The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

About the author:

Mark Manson (born March 9, 1984) is an American self-help author, blogger, and entrepreneur. He is the author of the website ‘’ and two books, ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counter-intuitive Approach to Living a Good Life’, and ‘Models: Attract Women through Honesty’. He is also the CEO and founder of Infinity Squared Media LLC.

Publication Year: 2016


‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck’ is not about not giving a fuck about anything at all but it’s about giving a fuck about what’s important and immediate in your life. After reading the index of the book, I was sure I was going love it but it just didn’t live up to my expectations.

I don’t think I found anything particularly life-changing, as it wasn’t something I haven’t heard before. I get that the book was supposed to be realistic and all but it wasn’t that impressive to me. I came across some useful points and some points that I didn’t agree with. 

Takeaway :

✔ “The backward law”—the idea that the more you pursue feeling better all the time, the less satisfied you become, as pursuing something only reinforces the fact that you lack it in the first place.

✔ We have to take responsibility for everything that happens in our life, even if it’s not our fault or something out of our control.

✔ Who you are is defined by what you’re willing to struggle for. Managing our struggles leads to lifelong fulfillment and happiness. 

✔ Your actions actually don’t matter that much in the grand scheme of things; the vast majority of your life will be boring and not noteworthy, and that’s okay.

✔ What is objectively true about your situation is not as important as how you come to see the situation, how you choose to measure it and value it.

✔ Growth generates happiness, not a long list of arbitrary achievements.

✔ Action isn’t just the effect of motivation; it’s also the cause of it.

Criticism :

The author gives the example of Charles Bukowski who got famous without trying. The chapter itself is named ‘Don’t try’ and he said that self-improvement and success aren’t the same things and all the conventional life advises i.e. the positive stuff is fixating on what you lack. 

Does this mean I should give up and accept myself the way I am, even if I know I can get better? Self-improvement might not guarantee success but it guarantees growth and progress so I don’t think I’ll take this advice. I don’t believe in ‘Be who you are’, but ‘Be the best you can be’ which implies giving your 100% in everything.

He says constant positivity is a form of avoidance, not a valid solution to life’s problems. While I agree it’s not a solution, but it’s not a form of avoidance. I don’t think it’s possible for people to be positive all the time. But, being positive in a difficult situation is accepting that the situation is bad and approaching it effectively.

Having a positive outlook enables you to cope with stressful situations in a better way. It’s about having the mindset that things are worse but they’re going to get better. Even I feel better and motivated when I’m thinking optimistically.

He criticizes the positivity/consumer culture which tells us to be more accepting and open to possibilities and says that we need to reject things. He mentions the paradox of choice: the more options we’re given, the less satisfied we become with whatever we choose.

Well, choosing something is essentially rejecting the alternatives and of course, we need to reject things but we need to know what we are rejecting and what’s good enough to commit to and we won’t know that unless we’re open to possibilities. 

Being open to possibilities is more about doing things out of your comfort zone. I don’t know who said it but found this quote: “To get something you have never had, you have to do something you’ve never done.” I still agree with the author that less is better.

Conclusion :

Anyway, that was my interpretation and overall, it was an ok read. It would be perfect for people who don’t like the annoying positive self-help books. I’m one of those annoying positive people who find positivity uplifting.

The author presented some points that are worth reading like the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationship, happiness, entitlement, memories. I’d suggest you read and see for yourself if you like it.

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I'm an introvert, agnostic-atheist, insatiable reader, fitness enthusiast, daydreamer, music-lover, cat-adorer, eternal optimist with a touch of cynicism, curious soul, annoying preacher, OCD for cleanliness with a teeny affinity for messiness!

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