As part of the 2019 Reading Challenge, I had selected The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck as a ‘book that will improve a specific area of your life. ‘ I struggle with caring too much about a LOT of things. Too much about what people think, about if I responded the right way to that email, that Karen on the 3rd floor left her garbage outside her door overnight again. I needed some help here and based on this no-nonsense title, Mark Manson might have just been the guy to do the job.
The first chapter was a bit off-putting. I don’t care (oh, one thing I guess I don’t give a F*ck about!) about cursing, but when every word is F*ck, it starts to feel really gimmicky and redundant. I started to count. Over the next four consecutive pages, there was on average TEN times PER page that Manson said F*ck – sometimes it was just three times in one sentence. Through all that noise, I almost gave up.
By the second chapter, he started to calm down for the rest of the book. That was a relief. Now with the incessant cursing over, it was time to get to more of the meat of the book – simply prioritizing where and what to channel all of your energy into.
There were a few good reminders and anecdotes – I loved one anecdote about Pablo Picasso in relation to failure and success and also the bit comparing the stories about Dave Mustaine, Megadeath and Metallica to The Beatles, Ringo Starr, and Pete Best. These were fantastic illustrations of various points regarding perception that I appreciated and will be able to reference in the future with ease.
Unfortunately, I felt that was the most that I got out of this book.
There were a lot of nuggets of truth through the book but they were just recycled pieces of advice and philosophies from Buddha and Sartre, with the word F*ck sprinkled through it to look new and innovative.
My other issue was that there was a lot of casual misogyny and backdoor bragging littered throughout the book. Manson was very focused on reminding readers about his past sexual escapades, bringing it up over and over again as a source of pride rather than something he learned or grew from since. Much of his rich, white, male privilege leaked through all over the pages and it made things a bit difficult to take seriously or even stomach at times.
I did walk away with a few reminders that I needed, but it certainly wasn’t eye-opening nor worth the obnoxious journey I endured for that payoff.