Book Review: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck

Just like many people who decided to focus on the quality of their lives during this pandemic, I decided to take more time to read. The title of this book intrigued me a lot and I wanted to find out more about this counterintuitive approach to living a good life (as it says on the cover). Books that become bestsellers often do so for a reason.

It’s about saving your fucks for the right things

First of all, I apologise for the bad language I will be forced to use in this post… It wouldn’t be a good review if I stayed too polite. If you’re wondering if the “F” word is used too often in this book, the answer is yes, it definitely is at times, but the problem is there are no good enough synonyms. This is a serious topic discussed with a lot of wisdom, despite the language. It’s not superficial at all, it’s actually very deep. Don’t judge a book by its cover either, this is not about stop giving a fuck about everything. This is about giving a fuck about the right things. There are only so many fucks you can give in your life, and you should save them for what really matters!

“Now here’s the problem: Our society today, through the wonders of consumer culture and hey-look-my-life-is-cooler-than-yours social media, has bred a whole generation of people who believe that having these negative experiences – anxiety, fear, guilt, etc. – is totally not okay.”

Mark Manson

Don’t aim to be extraordinary

You’re not perfect, chances are you’re very average, but you’re still great. This book doesn’t aim at telling you how to be extraordinary, more like the opposite. It tells you how your problems generate your happiness and that the joy is in the climb itself. I really liked the real life stories used to illustrate each point, the author uses real examples to then analyse them. It’s not just about telling you to do this or that because he’s right and he knows better, he’s using true stories to explain why he’s giving you such advice. You can choose to listen or to not give a fuck, it’s also an option. I guess the main thing is to know how to identify your own values and stay true to them, taking responsibility for your actions (and sometimes others’ too because life is not always fair).

“Fault is past tense. Responsibility is present tense. Fault results from choices that have already been made. Responsibility results from the choices you’re currently making, every second of every day.”

Mark Manson
kitten walking away from explosion

Certainty is the enemy of growth

The best recent example of a moment in my life I decided to not give a fuck is when my fiancé and I both quit our job last year to go travelling for 6 months. To some people, it was a dangerous decision to leave everything behind and fly away, not having anything planned on our return… We did it anyway because we knew it would be the experience of our lives. It may have inspired jealousy, envy, surprise, we didn’t care. But life fucked us up anyway because we got interrupted by a worldwide pandemic before we had a chance to complete our travels. Despite the unexpected, it was all worth it and I would do it again without hesitation (I’ll talk about it more in details in tomorrow’s post).

“Certainty is the enemy of growth. Nothing is for certain until it has already happened – and even then, it’s still debatable. That’s why accepting the inevitable imperfections of our values is necessary for any growth to take place.”

Mark Manson

Failure is part of success

Finally, you need to fail in life before you succeed. Failure is the way forward! This book is thought-provoking and makes you laugh at the same time. Maybe because it’s true? I will let you make up your own mind but personally, this book has taught me how to give a fuck about the right things, the right people, and let go of the rest. The last chapters are probably the best because they become more and more personal and emotional. I could relate to the author in so many ways.

“Just as one must suffer physical pain to build stronger bone and muscle, one must suffer emotional pain to develop greater emotional resilience, a stronger sense of self, increased compassion, and a generally happier life.”

Mark Manson

Have you read it too? What other book would you recommend for a good life lesson?

Big Girl x

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