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“The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck” by Mark Manson | Book Summary & Review

The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck

“The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck” by  Mark Manson is a book that guide towards living a good and meaningful life but not in a conventional way.

Unlike most self-help book, this book is not inspire you to always have a positive attitude but this book teaches you to give a f*ck only that matters to you most and letting go everything else.

No one can always control what life will throw at us but we can only control how we respond to it.

As Mark Manson says-

What we get out of life is not determined by the good feelings we desire, but by what bad feelings we are willing and able to sustain to get us to those good feelings.”

Who should Read it

As this book has theme that will impact every person’s mind at some point and one can easily relate their present or past situation with the writer’s words, but you should definitely give it a read, if you are-

-One who feels his/her emotions make them out of their own control

-One who is easily affects with others thinking and words

-One who is looking for a self help book with practicality

Book in Three Sentences

1.      We, human being are wired to become dissatisfied with whatever we have and feel satisfied by only what we do not have. So, choose what is more important to you and do not let other things bother you.


2.    Everybody wants an amazing life, financial independence and a happy life but no one wants to suffer the pain of struggle and sacrifice which comes with our desired life.

Our success is only determined by “What pain we want to sustain” and “what are we willing to struggle for?”


3.    Pain, suffering and failure are inevitable in life . Once you become comfortable to face whatever life throws at you by choosing what matters to you and how much, you will become invincible. 

Meaning of Subtle Art of not Giving a F*ck


·       Subtlety #1: Not giving a f*ck is not about being indifferent. It only means you are comfortable with being different. Also, You cannot be always comfortable with being different to everything in life.


You will always find adversity in your life goals, so, Do not say – F*ck it – to everything in life but only to unimportant things.


Wherever you go, you always find sh*t do deal with and in this process, you will find your presence an inspiration to someone but at the same time also an embarrassment and joke to others. Choose and act what matters you most.


·       Subtlety #2: To not give a f*ck about adversity, you must first value about something more important than adversity.


If you find yourself consistently engaging in unnecessary and unimportant things, It means you don’t have much going on in your life to give a legitimate f*ck about.


·       Subtlety #3: Whether you realize it or not, you are always choosing what to care or value about or as Mark Manson says what to give a f*ck about.

The Art is being selective about truly f*ck worthy events or incidents of life.

When one learns this art of choosing between what is important and what is not – one will master the subtle art of not giving a F*ck.


Key Lessons from Book

In The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Mark Manson has shared various anecdotes and his own life events to prove his point.

One will always find something to learn from his philosophies and take towards life, and my favourite ones are here-

1.      The key to life is to choose what you care most about and not give a f*ck about anything else.


    2.    Happiness is a form of action and particularly solving problems is what make us happy. To be happy we always need something to solve, not having problem is impossible.


    3.    We are always a part of growth process and certainty is enemy of growth. When we learn something new, we do not go from “wrong” to “right”.

Rather, we go from wrong to slightly less wrong.


    4.    Emotions are part of the equation of our lives, but not the entire equation. We shouldn’t always trust our emotions but make a habit of questioning them.

    5.    Either you are or you are not. Don’t try to be somebody you’re not. Only follow those values that you can control. Do not fake it.

Book Summary

The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck

This book has nine chapters and Mark Manson honestly and brutally take all of us from what we are doing or thinking wrong to ourselves to what our right approach towards life should be.

I am summarising here the key insights of this book by mixing his own words with my understanding from book-

The Feedback Loop from Hell-

As Mark says we human have luxury of thoughts and we do give a lot of value to our thoughts that most of time we are not able to control our own feelings or thinking and feeling trap inside our own mind.

If you are feeling anxious or bad about something, then this feeling caught you and now you are feeling bad or anxious about feeling in this way. This something that Mark says as – The feedback loop from hell.

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. 

And to break this feedback loop, one need to discipline his own mind so that he can choose what is worth thinking or what is not.

“By not giving a fuck that you feel bad, you short-circuit the Feedback Loop from Hell; you say to yourself, ‘I feel like shit, but who gives a fuck?’ And then, as if sprinkled by magic fuck-giving fairy dust, you stop hating yourself for feeling so bad.”

Choose Your Struggle-  

If people are asked- ‘what they want from life?’, they would answer something like- ‘I want to be happy and have a great family and a job I like.’

But the important to consider to yourself is – what pain do you want in your life? What are you willing to struggle for?

These are the questions that determines how our life going to come out because answer of these question shows your willingness to choose the struggle.

And, happiness requires struggle and our struggle determines our success.

You are not Special-

Most of us are quite average at most of things. Even if you think you are exceptional at one or two things, you are certainly average or below average at rest of the things.

And, this is completely normal.

Our attention is limited and this is why only extra ordinary things captures our attention and we started to feel an urge to feel extraordinary in some way or another.

 Stop trying to measure your odds or difficulties with others as we can’t.

The truth is there’s no such thing as a personal or unique problem.

If you’ve got a problem, chances are millions of other people have had it in the past, now or future.

That doesn’t minimize the hurt or you aren’t a victim — it just means you’re not special.

The Value of Suffering- 

Self-awareness is like an onion — the more you peel back, the more you are going to cry at inappropriate times.

The first layer of the self-awareness onion is a simple understanding of one’s emotions. For example – When you feel happy or sad or excited. Find your emotional blind spots.

The second layer of the self-awareness onion is an ability to ask why we feel certain emotions. These questions are difficult and often take months or years to answer — most people need to go to therapy to hear these questions asked for the first time.

These questions help us understand the root cause of the emotions that overwhelms us.

The 3rd layer of the self-awareness onion is our personal values-questions like –  Why do I consider this to be successful/failure? How do I choosing to measure myself? By what standard am I judging myself and everyone around me?

This layer is very important as values underlie everything we are and everything we choose to do. Speaking truth to ourselves is a key to understand our problem and our honest answers can lead to us towards solution.

But being honest to yourself is important.

Problems are inevitable, but the meaning of each problem is not.

“If suffering is inevitable, if our problems in life are unavoidable, then the question we should be asking is not “How do I stop suffering?” but “Why am I suffering—for what purpose?”

” When we force ourselves to stay positive at all times, we deny the existence of our life’s problems. And when we deny our problems, we rob ourselves of the chance to solve them and generate happiness”.

The “Do Something” Principle-

This principle is one of my major learning from this book as Mark says –“ if you lack the motivation to make an important change in your life Do Something.”

Most of time we do not feel like accomplishing our set goals as we feel like we are not motivated enough to start. We wait for some sort of motivation to come that inspire us to take action towards our goal.

But, Mark Manson has given a more practical Mantra towards fulfilment of our goals that is to do something.

Only your regular action can inspire you and keep you motivated to reach your goals.

 Action  Inspiration Motivation

“If you’re stuck on a problem, don’t sit there and think about it; just start working on it. Even if you don’t know what you’re doing, the simple act of working on it will eventually cause the right ideas to show up in your head.”

“Action isn’t just the effect of motivation, it’s also the cause of it.”


Final Words

This book does not aim to inspire you to achieve, but rather, to cause you to take responsibility of your life and what you really want.

As writer Mark Manson says-“This book doesn’t give a f*ck about alleviating your problems or your pain,”

But using his bold and honest words to give a reality check about our personal problems, suffering and expectations, this book teaches us to embrace our mediocrity and value only things that we feel important to achieve if ever faces the death.

Also, he beautifully uses the “backward law” of Alan Watts to help us to understand the reason why a lot of efforts we do for self-improvement don’t really work.

These are all the things that make this book different from conventional self help books.

And, I am sure you will definitely find something about this book, that will change your way towards life or your problems.




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