I have been hearing about Mark Manson’s book for sometime. Which is why I included it in my last purchase from Book Depository: more out of curiosity than anything else. The orange dust-jacket claimed it sold over 3 million copies. But is The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck really worth the dough?
It took me little over 48 hours to get through the book. It is very flowing, easily digestible and written in a frank, almost conversational, manner. The messages within are simple -at times verging on the obvious- and it remains concomitantly pleasant and confrontational to read all throughout.
But is The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck as inspirational and insightful as it is cracked up to be?
I don’t think that the ideas in The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck are truly original – and certainly not the central premise: that you are not special and while what happens to you in life might not be all your fault, how you react is your decision and therefore, your responsibility. What is authentic is the refreshing manner in which Mr. Manson frames this argument and the way he applies it to daily life. He also draws heavily on his private experiences, making the book a more personal read. I don’t know whether it is an age thing or not but I found myself agreeing with him on quite a few occasions and I could relate to many of the incidents and life-situations that he portrays.
On the downside, there where moments when I found Mr. Manson’s generalisations a little too broad and shallow. It’s true that I read The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck just after Yuval Noah Hariri’s ‘Sapiens’, which is well-referenced and embedded in scientific research. In comparison, (although admittedly an unfair one) The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck comes across more as a collection of tongue-in-cheek reflections by a man who’s slowly gearing up for middle-age. But to be fair, Mr. Manson is a successful blogger and not a a tenured professor.
So, ‘deep and life-changing’? No, at least not for 40-something-year-old. Worth the read? Yes, definitely. At the very least, the honest, almost brutal, manner in which Mr. Manson presents his ideas might nudge you into realising that life is there to be lived and not suffered.