The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck (2016) by Mark Manson Review
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is Mark Manson’s way of life. Started in his wildly popular Internet blog, Manson decided to write on how one can become a truly better and happier person… in an antithetic way.
As the subtitle suggests, this book embraces the storm in a different tide. Unlike other popular and regular non-fiction out there (and by “regular” I don’t mean to categorize the general genre into an understatement), this book really does things differently. Memoirs often shout out “Work hard!” or “Live a happy life!” to their readers as a mantra, but this book gathers all those mantras and throws it out of the window to provide a brutal and realistic outlook on life. This by no means entails that positivity corrupts such ambitious goals and memoirs shouldn’t use that as their theme. In fact, this book is very pessimistic. The way Manson views life is very negative, often disregarding happiness and perfection; however, all of these nullifying statements are gathered by Manson to tell the reader that that is the way to approach a good life. I am not saying that positivity in books don’t lead to a good life, actually, it very much does! It’s just interesting on how Manson looks at life with a different lens, assessing the negative aspects and how these invalidations can be used as one’s strength to leading a successful future.
To add to that, Manson’s anecdotes and tiny little histories are a plus. I wasn’t actually expecting to know more about Bukowski and world theorems in this one, so that was a brainy change. Manson also weaves in his life experiences to strengthen his claim on negativity leading to positivity, and most of them were intriguing enough. The one that stood out to me the most was definitely about his friend Josh, and their little trip over a place with a cliff. This is classified as “humor”, so some of the other gut-wrenching stories took a toll in my heart. It’s great on how Manson uses anecdotes to connect to his little points and how it all seems to work out in the end, in spite of the suffering he had to go through. All that being said, this isn’t a perfect piece of non-fiction. It’s entertaining, creative, and definitely “counterintuitive”, but sometimes Manson pushes his points to his readers a little bit too much. Not exactly in a preachy sort of way, but in a repetitive way. Also, half of the humor did fall flat (which I was sort of expecting), but that really didn’t deter me from enjoying the read. I’m not a huge laugher, anyway.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is certainly one of the most creative works of non-fiction I have ever read, well, seeing that I still have yet to explore the realms of this genre and every corner it has. It approaches life in unique roads, driving to the rough paths that lead to the bright finish. It is not the epitome of perfection; it gets pretty rocky at times, the points he makes getting quite repetitive, but it’s his general thought that counts in the end. It’s hard-hitting at times, Manson using his anecdotes to tell the reader that one is not as perfect, talented, or special as he/she might think, but his techniques display the unexpected virtue of ignorance. On how one, when he/she does not give a fuck, will eventually lead to his/her success. It’s ironic, but Manson convinces me that it’s true.