The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck

Cover of the book "The Subtle art of Not Giving a Fuck" by Mark Manson next to a picture of the author.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson proclaims it contains a counterintuitive approach to living a good life. While the title and description may be enchanting to those who wish to read the latest New York Times best seller, the flashy veneer only conceals deeper wisdoms that have been combed over throughout the ages by our deep thinkers and spiritual belief systems such as Buddhism and Taoism. 

The author draws from their own life experiences to illustrate the principles and as you delve deeper into the material, the heart of the matter comes to the surface. The subtle art of not giving a fuck is in actuality the art of choosing where to give your fucks. One should strive to find the things in life that are most valued and pour energy into those things to the exclusion of all other options.

What I enjoyed about this read is its bluntness and accessibility. In the ancient spiritual teachings, we are often given a line or two to describe a precept while the reader is left to ponder the meaning of “one hand clapping”. Mark breaks down concepts about immortality, life, death, and value into modern terms that can be converted into foundational principles and applied to life in the modern age.

My biggest take-away from this read was actually a quote from Mark Twain, “The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.” I revel in this quote because one of my decision-making strategies when faced with a fork in the road involves contemplating death. I imagine myself laying on my death bed in old age, surrounded by my loved ones and I ask myself which thing do I wish I had chosen? What stories do I want to tell to the next generation? Which path do I feel will contain the most growth and enlightenment? 

Mark takes us on a fictional flirt with death journey while you’re left to let this quote sink into your bones. Have I lived my life to the fullest? Are there things I have left to say? Do I have bucket list items left? Is it even that complex? Perhaps living a fulfilled life is simple to be fully embodied in every moment, interacting and enjoying everything a Goldilocks fashion? What does a fulfilled life look and feel like?

Rather than spoil the reading, I’ll leave you to discover how Mark answers these questions. This book won’t disappoint if you are looking for something that will entertain you and change the way you feel about where to give your fucks. 

If I were to give this book a rating, it would be four out of five stars, only because I wish that Mark had shared more words of wisdom with us. Every page is enjoyable and at times I intentionally put pauses in to savor the flavor.

I hope you enjoyed this review. Please comment below your biggest take-away from reading The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck.

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