The Subtile Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson
I bet at least one of your friends went on #DryJanuary or #Veganury, another one bought the gym membership that will never be used... Oh, I've also heard that, apparently, #Januhairy is now a thing! You don't want to know what kind of #NewYearResolution is that... While everyone feed their ego by giving false, too optimistic promises to themselves and everyone else around them... My New Year resolution is to learn "The Subtile Art of Not Giving a Fuck". Thank you, Mark Manson, and nice talking to you. I do give a fuck about what you have to say. The book consists of nine chapters with rather controversial titles, giving that it falls into the #selfhelp #guides category. "Don't Try", "Happiness Is a Problem", "You Are Not Special" - doesn't sound too motivating, does it? Following the counterintuitive author's approach to living a good life, I allowed myself to begin this #bookreview from the end - with the quotation from the final chapter "...And Then You Die":
"Nothing makes you #present and #mindful like being mere inches away from your own death." - Mr. Manson states, depicting the breathtaking moment of clarity on the top of the Good Hope Cape in South Africa. "Is this it? " "If so, what is your legacy?" Death is the only moral compass we can trust; it is the only thing we can know with certainty.
I start my New Year with the acceptance of my own death. It could be my last year; heck, it could be my last day. So, let's live giving all the right fucks and not wasting a single one! That is the main point Manson conveys. Going backwards from the final breath we take and the final point the author makes, it is evident that accepting the notion of death is crucial, in order to be guided by the right metrics of life, so we would leave the legacy that gives the meaning to our life. The question is: are there right universal values, or is it highly subjective? If so, how do we define the right ones?
The truth is that our lives consist of nothing else but constant choices: whether to get out of bed at 6am and start our day like a champ or call in sick and have a Netflix marathon; to make the bed or leave it messy, probably with some chicken wings leftovers stuck from last night; to say hi to the neighbour or remain eternally antisociable; to feel sorry for ourselves and blame life for everything bad that happens to us, or suck it up and take responsibility for whatever the fuck happens in your life.
Usually, most of us drift through the river of life just like that: like a peace of dirty diaper from a sewage. Until something life-changing happens that sparks the realisation that we, individually, are responsible for everything in our lives, no matter the external circumstances. It can be hitting the rock bottom, destroying your career, losing most valuable relationship or, in Manson's case, death of a dear friend.
We don't always control what happens to us. But we always control how we interpret what happens to us, as well as how we respond.
Once we accept the fact that we're all going to die and that choosing to not respond to the events in our lives is still a response to the events in our lives - we can start building our values, in order to leave the legacy. Simples, no?
Manson does a great job being as clear as possible about what he wants to say and how he wants to say it: drifting the reader's perception towards his truth through the different angle, as oppose to just boldly stating it with no backing up. He leads us to the path of realisation by taking a counterintuitive statement, such as "you're wrong about everything", and makes us to realise why is that the case. And more so, why is that the correct way of looking at things.
Find beauty in darkness - my way of looking at it. Genius. The catchy side of the book is how the author makes the reader to relate to every point he makes by engaging us into a particular story of a well-known person or a legend - or a personal story taken from his own life. In this way, you cannot help but to compare the stories and think... What is mine? For years, Mark Manson was a struggling entrepreneur, creating dating sites and writing, well, mostly about everything to anyone that no one would read. Now - selling millions of copies and sharing his story of success - not bad, huh? If nothing, that inspires to start doing something: success doesn't happen from doing nothing. As a passionate blogger, Manson's writing style is far from romantic or rich with fancy words, that sometimes even the author himself cannot properly elaborate on. It is very straight forwards, oh, and lot's of the word FUCK, which might not come as a surprise.
If comparing the book to others in the market, Manson is in a sweet spot between the hundreds, if not thousands, of self-help books, written by people who feel that cracked the magical code to successful life, but not a single one of them says anything new... and the books that are widely acknowledged as revolutionary, simply because they've been written by the people who are actually changing lives, like Tony Robbins, Russell Brand or... the Dalai Lama! Yes, in a way, I have just compared Manson to Dalai Lama. It's time to stop right here... All in all, it is an interesting read that makes you think and re-assess your values in life. Far from revolutionary but very compelling. Not sure about the writing style itself and the language used, but there surely are lots of funny moments that could not be expressed in any other way!