Book Club: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F%$K

A review of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F%$k; A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson, HarperOne Publishers


By Dinah Kraus


So, I'm going to start this with two admissions. One, this is the first self-help book that I've ever actually finished (let alone made it past the first three chapters). Two, I had to google 'components of a book review' before writing this- it wasn't very helpful. In spite of this, I will give it a go and I can thank Manson and his book for my new found confidence to step out of my comfort zone.

I loved this book. 

I loved this book because it reads more like an accessible philosophical inquiry than a self-help book. Manson raises a series of points that challenge the premise of what so many of us have built our lives on and never question, such as the way people constantly strive to be amazing or extraordinary, or try to achieve everything, that when pursued, actually leave us feeling empty. 

We tell ourselves - you can be amazing, you have the potential, you just need to try harder to reach it. But what happens if we fail to reach that potential? We are left feeling that we have somehow fallen short and if we reach it, it becomes not enough and you seek the next goal. Manson’s book, highlighted for me how present it is all around us. 

Unlike most self-help books, rather than pointing out that you are amazing, that you don’t need to look further, that you need to celebrate you, give yourself more- get a massage, buy a new bag, treat yourself and then perhaps you won't be overwhelmed and you'll stop screaming at your kids. Manson suggests instead, that we should actually just accept ourselves, as screamers, accept ourselves as being late, accept ourselves as being messy most of the time except for when people are coming over. This for example, really resonated with me as a mother who feels like she is failing every time she loses her temper with her kids. 

Manson positions us to ask ourselves if we accept who we really are, our mediocrity, we will find that surprisingly, that we actually feel good? He continues to illustrate how detrimental the cycle of self-doubt and self-pressure can be- inhibiting positive action within ourselves and how conversely, acceptance promotes positive action. Because it is this action that flattens down that massive hill of self-doubt overwhelming us.


Manson’s ‘counterintuitive’ approach is all about reanalyzing and exploring our values- imploring us to ask ourselves what do we value? Why are these valuable to us? Are they ours or societies? Or, our mother's?He suggests we redefine our values and encourages us to embrace rejection in order to live a fuller, simpler and more meaningful life. So let’s all stop trying to be happy or amazing and get into this book.

For more Mark Manson visit his site