Book Review #1: “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” by Marc Manson

This is going to be the first of many book reviews. Anyone that knows me knows that I have always been more of a movie person than a reader, but having discovered the wonder of audio book apps like Audible, I have read more in the last six months than the whole last decade!

So far, I seem to have picked a lot of really great books to read, starting with this incredible self-improvement treatise.

Of all the books I’ve read since discovering Audible, The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck has absolutely been my favorite. Being the militant optimist that I am, its glib title was quite the turnoff for me for many years. However, I am very glad I took a chance on it.

What seemed like a manifesto for how to be an asshole turned out, in fact, to be pretty much the opposite.

It’s crazy how much this book reveals about toxic thinking that we all incorporate into our daily lives — what Manson calls “shitty values.” I finished this book around the same time I watched The Social Dilemma on Netflix, and found many salient points repeated there about how we get trapped into unhealthy dependency on being liked through social media. Truth be told, this book has gotten me to seriously re-evaluate my entire perspective on everything.

I think what I found the most surprising is how clear it is that this was written from a place of genuine empathy, and its brutal honesty fused with shockingly profound insights are incredibly powerful. This book doesn’t so much suggest that everything is meaningless and that it’s pointless to try anything, but rather it encourages apathy as a sort of tactical perspective. It is philosophically closer to Buddha than to Kant, and the strategy really does lead to compassionate and healthy ends. I noticed a big change in my life when I started applying its principles, and that’s a lot more than I expected from a book like this.

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