment of real-talk, filled with entertaining stories and profane, ruthless humor, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is a refreshing slap for a generation to help them lead contented, grounded lives.
Another week, another book I should have read long ago but for some reason didn’t get around to it. I will first admit that I started reading this book at a time in my life when I was in need of some high quality self help. Starting my new job left me floundering. I wanted to find some higher purpose to be striving towards, all while staring at an endless road of corporate America ahead of me. Manson’s book brought a much needed reality check into my life at a time when I needed it.
The reason I preface with all of that is because had I read this book at any other time, I don’t think I would have enjoyed it all that much. Manson was preachy, sounding more like a knockoff inspirational speaker than an author at times. All of his points were backed not by evidence, but by single anecdotes he pulled from the headlines. Many of his claims relied on single lines said by musicians in interviews, hardly a reliable metric. If you’re looking for something fact based, this was definitively not that.
Still, it resonated with me.
Contrary to Manson’s title, what he actually advocates in this book is to only care about the truly important things. He urges us to look at our lives with perspective, rather than becoming consumed on a single metric or goal. Manson believes that there is too much in life to care about all of it. Instead, we should make sure we are putting our own lives in perspective compared with just one or two realistic goals we set for ourselves.
As someone who is doing very well in life by all standard metrics but was having a hard time being HAPPY, this book was a big reality check for me, and it shifted my perspective for the better.
The other part of the book that I enjoyed was the idea of taking responsibility for everything. Manson claims that although not everything is your fault, everything is your responsibility. By taking responsibility, we can live better more fulfilled lives. This is a perspective I hadn’t heard much before, and it gave me something to think about.
Do I think this was the most well written well researched book in the world? Not at all. However, Manson’s storytelling ability and passion for what he is writing about came through in the words and most definitely caused me to think harder about my own life and ultimate happiness.
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