The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson

Reading Time: 2 minutes

This is a self-help book with a twist. It’s a counterintuitive approach to living a good life possible, without the usual bravado of a typical self help read.

I picked this up with intrepidation, as it had been more than 20 years since I read my last self-help type of book. Back in the mid 1990’s, the DJ of Joe Banana’s who ended becoming a good friend of mine, introduced me to a business which utterly enthralled me at the time. Without going into detail, it was a household products and vitamin multi-level marketing scheme. Please forgive me for being sucked in, as I had no idea what this was at the time. It just looked like a simple way to reach my financial goals and freedom.

Needless to say, the business never got off the ground. But what I did get from it was an introduction into some of the greatest self-help books written at that time. Books such as 

  • How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R Covey
  • Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
  • The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale
  • See You at the Top by Zig Ziglar
  • The Magic of Thinking Big by David J Schwartz
  • And many more i’ve forgotten about


These books are highly valued and definitely recommended. But I felt at the point of life I had reached in 2018, after already reading such highly respected books, there was little point in reading other self help affirmation books.

However, as this book clearly had another vibe running through it which is easily gleaned by the title, as well as being highly recommended by many of my educators, I decided to pick it up. And what a fantastic decision that was, because this turned out to be one of my favourite reads ever.

The Subtle Art is a new look at an old genre. And if there’s one thing it is not, is subtle. Manson dives head first into modern societies faibles, and attacks the “think positive to succeed” preachers who have never had to overcome everyday challenges in their lives.

“F*ck positivity” Manson says “Sometimes things are fucked up and you have to deal with it”. Not everyone can be extraordinary, not everyone can follow their dreams at all costs. “The path of happiness is full of shit heaps and shame”. These are just some of the laugh out loud brutally honest comments he comes out with. Statements which hit you in the gut with self reflective recognition, making you cringe and laugh at the same time, which ultimately release the pent up frustrations of previous failures or wrong decisions made in your life. Knowing perfection is an unachievable goal at the end of a road covered in shit, is liberating and uplifting.

This book comes in the top must-read books I can recommend. A book on a very serious subject, written in a bright modern uplifting way, shooting down the positivity preachers who make us feel inadequate for not being perfectly enthusiastic about life and the future. Life is tough. Feeling positive all the time is impossible. People can be horrible and not everyone has the best intentions. 

Know it, breathe it, feel it, read it, and move forward in life with an attitude of not giving a f*ck about what others think. Forge your own path, in your own way, and be as content as you can in the life you have built for yourself.

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