When I first saw this book at the National Book Store, it stirred my curiosity because of its foul-mouthed title. I thought it was another nonsense book displayed and the title might help boost its marketing efforts. But I gave it the benefit of the doubt and decided to read it to know its substance.
Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life is basically a book on how to care less what others thinks of you and focus on what’s important in your life. It is realizing that life is short and there are way too many things in life to give a fuck about. It has nine chapters and shares valuable stories to illustrate the essence of each chapter. The major takeaway is:
The desire for more positive experience is itself a negative experience. And, paradoxically, the acceptance of one’s negative experience is itself a positive experience.
Manson wants to point out the concept of “the backwards law”— “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.” For example, the more you desperately want to be rich, the more poor and unworthy you feel, regardless of how much money you actually make.
This book is not an ordinary self-help book. It is brutal, honest, straightforward, no sugar-coating self-help book that would help question your established beliefs and values. This is not a “feeling good book”, but a practical guide to reflect about your life.
Clearly, this book is a retort to the self-help industry in which, as Manson saw, “promotes a culture of mindless positivity that isn’t practical or helpful for most people.” He points out that life struggles often give it more meaning and gives a better approach than constantly trying to be happy. As he states, “true happiness occurs only when you find the problems you enjoy having and enjoy solving.”
My favorite chapter in Manson’s book is the last chapter (Chapter 9) where he openly discusses death. As he points out:
“Death is the only thing we can know with any certainty. And as such, it must be the compass by which we orient all of our other values and decisions…..caring about something greater than yourself, believing that you are a contributing component in some much larger entity, that your life is but a mere side process of some great unintelligible production.”
If you want to have more control of your life, this book is a good start. As Manson declares, “the key to a good life is not giving a fuck about more; it’s giving a fuck about less, giving a fuck about only what is true and immediate and important.”
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About the blogger:
Genory Vanz Alfasain, also known as Yadu Karu, is an advocacy blogger, essayist, and independent filmmaker from Alabel, Sarangani Province. He was a fellow in the 2016 Davao Writers Workshop. His first short film, Bé, won Best Film in the Sarangani Shorts Category of the 2013 SalaMindanaw Asian Film Festival in General Santos City. His second short film, Jamir, was nominated for Best Film in the 2014 Mindanao Film Festival in Davao City.
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