The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck Book Recommendation
Although I’m really excited to share my book recommendation for this month, I do feel compelled to add a bit of a WARNING before we dive in. For those of you with sensitive ears, or in this case eyes since you’re more than likely reading this post, it does contain some colorful language…of the “4-letter” variety. Today I’ll be talking about Mark Manson’s book The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck, a counterintuitive approach to living a good life.
When I first came across this book, I wasn’t expecting much from it, and assumed it would be more entertaining than provide any type of useful substance. As it turned out, I was only partially right. It definitely was an entertaining read, and I found myself laughing out loud dozens of times throughout the book. What I didn’t expect to find was an insightful philosophy about life and the pursuit of happiness.
It’s important to understand that this book is NOT about being indifferent. It’s about learning to “not give a fuck” about those things in your life that aren’t actually worth your time, that don’t truly matter. As Manson eloquently lays it out, “The key to a good life is not giving a fuck about more; it’s giving a fuck about less.” He goes on to say, “In life, we have a limited amount of fucks to give. So you must choose your fucks wisely.”
To understand why this philosophy is so important, look no further than to how we interact with social media. We’re constantly bombarded by images and sound bites of family, friends and even people we don’t know, that seemingly show everyone having all their shit together. Whether we want to admit it or not, this creates an unhealthy need for us to try and prove that our life is just as good, or even better. As a result, we enter into this ridiculous game of constantly trying to “keep up with the Jones’”. Not with stuff, but by being a better spouse and/or parent, a more successful professional, or by showing we’re happier than the next person.
It’s this need to always feel greatthat is actually creating the opposite effect. The British philosopher Alan Watts referred to this as “the backwards law”. As Manson describes it, “It’s the idea that the more you pursue feeling better all the time, the less satisfied you become, as pursuing something only reinforces the fact that you lack it in the first place.”
Numerous times throughout the book Manson talks about Charles Bukowski, an author, who epitomized the “not giving a fuck” mindset. Bukowski once wrote, “We’re all going to die, all of us. What a circus! That alone should make us love each other, but it doesn’t. We are terrorized and flattened by life’s trivialities; we are eaten up by nothing.”
When we care about everything, especially the trivialities, we don’t trulycare about anything. To “not give a fuck” is to let go of the things that hold us back so we can focus on the things that move us forward.
If you haven’t had the opportunity to read this book, I highly recommend you pick one up at your earliest convenience. If you have read it, I encourage you to take some time and go back through it again. I’ve read it twice and both times found amazing little nuggets that will continue to help me on my journey to unleash and maximize my full potential.