The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck
by Mark Manson

  • Personal Development
  • Ashto = 5/10
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The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*CK

The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck – by Mark Manson

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*CK is a very popular book – it’s been at the top of the charts for a couple of year – so we thought it was time we should check it out. IT’s a very conversational, cheeky, matter-of-fact, not-holds-barred approach. Manson tells people what they need to hear – he doesn’t sugar coat it in the traditional ‘self-improvement’ manner.

‘A counterintuitive approach to living a good life’


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The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*CK Summary

Chapter 1 – Don’t try 

“The key to a good life is not giving a fuck about more; it’s giving a fuck about less, giving a fuck about only what is true and immediate and important. ” 

You are constantly bombarded with messages to give a fuck about everything

Give a fuck about a new TV. Give a fuck about having a better vacation than your coworkers. Give a fck about buying that new lawn ornament. Give a fuck about having the right kind of slefie stick.

WHY? My guess: because giving a fuck about more stuff is good for business

Self Improvement

“Self-improvement and success often occur together. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the same thing. “

Our culture today is obsessively focused on unrealistic expectations: 

– be happier 

– be healthier 

– be the best/better than the rest 

– be smarter/faster/richer/sexier/more popular/more productive/more envied/more admired

 – be perfect and amazing and crap out 12-karat nuggets of gold before breakfast each morning while kissing your selfie-ready spouse and two and a half kids goodbye. Then % your helicopter to your wonderfully fulfilling job, where you spend your days doing incredibly meaningful work that’s likely to save the planet one day

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Self help is all about what you lack

  • But when you stop and really think about it, conventional life advice-all the positive and happy self-help stuff we hear the time-is actually fixating on what you lack.
  • It lasers in what you perceive your personal shortcomings and failures to already be, and then emphasizes them for you.
  • You learn about the best ways to make money because you feel you don’t have enough money already.
  • stand in front of nirror and repeat affirmations saying that you’re beautiful because you feei as though you’re not beautitul already

You follow dating and relationship advice because you feel that v\ re unlovable already.

  • try goofy visualization exercises about being more successful because you feel as though you ren t successful enough

The Smallest Dog Barks the Loudest – Saying in Texas

  • A confident man doesn’t feel a need to prove that he’s confident. A rich woman doesn’t feel a need to convince anybody that she’s rich. Either you are or you aren’t.
  • And if you’re dreaming of something all the time, then you’re reinforcing the same unconscious reality over and over: that you are not that.

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,

“The more desperately you want to be happy and loved, the lonelier and more afraid you become, regardless of those who surround you.:

“Everything worthwhile in life is won through surmounting the associated negative experience”

Any attempt to escape the negative, to avoid it or quash it or silence it, only backfired

“The avoidance of suffering IS a form of suffering”

“The avoidance of struggle IS a struggle”

“The denial of failure IS a failure”

“Hiding what is shameful IS itself a form of shame”


The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck

Subtlety #1: Not giving a fuck doesn’t mean being indifferent; it means being comfortable with being different

When we say> ‘‘Damn, watch out, Mark Manson just don’t give a fuck,” we don’t mean that Mark Manson doesn’t care about anything; on the contrary, we mean that Mark Manson doesn’t care about adversity in the face of his goals, doesn’t care about pissing some people off to do what he feels is right or important or noble. We mean that Mark Manson is the type of guy who would write about himself in third person just because he thought it was the right thing to do. He just doesn’t give a tuck.

No matter where you go, there’s a five-hundred-pound load of shit waiting for you. And that’s perfectly fine. The point isn’t to get away from the shit. The point is to find the shit you enjoy dealing with.

Subtlety #2: To not give a fuck about adversity you must first give a fuck about something more important than adversity

The problem with people who hand out fucks like ice cream at a goddamn summer camp is that they don’t have anything more fuck-worthy to dedicate their fucks to.

Finding something important and meaningful in your life is perhaps the most productive use of your time and energy.

Subtlety #3: Whether you realize it or not, you are always choosing what to give a fuck about.

What the fuck is the point of this book?

This book will help you think a little bit more clearly about what you’re choosing to find important in life and what you’re choosing to find unimportant.


Chapter 2: Happiness is a Problem

  • Pain spurs action
  • problems never stop; they merely get exchanged and/or upgraded.
  • Happiness comes from solving problems. The keyword here is “solving.” if you’re avoiding your problems or feel you don’t have any problems, then you’re going to make yourself miserable.
  • secret sauce is in the solving of the problems, not in not having problems in the first place

“to be happy we need something to solve. Happiness is therefore a form of action”

Happiness is a constant work-in-progress, because solving problems is a constant work-in-progress—the solutions to today’s problems will lay the foundation for tomorrow’s problems, and so on. True happiness occurs only when You find the problems you enjoy having and enjoy solving.

Whatever your problems are, the concept is the same: solve problems; be happy.

Where do people fuck things up?

  1. Denial

Some people deny that their problems exist in the first place

And because they deny reality, they must .distantly delude or distract themselves from reality. This may make them feel good in the short term, but it leads to a life of insecurity, neuroticism, and emotional repression.

  1. Victim mentality

Some choose to believe that there is nothing they can do to solve their problems, even when they in fact could.

Victims seek to blame others for their problems or blame outside circumstances. This may make them feel better in the short term, but it leads to a life of anger, helplessness, and despair.

Emotions are overrated 

Much as the pain of touching a hot stove teaches you not to touch it again, the sadness of being alone teaches you not to do the things that made you feel so alone again. Emotions are simply biological signals designed to nudge you m the direction of beneficial change.

Negative emotions are a call to action. 

When you feel them it’s because you’re supposed to do something. Positive emotions, on the other hand, are rewards for taking the action. When you feel them, life seems simple and there is nothing else to do but enjoy it. Then, like everything else, the positive emotions go away, because more problems inevitably emerge

But then there are those people who overidentity with their emotions. Everything is justified for no other reasoa than they felt it.

Don’t follow your emotions

Decision-making based on emotional intuition, without the aid of reason to keep it in line, pretty much always sucks. You know who bases their entire lives on their emotions? threeyear-old kids. And dogs. You know what else three-yearand dogs do? Shit on the carpet.

Choose your struggle

It’s a mountain of a dream and a mile-high climb to the top. And what it took me a long time to discover is that I didn’t like to climb much. I just liked to imagine the summit

It’s a never-ending upward spiral. If you think at any point you’re allowed to stop climbing, I’m afraid you-remissing the pint: THE JOY IS IN THE CLIMB ITSELF


Chapter 3 – You are not special 

(1) I’m awesome and the rest of you suck, so I deserve special treatment

(2) I suck and the rest of your are awesome, so I deserve special treatment

The tyranny of exceptionalism

“We are all, for the most part, pretty average people”

If you’re not going to be extraordinary or special, what’s the point?

“people who become great at something become great because they understand that they’re not already great they are mediocre, they are average—and that they could be so much better”


Chapter 4 – the value of suffering

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

Self-awareness is like an onion- There are multiple layers to it, and the more you peel them back, the more likely you re going to start crying at inappropriate times

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1st Layer: Simply understanding one’s emotions

2nd Layer: Ability to ask WHY we feel certain emotions

3rd Layer: Personal Values – WHY do I consider this to be a success/failure? – How am I choosing to measure myself? – By what standard am I judging myself and everyone around me?

Value = the thing you hold dear

Metric = how you measure your progress toward that value

eg: Value = being close to your family, Metric = calling/texting/emailing eachother every day If you don’t get a text one day, you feel like you’re failing at your value. But YOU MIGHT NOT BE USING THE RIGHT METRIC – it might be better to instead measure the number of dinners you have together in a year – or that you’re fully togther when you’re together (not dealing with work issues or checking the footy scores) – or going on a family trip once a year Same value, different metric.

1) assess your values, make sure you’re choosing what you truly value

2) assess the metrics. are your current metrics the best way to measure your progress toward the value? what might be a better, more realistic/accurate metric?

Shitty Values 

  1. Pleasure 
  2. Material Success 
  3. Always being right 
  4. Staying positive


We have poor values—that is, poor standards wt set for ourselves and others—we are essentially giving fucks the things that don’t matter, things that in fact make our life worse. But when we choose better values, we are able to divert our fucks to something better—toward things that matter, things that improve the state of our well-being that generate happiness, pleasure, and success as side effects

This, in a nutshell, is what “self-improvement” is really about: prioritizing better values, choosing better things to a fuck about

Everyone wants to drink cocktails in the bahamas… but the question is priorities. What are the values you prioritize above everything else, and that therefore influence your decision-making more than anything else?


Chapter 5 – you are always choosing 

  • We should choose being responsible
  • Jocko Willink extreme ownership

Responsibility fault fallacy

  • With great responsibility comes great power
  • You are already choosing what to give a fuck about every single day. Change is as simple about choosing to give a fuck about something else


Ch6 – you’re wrong about everything (but so am I)

  • 500 years ago cartographers believed Cali was an island, doctor’s believed slicing an arm open and causing bleeding cured diseases, and woman believed rubbing dog urine on their faces had anti aging benefits, the astronomers believed the sun ran around the Earth

Be careful about what you believe

  • In 1988 a journalist and feminist Meredith Maran came to the realization that her father had sexually abused her as a child
  • This horrified and split the whole family
  • Then 1996 she came to another conclusion, her father didn’t sexually abuse her (oops)
  • With the help of a well-intentioned therapist, she had actually invented the memory

The telephone game (Chinese whispers)

  • When you say one thing and pass it through the ear of 10 others then it becomes different
  • Whenever we retell a story it gets distorted a little bit
  • We tell it when we are drunk and it changes even more, then we go to the revised and drunk edition
  • And 5 years later, the swear on the mothers grave truer than true story is only 50% true


  • The therapist demanded over and over to remember something she can’t remember, and voila the memory popped up

Value of not knowing

  • The more you try and be certain about something, the more uncertain achnd insecure you will feel
  • The more you brace being uncertain, the more comfortable you will feel in knowing what you don’t know


  1. Is it possible I’m wrong?
  2. If I am wrong, what would it mean?
  3. Which causes a bigger problem, being right or being wrong??


Ch7 – failure is the way forward 

  • Learn to sustain the pain you’ve chosen. When you choose a new value, you are choosing to introduce a new form of pain in your life. Relish it. Savor it. Welcome it with open arms. Then act despite it. 


Ch 8 – the importance of saying no 

  • There is increased opportunity and upside in rejecting alternatives and distractions in favour of what truly matters


Ch 9 – and then you die

  • The willing and exuberant interfacing of one’s own mortality has ancient roots.
  • The stoics of ancient Greece and Rome inplored people to keep death in mind at all times, in order to appreciate life more and remain humble in the face of uncertainties
  • In Buddhism the practice of meditation is sometimes taught as the preparation for death
  • How will the world be different and better when you’re gone? What mark will you have made? What influence will you have caused?
  • Without acknowledging the ever present gaze of death, the superficial will appear important and the important will appear superficial
  • The only way to be comfortable with death is to understand and see yourself as something bigger than yourself. To choose values that stretch beyond serving yourself, that are simple and immediate and controllable and tolerant of the chaotic world around you


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