Reading Time: 3 minutes
“In my life, I have given a fuck about many things. I have also not given a fuck about many things. And like the road not taken, it was the fucks not given that made all the difference.” – The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck
This is meant to be more of a book report, than a review. In particular, I want to highlight three key take-aways from the book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck: The Counterintuitive Approach to Living A Good Life by Mark Manson, that I found impactful. This also serves as a way for me to recall influential points in the book.
The title is certainly catchy. Maybe a bit gimmicky. The content of the book turned out to be a little different than I was anticipating. Not in a bad way. It just was. And a lot of the themes are ones that I have encountered elsewhere – not to say they are not relevant or important or presented with a unique perspective here.
Three take-aways from the book:
- Not Giving A F*ck
This is the theme of deciding what is important and not important in your life. You should care about things that advance your goals and priorities, and care significantly less about those things that do not. As I have written previously, the harder part and the part I still need to work on is what are those goals.
Again, a bit gimmicky. But the heuristic of saying to yourself “I have no more f*cks to give here” is certainly memorable and helpful. It has helped me in more than one meeting.
“Most of us struggle throughout our lives by giving too many fucks in situations where fucks do not deserve to be given. We give too many fucks about the rude gas station attendant who gave us our change in nickels. We give too many fucks when a show we liked was canceled on TV. We give too many fucks when our coworkers don’t bother asking us about our awesome weekend.”
“The idea of not giving a fuck is a simple way of reorienting our expectations for life and choosing what is important and what is not. Developing this ability leads to something I like to think of as a kind of ‘practical enlightenment.’ “
- Most Things Are Unimportant
Most of our lives are pretty small and unimportant in the grand scheme of things. We would prefer not to think about this too much. I would also add that our view of the world tends to be pretty limited and incomplete.
“All day, every day, we are flooded with the truly extraordinary. The best of the best. The worst of the worst. The greatest physical feats. The funniest jokes. The most upsetting news. The scariest threats. Nonstop. Our lives today are filled with information from the extremes of the bell curve of human experience, because in the media business that’s what gets eyeballs, and eyeballs bring dollars. That’s the bottom line. Yet the vast majority of life resides in the humdrum middle. The vast majority of life is unextraordinary, indeed quite average.”
“It’s these dynamics that plague us now. We are so materially well off, yet so psychologically tormented in so many low-level and shallow ways.”
- Problems & Negative Experiences = Meaning
This is a theme that I have encountered more and more in my recent reading. And I wholeheartedly agree with the idea. Problems are a feature, not a bug. I stole that from somewhere.
I really enjoy solving problems. Even better. I really enjoy solving problems on teams with people I respect. This has been a good self-learning for me as I try to set some goals.
“The desire for more positive experience is itself a negative experience. And, paradoxically, the acceptance of one’s negative experience is itself a positive experience.”
“Being open with your insecurities paradoxically makes you more confident and charismatic around others. The pain of honest confrontation is what generates the greatest trust and respect in your relationships. Suffering through your fears and anxieties is what allows you to build courage and perseverance. Seriously, I could keep going, but you get the point. Everything worthwhile in life is won through surmounting the associated negative experience.”
“Problems never stop; they merely get exchanged and/or upgraded. Happiness comes from solving problems.”
“True happiness occurs only when you find the problems you enjoy having and enjoy solving.”
A few other recent book reviews:
- Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction
- Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
- Fortune’s Formula
- The Hard Thing About Hard Things
- The Conscious Parent