The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck Summary

If you have read a few self-help books you might have noticed some similarities especially in thinking and being positive. Mark Manson takes a different approach in his bestseller The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck. Do not be fooled by the blunt title this book is packed to the rafters with profound wisdom. No wonder more than 3 million copies have been sold.

Mark Manson states in this book that so many things to give a f*ck about therefore you need to choose the important ones. Choose your f*cks wisely because you have so many f*cks to give.

This Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck summary discusses the chapters of the book and some of the teachings that Mark Manson is trying to put forward in his page-turner.

DON’T TRY – in this chapter, Mark talks about not trying too hard to be just like the world wants you to be, more of this and more of that. He states that the fixation on the positive only serves to remind you more and more of what you are not. To him, therefore, you are not supposed to give a f*ck about what doesn’t matter because like it or not you are always choosing to give a fuck about something.

Mark describes his book as one that is not about teaching you to gain and achieve but rather how to lose and let go. He says that it is about taking inventory of your life and removing all the unimportant things, so you only have the important to give a f*ck about.

HAPPINESS IS A PROBLEM – life in itself is a suffering. All people suffer in this life, but the level of pain is different. The rich suffer because of their riches, the poor suffer because they lack, and those without families suffer because they do not have a family. The people with a family suffer because of it. Many people, therefore, attach happiness as having what they do not have which is why it becomes elusive. If I have X, then I will be happy.

To be truly happy then you need to solve problems. Problems are a part of life and only solving them can make you happy.

YOU ARE NOT SPECIAL – if everyone is special and meant to be exceptional, then it also means that no one is special. “Once you accept the premise that a life is worthwhile only if it is truly notable and celebrated, then you basically accept the fact that most of the human population (including yourself) sucks and is worthless.

And this mindset can quickly turn dangerous, to both yourself and others.” To really have an exceptional life you only need to improve continually and love the life that you already have.

THE VALUE OF SUFFERING – there is value in suffering and therefore to improve your life you have to prioritize your values. Choose better things to give a f*ck about and according to Mark when you give better f*cks you get better problems, and your life improves. Do not, therefore, be blaming other things about your suffering, instead take it head-on.

YOU ARE ALWAYS CHOOSING – you are responsible for all the things in your life no matter the external circumstances. This is because of the choices that you are continually making. When you acknowledge that you become responsible for everything that happens in your life. And as Mark puts it “with great responsibility comes great power.”

YOU ARE WRONG ABOUT EVERYTHING (BUT SO AM I) – when you accept that you are always wrong, then you know you are not perfect. When you learn something new, you become less wrong and approach perfection, but you will never be perfect. This kind of thinking will prevent you from becoming obsessed with being “right” and perfection. You start questioning your motivations and intentions. Therefore, you take a safe approach to the things you do.

FAILURE IS THE WAY FORWARD – “Improvement at anything is based on thousands of tiny failures, and the magnitude of your success is based on how many times you’ve failed at something.” Without failure, you would not learn and become better at whatever it is you are doing. In everything you do remember that pain is a part of the process.

Also, if you have to do something, just start, and you will have all the motivation you need. Do not sit and wait for anything.

THE IMPORTANCE OF SAYING NO – you cannot accept everything in life. You need to learn how to say no otherwise it would mean you stand for nothing. If you accept just everything that comes your way, then your life is without meaning. You do not have a purpose.

To be able to say no then you must value something. If you appreciate something, then you give a f*ck about it, and you will have to reject whatever is not that something that you value.

AND THEN YOU DIE – “Yet, in a bizarre, backward way, death is the light by which the shadow of all of life’s meaning is measured. Without death, everything would feel inconsequential, all experience arbitrary, all metrics and values suddenly zero.”

What I Like About the Book

I like that this book is written in a witty and humorous approach that makes it exciting to read. If you do not mind the blunt language, then this book cuts across the generational divide reaching with wisdom that will work even for those that aren’t millennials.

I like the honesty in the book and the no B.S approach that Mark Manson has taken at pounding his message home. In the thousands of F*cks used in this book, there are just as many bouts of wisdom in this pageturner.

Why You Should Read the Book

This book is a great read when you need to hear something different from the conventional message in many self-help books. As seen in this The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck summary, this book is about taking a stoic approach to life. Difficult times might be there, but when you know where to direct your f*cks, then you will move past them even when you angry about it.

​Next summary: The War Of Art

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