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


The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life is an NYT Bestseller. There is nothing more an author can ask for. Being a part of this list is your ticket to the world of select authors who can potentially live on their royalty income. You do not have to introduce yourself to people. The world knows you and everything you say gets an added weight, even if it is a universal truth.

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

I picked up ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck’ despite the F word in its title as I saw so many people raving about it. They projected it as the ultimate answer to your search for self-help books. Of course, I also like to read self-help once in a while to keep myself motivated. Self-help books really help re-enforce things you know but never follow.

The fact that the author is also a blogger raised my curiosity. He is obviously the smarter blogger than I ever would be.

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The book begins on a horrible note. Every sentence has the F word. I wondered if the author had a contract with the publishers to insert a certain number of F words in his manuscript. I could not make head and tail of what he is trying to say. At the same time, I wondered if he can write the whole book in this fashion. Thankfully, the tone changes after the first chapter.

Next couple of chapters make sense as he talks about his own story of starting a blog or an enterprise during an economic downturn. He talks about his running after checklists that included traveling to as many countries as possible and sleeping with as many women as possible. This is when you start relating to him, though most of us would be a much milder version of him. By now, I was confident that I would read the book.

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Reaching midway was easy, but after that Mark Manson goes on and on with the same format. It gets boring and repetitive. His examples from the East like the story of Buddha then tells you his shallow knowledge of the subject. He tells a brilliant story of a Japanese soldier but loses the key lesson it carries for us.

Good Lessons

There are some good lessons to take away. For example, the fact that being average is perfectly fine. Or that if you are feeling bad, or are going through a low phase in life, get up and do something.

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I think the title of the book serves the purpose of raising your curiosity. The book cover that says nothing but the catchy title helps the title in more than one way. The tag line of the book is – A counterintuitive approach to living a good life. I think the author is trying to take a counterintuitive approach to write a self-help book.

Good Boy!

Eventually, what he is telling you is that be a good boy, get married, stay committed, do your work and don’t think too much. If you grew up in India, you probably heard this a million times – Accept things as they are. We all have our own Dharma, which is not the same as anyone else.

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Overall, the book seems like a stitched series of blog posts. It tells me that blog writing has eventually evolved into its own genre of writing. However, it also tells me that you need a very different approach to write a book vis-a-vis a blog post. Even the same audience would read a book in a different way than they would read a blog. People expect a certain depth when it comes to books.

The language is incoherent. You can see parts that may not be written by the author himself or are highly inspired from somewhere, like the 3-4 stories he tells. This may be because they were written at different times and then stitched together. To me, this is always a distraction.

My verdict – it is just another self-help book. If it helps you feel good while you read it, go read it.

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