Book Review | The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson *9/10 Stars*

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Published: September 13th 2016 
Publisher: Harper
Page count: 224
Source: Paperback (own copy)
My Rating: 9/10 Stars


In this generation-defining self-help guide, a superstar blogger cuts through the crap to show us how to stop trying to be "positive" all the time so that we can truly become better, happier people.

For decades, we’ve been told that positive thinking is the key to a happy, rich life. "F**k positivity," Mark Manson says. "Let’s be honest, shit is f**ked and we have to live with it." In his wildly popular Internet blog, Manson doesn’t sugarcoat or equivocate. He tells it like it is—a dose of raw, refreshing, honest truth that is sorely lacking today. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is his antidote to the coddling, let’s-all-feel-good mindset that has infected American society and spoiled a generation, rewarding them with gold medals just for showing up.

Manson makes the argument, backed both by academic research and well-timed poop jokes, that improving our lives hinges not on our ability to turn lemons into lemonade, but on learning to stomach lemons better. Human beings are flawed and limited—"not everybody can be extraordinary, there are winners and losers in society, and some of it is not fair or your fault." Manson advises us to get to know our limitations and accept them. Once we embrace our fears, faults, and uncertainties, once we stop running and avoiding and start confronting painful truths, we can begin to find the courage, perseverance, honesty, responsibility, curiosity, and forgiveness we seek.

There are only so many things we can give a f**k about so we need to figure out which ones really matter, Manson makes clear. While money is nice, caring about what you do with your life is better, because true wealth is about experience. A much-needed grab-you-by-the-shoulders-and-look-you-in-the-eye moment of real-talk, filled with entertaining stories and profane, ruthless humor, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is a refreshing slap for a generation to help them lead contented, grounded lives.

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About the author

Mark Manson (born 1984) is a professional blogger, entrepreneur, and former dating coach. Since 2007, he's been helping people with their emotional and relationship problems. He has worked with thousands of people from over 30 different countries. 

He regularly writes and updates his blog at:

The Verdict

The moment I finished, I knew I was going to revisit this book many times. I just knew.

Like nearly every non-fiction or self-help book I've read, I went into 'The Subtle Art...' skeptical and mentally prepared to put it away after a few chapters. But clearly I was wrong. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, for me is one of the most non-BS, thought provoking, perspective-altering reads ever. I've gifted copies to my little brother, friends and instagram friends over the past few months. 

Mark's writing is honest, blunt and refreshingly non-BS. AND it's really really funny too. I found myself laughing almost as much as, if not more than pausing to introspect. 

I've repeatedly found myself pausing to a step back and assess the situation or conversation at hand and ask myself, 'Does this really sit high on my list of limited-fucks-to-give?' Not surprisingly, the answer is generally 'no' and I'd been wasting my 'fucks' over irrelevent things all this time, while I could have assigned my 'selective fucks' to things I prioritize. 

I absolutely hate marking, dog-earing or writing in books, but 'Subtle Art...' is one of the only two books I had to make an exception for (the other one was Fight Club). Mine is now a much marked, well read copy that I'll keep coming back to and cherish for a long long time.

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