Book Review: the Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fu*k

I know – I’m late to the party. To be honest when it comes to parties – I usually am. In this case I mean I missed the hype when this book initially came out. I remember about a year ago everyone was talking about it, the intriguing title and alluring cover spoke to a lot of people and those who were not avid readers I know were reading it. When I asked them what they thought most people shrugged and said: “Yeah”. Which is the reason why I didn’t pick it up till it was given to me as a “I need to get rid of stuff” gift at a friend’s moving out of town party. So the book found its way into my life and it was my turn to understand the subtle art of not giving fu*ks.

To be frank, I’ve always considered myself quite a master of no f-bombs given. One of my friends described me as “Takes no sh!t, gives no fu@ks”, something I’ve greatly been proud of. And yet I did find by reading Mark Manson’s book I came to realize that perhaps I do still give too many fuXks on occasion. The book made me aware of the fact it’s always a good time to take stake of what you are giving your energy to and check if it needs to be reevaluated. I appreciated Mark highlighting the fact that it’s not about being indifferent in the world, but rather deciding for yourself what you should care about and what not. It’s vital to actively decide what you dedicate your energy to and then to not being bothered if other people do not agree with that. He writes:

#1: Not giving a fuck is not about being indifferent. It just means you’re comfortable with being different. Don’t say fuck it to everything in life, just to the unimportant things”

What you define as important and as unimportant is up to you and no one else. This spoke to me and made me check in with the things that were sucking my energy day to day. I also liked his point about making sure to live with struggle, as nothing in life comes without some pain, we just have to prioritize what we think is worth the adversity. Basically to cut the whole thing short, Mark is asking you to reevaluate and reprioritize your life, which you know all in all is a great thing to do and I find exceptionally important.

Yet is this groundbreaking – not really. I felt the title was a bit misleading, I did not learn how to give less f-cks. No new art form was learned by this reader. I learned that yes perhaps I give too much attention to wrong things, but how do I undo it? I’d love to not care when the car breaks down, when my co-workers are just being plain mean and the contractor to fix something in my apartment fails to show up again. There are things I know I shouldn’t get upset about, and as a meditation teacher I try my hardest to live a peaceful existence, but even the most trained meditators get upset. Which is – you may be surprised by this – very acceptable amongst meditators as it is a part of human existence to get angry and frustrated. It’s useful to learn different schools of though so with this book I was hoping I would learn something about HOW to care a little less, about how I can learn a new way of living, pardon, learn a subtle art. Instead, I did get a 224 page reminder to perhaps revisit where I focus my attention to. Again – useful, but would have been great to walk away on knowing how to concur an artform. Guess it’s back to the drawing board for me.

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