Narrator: Roger Wayne
Published by HarperAudio on September 13, 2016
Length: 5 hrs 17 mins
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For decades, we’ve been told that positive thinking is the key to a happy, rich life. "F**k positivity," Mark Manson says. "Let’s be honest, shit is f**ked and we have to live with it." In his wildly popular Internet blog, Manson doesn’t sugarcoat or equivocate. He tells it like it is—a dose of raw, refreshing, honest truth that is sorely lacking today. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is his antidote to the coddling, let’s-all-feel-good mindset that has infected modern society and spoiled a generation, rewarding them with gold medals just for showing up.
Manson makes the argument, backed both by academic research and well-timed poop jokes, that improving our lives hinges not on our ability to turn lemons into lemonade, but on learning to stomach lemons better. Human beings are flawed and limited—"not everybody can be extraordinary, there are winners and losers in society, and some of it is not fair or your fault." Manson advises us to get to know our limitations and accept them. Once we embrace our fears, faults, and uncertainties, once we stop running and avoiding and start confronting painful truths, we can begin to find the courage, perseverance, honesty, responsibility, curiosity, and forgiveness we seek.
There are only so many things we can give a f**k about so we need to figure out which ones really matter, Manson makes clear. While money is nice, caring about what you do with your life is better, because true wealth is about experience. A much-needed grab-you-by-the-shoulders-and-look-you-in-the-eye moment of real-talk, filled with entertaining stories and profane, ruthless humor, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is a refreshing slap for a generation to help them lead contented, grounded lives.
I probably shouldn’t have read The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, since I can’t actually say the title out loud, but I kept seeing it around and the audio was the prefect length for a couple of drives I made last weekend.
I really liked the first part of the book. Basically, the media and internet and the world want us to care about everything, but that’s not the way to a happy, fulfilling life. You need to choose what you care about, what values really matter to you. Manson shares thoughts that while not original are true, like pain and struggle are unavoidable; facing hard truths about ourselves helps us grow; and failure, as so long as we learn from it, can lead to success; that sometimes just doing something is better than waiting for inspiration. I got a little bored towards the end. A lot of the book is repetitious and his anecdotes can get a little annoying.
Maybe if I were I were in my 20s, my rating would have been higher. I wouldn’t have already reached the point where I know that I can’t care about everything, that looking foolish is okay. I actually might get my daughter a copy. I wish there weren’t as many sex references, but I think it makes some worthwhile points. “This is the most simple and basic component of life: our struggles determine our successes.” “We, individually, are responsible for everything in our lives, no matter the external circumstances. We don’t always control what happens to us. But we always control how we interpret what happens to us, as well as how we respond.”