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© 2023 by Troy Springer

Book Review: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*uck

February 13, 2018



I have seen "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck" by Mark Masnon on social media everywhere. It's a book clearly targeting my generation of budding 20 some year olds and using crude language and familiar millennial phrases to peak out interest. Naturally, due to this book's popularity and being in the target demographic, I thought it would be worthwile to check out just what advice is being pedaled to my generation.


 Most, if not all of the books I read for fun nowadays are nonfiction, most about investing. Recently I have been exploring the self-development category. 


I happened to get the book on Audible on sale and listened to it over the course of the weekend. For those who like audiobooks, the performance of the narrator was one of the best I've heard.

I found the opening chapters to be the most enlightening. The author describes how social media and the transparency of our lives has made it much easier for us to constantly compare our lives to the lives of others. Feeling lonely? Why not click on Instagram and see how great everyone else's lives look. This is not exactly a revolutionary idea but the author ties it together in a framework that resonates will young people.


We need to give less fucks.


Manson argues that the world is constantly encouraging us to be great and have more. Make more money, get a better job, drive a nice car, be popular, be liked, have a lot of sex. It makes un anxious when we see those things and realize that we are not achieving the expectations that society has pushed upon us. "FOMO" or fear of missing out controls much of our lives. It can even send us into a sort of depression. Manson describes the feedback loop that can keep us trapped in a depressive state.


Here is an example:
"I am such a loser for not going out more"
"I should go out more"
"I can go out because I am a loser and no one likes me"


Manson believes we need streamline what we care about to only a few things that are truly meaningful to us and "not give a fuck" about anything else. We want it all, but learning to want less and accept what we are willing to work for will make us happier in the end.


He offers a more realistic approach to achieving success. Define success by your own terms. For example, the author, like I dreamed of being a rockstar as a teen. But the process of being a rockstar is extremely difficult, practicing, buying equipment, dealing with egos, bandmates, promoters, and finding venues to play out and dragging your equipment out every time for a shot a making it big. You have to love the process you have to love the uncertainty. And most people don't, and where most self-help grues would tell you to "don't give up on your dreams" Mason argues, maybe you should.


Everone likes the idealistic picture of what they could be, where in reality being a rock star or being a CEO is much different in practice then what it appears from the outside.


His approach is certainly counterintuitive and full of fun examples. Although sometimes crude I found his work to be extremely relatable, and I would think many twenty some year olds would feel the same. 

I was excited to familiar with a few like the story of Dave Mustaine. Mustaine, leader of the influential metal band Megadeth constantly compared himself to the band he got kicked out of, Metallica. When in reality, Mustaine was probably more successful and well regarded than any member of Metallica, but he still struggled with his identity of himself.


His arguments don't always fit together sometimes, and he has a tendency to brag about his own sexual prowess (probably to advertise his own dating blog). However, Manson is successfully able to bring to bear some pretty intelligent advice and make it fun and relatable to a group of people who probably otherwise wouldn't have cared to listen.


Overall 4/5





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