The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson

If ever there was a title that made me want to read a book it was this one. It is provocative and oozes Rock ‘n Roll. However, it took me two attempts (plus a format change) to actually get through it.


The title should not be interpreted literally. The core of Mark Manson’s message is not to simply toss everything out the window and live in service of your whims… basically not giving a fuck about it all. Rather it’s about coming up with a set of rules or a framework to choose those things that make sense for you to give a fuck about.


The book uses many examples to land Mark’s approach to selecting meaningful pursuits in life that you actually care about completely. The stories in the book highlight how easily we (and by we, I actually mean me) fall into the trap of being motivated by flawed underlying reasoning. And then how we go about bullshitting ourselves into believing that those reasons are fantastic. As a metal fan, the Dave Mustaine story resonated with me in particular.


“This book will help you think a little bit more clearly about what you’re choosing to find important in life and what you’re choosing to find unimportant” ~ Mark Manson, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck


The central themes which show up in the book are:

  • That life isn’t about unicorns, rainbows and being happy all the time;
  • That life is supposed to suck and (counterintuitively) accepting negative experiences is a positive step forward, and (most importantly)
  • That you need to choose what you’re allowing to suck in your life because it’s actually meaningful to you


The first time I attempted reading The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck it ended up in failure and the book found it’s way to my bookshelf where it sat gathering dust. I have to be honest, it does give your library some cool factor when someone comes browsing your book collection and sees the bright orange book with its big bold title – which I realise is a kak reason to buy the book


No matter where I turned though, there was that bright orange cover with its provocative title catching my eye, begging to be read. Also, a few of my friends kept asking whether I’d read it and recommended that I do. So I figured it was worth powering through. Thanks peer pressure!


The first few pages take some getting used to as his style isn’t like the conventional self-help book. Even on the second reading attempt, I had no luck.


Instead, I switched to the audiobook format which made all the difference. The messages land clearer coming across as a conversation with a mate who isn’t afraid to tell you like it is. I appreciate friends like that 🙂


So here’s my verdict: The book is an entertaining read (or listen if you chose the audiobook format). There are valuable insights which get you thinking, immediately. And, if you ascribe to the philosophy that getting one single new idea from a book is money well spent, then it is definitely worth it.


Personally, I would’ve liked more in the area of how to set goals that matter. There is a section in the book about it, but it didn’t land as practically as the rest of the book for me. If you’re tired of the way self-help books have traditionally been written then this is a refreshing approach. It is a title that is hard to ignore.


The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck


Format used for review: Audiobook

Originally Published: 2016

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  • Fatima Dhoda

    May 8, 2020 at 12:05 Reply

    You should try his second book titled everything is fucked .. I’ve started reading it so too early to compare to the first.

    • fareed

      May 8, 2020 at 12:10 Reply

      I have it on my reading list. I’ve had a few people say it’s better than this one so naturally I’m intrigued 🙂

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