Courtney Luk
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Book Reviews

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The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson

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Just what I need at the moment: to not give a single fuck but to do so subtly! After hearing the hype around Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, I knew I had to find out how to not give a fuck because my life is a clusterfuck. Though, Manson would consider me seeking and then reading this book as giving a lot of fucks about fuck giving, pulling me into what he calls the Feedback Loop from Hell, because my actions to seek self-help or guidance acknowledges and focuses on the fact that I am lacking in something and am eager to find it—a chill pill.

Manson’s self-help book is full of paradoxes, but once you think about what he’s saying, some of it actually makes sense, like how self-help books mainly emphasize what you lack. Like I said, the existence of this book is itself a paradox because it emphasizes how I care too much about too many things or that I care about the wrong things, my priorities not aligning with my values.

For many situations in which we find ourselves caring too much or in desperate need of escape, Manson uses the “backwards law,” coined by philosopher Alan Watts, which basically points out how we get the opposite result we desire or generate even more problems from doing what would logically, on the surface, make sense. With this law, Manson frankly explains how exactly our actions backfire on us and what we should do instead.

The main topics Manson covers are: the values and metrics (standards) by which we measure ourselves, taking responsibility for what happens in our lives even if what happens is not our fault (how we interpret and respond to events, and how we use our own victimhood), being comfortable in uncertainty and being wrong in order to seek answers in order to grow, seeing your failures and problems as mundane which would make them seem less overwhelming, seeing action as progress even if it results in failure, and accepting our mortality and ridding ourselves of entitlement / do-nothing victimhood in order to refocus our values and priorities to match our actions.

Manson’s The Subtle Art of Giving a Fuck is fun and funny and blunt. Give this book a read if you’re willing to try to understand a different way of thinking, the “backwards law,” so you may reconsider the way you act in various situations, during which you are confronted by questioning your values and standards. This isn’t the book that will tell you how to keep your life in order or how to fix everything in your life. This book will help you figure out what to give a fuck about.

Find The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck here.