Book Review: The subtle art of not giving a f*ck


The subtle art of not giving a f*ck book cover

Title: The subtle art of not giving a f*ck

Author: Mark Manson

I usually ignore self-help books, but this title had already caught my attention due to the name when my partner asked me to buy it... and I couldn't avoid reading it.

It talks about stopping trying to force ourselves into being positive all the time, to try to avoid caring about everything and focus instead on caring on what really matters (and how that doesn't means ignoring the rest, just "not giving a f*ck about it"). It spends quite a good amount of time talking about fighting uncertainties, fears, facing our problems instead of relying on others...

But the book also spends a lot of time with stories about rock bands and war heroes that, while not boring, feel too long to exemplify a concept. The humour is sometimes is too harsh or inappropriate and it becomes quite clear than either the author had past problems with women/sex and with drugs or friends with bad habits. A few too many stereotypes and sometimes criticizable sentences or judgements balance negatively some general good advices.

Overall, interesting to read, and probably provocative on purpose, so I'll keep the interesting parts in mind (and in the notes).


  • Avoid the fixation on positive, as it reinforces and reminds of what we lack/failed to be. Accepting negative experiences is a positive experience, and makes us grow, learn, advance
  • Feedback loop from hell: e.g. "being anxious about being anxious"
  • Give less fucks, but give them to things worth giving a fuck to
  • Backwards law: pursuing the negative generates the positive: failures teach you how to understand better, pain in sports reinforces your muscles, etc.
  • Not giving a fuck doesn't mean being indifferent, means being comfortable with being different
  • You are always choosing, even when you don't choose (you choose to do nothing about it)
  • suffering and pain trigger change
  • life is full of problems, so make happiness come from seeking good problems
  • choose your struggles, seek goals you can influence and act upon
  • Everyone is great but most people are not special. Most special people, those who excel at one thing, usually only excel at that thing and sacrificed many other things and put lots of effort. If everyone were extraordinary, nobody would be
  • No special treatments, no entitlements. Everyone can suck (including us), but it is fine
  • Identify the problems that cause you suffering and try to fix them, not avoid them. Leverage your values against the suffering(s), and find good values that make you happy instead of a never-ending chase. Sample bad values: Pleasure, material success, always being right, forcibly staying positive
  • you cannot take responsibility for everything that happens on your life
  • uncertainty is inevitable. Certainty is the enemy of growth
  • discovering failures is the path for improvement
  • rejection: develop the ability to say and hear "no"
  • Learn to live with and fight Manson's law of Avoidance: The more something threatens your identity, the more you will avoid it
  • The "Do Something" Principle: Whenever stuck on something, just take action, do something and start working on it. Eventually the right ideas will come up.
  • Action isn't just the effect of motivation; it's also the cause of it
  • Action -> Inspiration -> Motivation
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