Book: The Subtle Art of not giving a F*ck by Mark Manson

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson is an overly praised book 2016. The author is an internet blogger who brings in, his experience, learning and techniques of running a successful self help blog to this book.

Book Subtle Art of not giving f*ck

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson is an overly praised book of 2016. The book tries to emphasize the point of prioritizing the personal values to remove distractions from life and in process make life much happier and content to live. The author is an internet blogger who brings in, his experience, learning and techniques of running a successful self help blog.

Book Summary

The book is divided in to 9 chapters wherein author emphasizes a single point through stories & logical reasoning to reinforce the basic lesson of that chapter.

The first chapter, Don’t Try highlights the importance of accepting one’s current condition as it is. The basic concept in this chapter is to focus on few important things in life instead of running after everything.

Happiness is a Problem is the the next chapter which opens up with the story of Buddha’s early life. The author argues that happiness is achieved through solving problems and it is a constant work in progress.

True happiness occurs only when you find the problems you enjoy having and enjoy solving.

Mark Manson, Page 32

An important point highlighted in this chapter is that people tend to avoid / not solve their problems and this makes them unsatisfied and not happy. Generally these type of people fall in two categories, first group falls in Denial and second in Victim Mentality. The writer emphasizes that life is a constant struggle where happiness is a constant work in progress but before pursuing the happiness, choose the struggle which is most important to you and than pursue it to solve problems and gain happiness. Once you will solve a problem, you will be happy but another bigger problem will arise however since you have already chosen the correct struggle so you will be happy to solve it again and as result become happy.

You are Not Special is the title for third chapter which plays down the dangerous pursuit of becoming extraordinary in the modern, connected world. Writer identifies this thinking as the source of anxiety and stress which makes the people life miserable. Accept that you are not special and constant pressure to be something amazing is lifted off your back.

The next chapter titled The Value of Suffering opens up with the story of Japanese Second Lieutenant Hiroo Onoda. The chapter highlights the importance of metrics by which we measure our success. It’s better to measure the success through predefined positive values instead of comparison with success of fellows or other people.

The fifth chapter, You are Always Choosing is about the realization that we are responsible for everything in our lives, no matter the external circumstances. With this mindset, it is important to place f*cks only at places which are important and more worthy of your energies.

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.

Mark Manson, Page 94

You’re Wrong About Everything mentions our biases and assumptions that result in us putting self imposed restrictions and limitations on our actions and potentials. The answer lies in keeping an open mindset about everything instead of limiting our potential.

Chapter 7: Failure is the Way Forward explores the relationship between Inspiration, Motivation & Action. The highlights various examples including of Pablo Picasso to bring home the lesson that continue action in spite of failures and as a result your actions will provide you with motivation to continue further. As a result of this snowball effect, you will become your own inspiration.

Next chapter is titled as The Importance of Saying No, the author highlights the importance of saying no to alternatives and multiple choices in order to focus on a singular commitment to everything like choice of carrier, belief or person. The underlying lesson is if you value something than reject all other things to minimize distractions.

The last chapter of book …And Then You Die explores the concept of death and how it impacts the living beings. The author argues that humans are inherently fearful of death to counter it we end up engaged and flattened by the life’s trivialities, as he puts it beautifully:

Once we become comfortable with the fact of our own death – the root terror, the underlying anxiety motivating all of life’s frivolous ambitions – we can then chose our values more freely, unrestrained by the illogical quest for immortality, and freed from dangerous dogmatic views.

Mark Manson, Page 200

Lessons

  1. Prioritize your life, Say no to distractions.
  2. Define constructive values for measuring your success and than measure using these values instead of comparing with others
  3. Solve the root problems that are not letting you achieve true happiness. Don’t fall in to following mindsets:
    • Problem Denial
    • Victim Mentality
  4. Don’t be a narcissist, don’t fall in to thinking that you are special.
  5. Have an open mindset to life, don’t be limited by the dogmas and limitations. Challenge yourself!
  6. Accept failure as part of struggle and specially continue to work in the face of failure when motivation is low.
  7. Choose wisely! Interpretation & Reaction to any bad event is in your control.
  8. Accept the impermanence of life. Acceptance of death leads to understanding of life and in turn gives clarity to the identifying the personal values that matter.

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