The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

Posted January 31, 2018 in What We're Reading

The Premise: Mark Manson, self-proclaimed Author, Thinker, Life Enthusiast uses the f-word. A lot. If this will put you off in any way, this book is not for you. That said, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is actually a modern look at how to deal with stress, social media envy and anxiety (among many other things) in terms that are down-to-earth and in a tone that is straightforward and refreshing. Manson’s use of the f-word is really his tool to distill some pretty important issues down to the ‘lowest common denominator,’ (how many f*cks we have and how we use them) to deal with serious topics in a no-nonsense manner.

The overall goal of the book is to provide the reader with the mental tools to shake off conventional thinking around happiness and achievement, towards a more sustainable level of self-fulfillment based on realistic expectations. The very first chapter alone sets us up for the concept of ‘Don’t Try’ – but not in a ‘never do anything of value’ perspective, but in a way that emphasizes both the negative and positive in a situation, wherein Manson states ‘everything worthwhile in life is won through surmounting the associated negative experience.’

This thought process continues throughout the other chapters, like ‘Happiness is a Problem,’ ‘You Are Not Special’ and ‘Failure is the Way Forward’ – which is really a case for avoiding perfectionism. You only have so many f*cks in life to give – Mark Manson wants you to use them wisely.

The Bottomline: I really liked this book. I can handle the f-bombs and enjoyed the ‘blogger’ style writing. I sped through the first chapters in one sitting as I found that the concepts were surprisingly new-to-me, and I feel like I’ve read more than the average share of self-help books. It was like ‘street’ talk, and in fact, I found myself bringing up the concepts with my husband on our walks around the neighbourhood. The quote that really stood out for me was “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.” Simple, but powerful, and really important in the new social media existence in which we find ourselves. As leaders, I could really see how the concept of not giving too many f*cks would help motivate a team through challenges (which will occur!) and help make sure that the team and colleagues are using their f*cks in the most productive way possible.

Roundtable Rating: Great read for self-reflection and managing anxiety and stress; great conversation starters for the team!


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