The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck by Mark Manson (Book Summary & Review)

Attitude Life Mindset Personal Development Philosophy Psychology Success

Last update on 2022-12-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon

What’s it about? Quick Summary

The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck by Mark Manson is an unusual book that touches on deep psychological, philosophical, and relationship topics in a funny and interesting way. Overall, it promises to give you a good life despite giving counterintuitive advice.

Here are some mind-boggling questions that the author tries to answer in this book:

  • What are values, and why choose them?
  • Why choose when you can just go for everything?
  • Is happiness good or bad?
  • Why do most people suffer despite having luxuries in life?
  • Why is it hard to let go of identities? Is it necessary?
  • What can Buddhism teach you about letting go?
  • Why people don’t discuss deep topics quite often?
  • What does it mean to live for real?
  • And more…

You can buy the book in your preferable format below:

Get the Audiobook: Buy on Audible | Play free on Audiobooks.com

Get the Audio CD: Check price on Amazon

Get the Physical book on Amazon: Paperback | Hardcover


About the author of The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck

Mark Manson is a renowned blogger who writes about philosophy, psychology, and relationships on his blog.

What makes him different?

Unlike usual self-help gurus, he doesn’t shy away from using bad-mouthed language and pointing out stupid ideas that don’t make any sense when put in real-life scenarios.

Are his core teachings practical?

The majority of the things he teaches are practical.

He combines his knowledge from multiple verticals to improve his ideas.

His blog is quite popular and receives over half a million visitors very monthCheck it here.

I like his ideas because they are practical.

Mark Manson and Ryan Holiday are two of the most practical guys in the self-help world that you should consider checking out.


The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck Summary

If you are sick of reading the same regurgitated motivational and impractical advice in self-help books, you are in the right place.

In this book summary of The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck, I’ll share 9 best insights that will touch deep concepts about life.

Are you excited?

Alrighty, so without further ado, let’s dive right in.

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Lesson #1: Not every struggle is worth it. Choose wisely.

Our life is a series of choices.

Every single day, every single minute, we make tiny little choices.

We never realize it because it happens so quickly and unconsciously.

And it’s both good and bad.

The best part is that we get to choose from a lot of different options.

And the bad thing is that there are so many choices that we have to make.

Let me explain.

Choosing is not easy and requires a tremendous amount of mental energy.

Why does it take so much energy?

That’s because we don’t to make just any choice.

When we think about our choices, we want to make the best one.

Doesn’t this happen?

Not to mention the regret that we feel after we have made the bad choice.

And if this wasn’t enough: Most of us suck at the art of decision-making.

Quite surprising, isn’t it?

We are always making choices, and we are still not sure whether we are doing the right thing or not.

Many people don’t even make conscious efforts.

They are under peer pressure to make certain choices.

And when peer pressure forces you to make a choice, it can’t be personal.

It’s highly likely that your choice won’t help you in the long term.

Another problem is the chase of perfection.

Trying to achieve perfection keeps you uncertain all the time.

Imagine you are an entrepreneur.

Let’s say you’ve made a new product for your target market.

The thing is, no matter how much time you invest in the beginning, your product will never be perfect.

Great products change over time.

If you are a perfectionist, you will keep making changes to make everything perfect, which is almost impossible.

But you cannot know for sure how it will perform in the market.

Even if you create a perfect product, it’s perfect only for you.

Your product may not resonate with your target market the same way.

The struggle you are choosing will not help.

You could spend that same time doing other things.

It’s a paradox:

The more impatiently you chase perfection, the farther you get away from it.

Perfection takes time.

But where do we learn the idea of perfection?

Almost all the celebrities and influencers try to appear larger than life.

Every positive self-help book you read tells you to grow and become your ideal version.

Don’t they all give you the impression that life must be perfect; otherwise there is something wrong?

When you find yourself not having all those shiny things, you feel guilty.

These days, there is no shortage of such content on the internet.

The best is what we want, and we want it now.

The reality is often different from our expectations: perfection is not attainable, and chasing after it will only leave you feeling desperate.

The truth is:

We don’t know our core values properly.

So, we start chasing just anything that would make us rich or boost our status or get you a cool, good-looking partner.

Isn’t this weird: we struggle a lot without knowing what exactly is all this struggle for?

Now, if you have understood this lesson properly, you should start choosing wisely.

You must choose wisely what do you want to struggle for.

Not all struggles are worth having.

Lesson #2: Happiness is never constant, but suffering is.

We just talked about how we should struggle for the right things.

But why do we struggle?

Everybody seems to struggle for something, right?

Behind every struggle, there is an assumption that when your struggle will get over, you’ll experience deep satisfaction and happiness.

Guess what happens in reality?

All the happiness we experience only lasts for a while. Perhaps for a few days if you have achieved something big.

But it’s not constant.

Then what is constant?

If you pay attention, you’ll see that happiness may not last for very long, but there is constant restlessness of the mind that stays.

The wise say: Suffering is constant.

But that’s not what we desire, right?

We want happiness and contentment in our lives.

This is another paradox:

The more we run away from struggles, the more suffering we find in our lives. The more happiness we desire, the more desperate and restless we become.

The author says that anything worthwhile will require struggle.

People always think in extremes.

They either chase struggles to make themselves feel great, or they seek pleasures because it looks easy in the short term.

The key is to become indifferent to both pleasures and pain.

You don’t have to seek struggles for the sake of it.

You aren’t going to get any gold medal for deliberately making yourself suffer when you could spend that same energy overcoming real problems in life.

And neither will you do any good to yourself if you don’t struggle at all.

Great things don’t come without patience.

And patience is always painful.

It might be joyful, but it’s not something that would give you happiness.

Joy is something far higher than happiness, as it’s not temporary.

Remember, you don’t have to believe in something just because it is written in a self-help book.

Just pay attention when you feel all kinds of emotions.

Observe what happens.

What happens when you feel desperate for something?

What happens when things don’t go your way?

Do people really suffer, or is it just an idea that philosophers like to discuss?

Lesson #3: Accept your flaws just like any normal person.

Once we grow into adults, we build our Ego.

And it likes to associate itself with many ideas and beliefs.

When ego is present, you feel that you are different or above other people.

You start feeling that you are special.

The problem?

When you feel special, you reject any criticism against you.

This is another mind-boggling truth:

All people believe that they are special and that their problems are unique. But no, nobody is special. Even all of our problems differ on a superficial level, fundamentally, they have similar nature.

The question is:

Why people face difficulty seeing this truth?

Because if they see that they are not special, a lot of their lies will fall flat.

Their problems won’t remain their problems anymore.

They will have to take the responsibility.

They won’t be able to hide behind excuses like “It’s just not possible,” “I tried, but I always fail,” “It makes me feel bad when I see my flaws.”

It’d take tremendous courage and pain, though.

Even our ideas aren’t unique.

They are the same old beliefs that man has been carrying for centuries.

So understand that nobody is special and nobody deserves anything in this world without some kind of sacrifice.

Acknowledge your problems and flaws, just like any normal person.

Our problems seem big because we put ourselves in the center of the world. Then we start chasing some perfect image of ourselves.

Perfect itself means without flaws.

But nothing without flaws exist in the objective world.

Sure, growth is absolutely necessary, but rejecting our flaws just because it’ll hurt our self-image prevents us from real growth.

To grow for real, you have to see your bad side as well.

You must see your own shortcomings.

You will carry them all your life if you do not acknowledge them.

Do you know why it’s so hard?

Let’s find out in the next lesson.

Lesson #4: Choosing your struggles boosts your self-esteem and overall happiness.

The author constantly reminds us to choose our struggles.

People confuse pride and self-esteem with happiness.

And it’s almost always based on things like:

  • How intelligent and competent you are?
  • How many expensive possessions you have?
  • How attractive you appear from the outside?
  • How many followers you have on Instagram?

People believe that if you have all these things, you’ll be having immense happiness.

And every piece of the puzzle will fall in place.

But really?

Does it happen in reality?

And if not, then what is real happiness?

Even billionaires seem to want something more in their lives. While an average person dreams to have a billion dollars in his bank account all the life.

Another mind-boggling paradox we have here, isn’t it?

Wondering why do we find ourselves in such weird, perplexing realities?

The thing is:

We never choose our values.

That’s why we waste time chasing unimportant things.

Even when we get what we want, we feel empty.

We realize that we didn’t get as much happiness as we expected.

And the search continues.

Doesn’t sound like a happy story, or does it?

Most people never take time to write down their values on paper.

For those who don’t have clear values, both the success and failure are merely concepts.

Regardless of whether they achieve their goals, they will not feel contentment.

Without values, you risk falling into the comparison trap.

You start comparing your success and failure with that of others.

Also, if you don’t have clear values, how are your goals and ambitions really yours?

Having values means knowing what you value in life.

And only based on your values, you can accurately judge whether your efforts are successful or not.

Otherwise, it’s like living someone else’s dream, thinking it’s yours.

Now realizing that values are important in life, the question arises:

  • What values are worth having in life?
  • How should one determine his or her values?

Let’s find out in the next lesson.

Lesson #5: Don’t choose your values blindly.

Not all values are good values in the same manner as not all habits are good habits.

The best approach is to learn what are the bad ways of selecting your values.

First, don’t base your values around pleasure.

Our tendency is to grab all the pleasurable things in the world.

So immediately, when we try to decide our values, pleasure itself becomes a value in itself.

This doesn’t mean that you have to put “pain” as your value.

Just understand your tendency to avoid pain and move towards pleasure.

This makes us short-sighted.

Second, don’t adopt group-thinking while deciding your values.

Just because your friends value a particular thing, you don’t necessarily have to make it your value.

Remember, all values should be very personal to you.

Don’t think what other people will think.

Not only values must be personal, they must be very practical and such that they develop your character in the long term.

I recommend that you keep your values flexible as you develop your understanding about life, and also test them whenever possible.

Some must-have core values are:

  • honesty
  • wisdom
  • kindness
  • compassion
  • selflessness
  • curiosity
  • courage
  • freedom
  • patience
  • adaptability

These are some of the values that I believe all must have as they build your character from within, and not just develop your superficial personality.

Again, you don’t have to make these your values.

Be very particular and careful about which values you choose.

Your life will revolve around them, after all.

Lesson #6: It’s okay to be wrong.

Don’t worry if you make mistakes in life.

If we discuss all the lessons that we have learned so far, chances are that you haven’t understood them deeply.

It’s not like you’ll stop making mistakes after you have decided, listed down your values, and chosen a mission in life.

You might make silly mistakes.

For example, you might choose wrong values.

You may still find yourself in a mess time to time.

We are not very good with making long-term decisions, so it’s only natural to make mistakes.

You might also think that you suck at these serious matters.

But realize that many people don’t even bother to understand these concepts, so you are already progressing.

Nobody will punish you just because you’ve made some mistakes in life.

Chances are, it’s only you who is criticizing yourself.

Our emotions make us feel bad.

Although guilt is a great feedback mechanism, it sometimes makes you feel sad for no reason.

Don’t take your emotions seriously every time.

Even pros make mistakes.

The best part?

We get to make choices.

It doesn’t matter how bad or good a situation is.

Finally, you can always come back to your values and think again.

Lesson #7: Don’t run away from the harsh truth of life.

Almost everybody has a tendency to run away from the truth of life.

Why?

The truth hurts.

Yeah, it hurts a lot emotionally.

It’s hard to digest.

There are things that we don’t even wish to discuss.

Think about what our conversations are mostly about.

Now tell:

How many times do we bring the topic of our own mortality?

I’m not suggesting that you raise such a gloomy topic in front of your friends, unless you want them to block you all the communication channels.

But as the title says, “Don’t give a f*ck,” the author has included it in the book anyway.

Contemplating your mortality once in a while is not gloomy at all.

Instead, it gives you a broad perspective about life and makes you fearless.

Wondering how?

It teaches us a lot about time.

When you contemplate your mortality, you realize how bad we are with handling our time, which is one of the most precious things in life.

Perhaps, it’s the only things that matters from a broad perspective.

Time spares none, and everything else is just forgotten with time.

Put simply, when you contemplate, you realize, “What the hell I was doing all this time?”

Imagine if we all become eternal.

What would happen?

Perhaps, we would lose our sense of meaning.

All the things carry meaning because we know that life is short and there is always uncertainty in the present and future.

Take out the time-limit, and there will be no thrill anymore.

Another benefit of reminding yourself of your limited lifespan is that you start thinking about saving time.

There would be no need of productivity if we all had unlimited time.

Time is beautiful because it’s limited.

For example, if a normal football game wasn’t 90 minutes, if there was no ending to it, nobody would want to go and watch it.

It’s enjoyable because there is a time limit.

Broad perspective gives you the courage to solve problems as well.

Our problems don’t appear too big anymore.

Think about your school exams that you have taken in the past.

Do they scare you anymore?

They looked scary because our thinking was short term.

Now when you look back, you laugh at yourself, right?

In short: Harsh truths of life are hard to digest, but they are like medicines, once you digest them, life gets better and more fun.

Lesson #8: Avoid clinging to identities, as they are merely your mental constructs.

The more time you play doing a certain role in your life, the more you start associating your identity with it.

For example, if you have been an architect for the most of your life, it’d be hard for you to be something else.

For most people in the world, their work is their identity.

But if you think about it, identities limit your true nature.

Our nature is to expand.

But identities put a cap on that expansion.

Once your identity becomes rigid, you start saying things like:

  • “I am X, so I have to do Y.”
  • “I am X, so I can’t do Y.”
  • “I did Y because I am Z.”
  • “How can I do P after being Q all my life?”
  • “I support B because we all are T.”

Obviously, it’ll be hard if you don’t have an identity in your workplace or even at your home.

But identities limit you eventually.

You can’t grow without change.

If you have defined an identity for yourself, you will struggle to transform yourself.

What if you create another identity while keeping the previous one?

Over time, you’ll find yourself in a mess of identities.

Every identity has certain traits, so eventually you will face an identity crisis if you keep creating more and more identities.

There are risks as well if you drop them in the middle.

If you are a successful person, you will struggle doing things that are thought to be done by unsuccessful people.

If you think of yourself as a job-person, you’ll struggle to call yourself an entrepreneur.

After a certain point of time, it requires tremendous courage to let go of your previous identity and transform it.

To avoid all this confusion and make life simple, one has to let go of all the identities.

Why put unnecessary pressure on yourself?

I know the world doesn’t work that way, but internally, you can do this.

Identities are illusions that we all create in our mental world.

And our entire life goes keeping those identities intact.

It’s even harder to let go of your identities once you have become famous.

Imagine giving away all that fame, prestige, power, connections, that you worked so hard for.

It all sounds impossible, right?

It’s quite the opposite.

The good part is: You don’t have to limit yourself to a particular role.

Remember, identities aren’t set in stone.

You create your identity in your mental world.

Once you liberate yourself from all those identities, you become you.

Make a list of all the labels you have put on yourself.

Let go of all the constraints that those labels give you.

Then you will actually start living for real.

Remember:

Simplicity is a virtue. It’s not something that everybody can afford.

It takes courage to be simple.

Lesson #9: True love is grounded in reality, while ‘merely romantic love’ runs away from it.

The author used to write a lot about relationships in his early days, and says that he enjoyed writing about them a lot.

He also talks about relationships in this book.

A lot of people seek relationships to avoid boring problems of life.

Such people don’t understand true love.

They think that the other person will solve all their problems in life.

Thus, they become more of a burden on the other person.

Most of the time, people seek partners that could give them a high in life.

Think about the types of relationships that we hear about.

What kind of ideals movies present when they show relationships.

They all talk about passion, about feelings, about forgetting everything, about become crazy in the love of another person.

They all are entertaining, but in real life, if you apply those same ideals and values, you’ll definitely find yourself in a mess.

Great relationships aren’t built on just passion and feelings, they are built upon understanding of the realities of life.

Let that digest for a second.

Romantic movies tease couples because they show a fantasy that we all want to live.

But why do we wish to live fantasies?

Because we aren’t satisfied with our lives the way it is.

Real-world relationships don’t work like what you see in the romantic movies.

Such passionate couples if they lack understanding end up creating problems without even realizing.

Does this mean romance is bad?

Not really.

Just see that romanticism isn’t bad, it’s the idea that you’ll achieve ultimate happiness through romanticism, that is wrong.

You can be a romantic person and still be happy if your ideals aren’t coming from fantasy, but instead are grounded in reality.

Further reading: The Master of Love, The Way of The Superior Man

Should really stop giving f*ck about everything in life?
It simply isn’t possible to stop caring about everything in life.

The whole purpose of this book is to remind you of your choice that you have forgotten.

So choose.

Choose what you want and why.

Look at your life.

Ask whether your current job gives you meaning.

Right action is meaningful.

While wrong action, even if it’s fun, may turn out meaningless.


The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*Ck Review

Last update on 2022-12-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon

Here is my critical review of this book:

Pros

  1. Great book for young readers who don’t mind explicit jokes.
  2. Touches deep concepts without becoming dull.
  3. Highly practical and stand against overly positive self-help books that only teach concepts, which readers struggle to implement in real life.
  4. Stories aren’t boring, unusually.

Cons

  1. Lots of F-bombs. A lot of people enjoy them, though.

How to buy The Book and from where?

Give a f*ck about this book.

Don’t just think that this book summary is enough.

There are so many lessons waiting for you inside the book.

Buy it and show some support to the author for writing this book.

You can buy the book as per your preferable format below:

Get the Audiobook: Buy on Audible | Play free on Audiobooks.com

Get the Audio CD: Check price on Amazon

Get the Physical book on Amazon: Paperback | Hardcover


FAQs about The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A Fck

What is the lesson in the subtle art of not giving a fck?

Not everything is important. Choose.

What is the subtle art of not giving a f*ck review?

The book is best for young readers, shares funny and interesting stories, and still teach you a lot of about life.

How many chapters are in the subtle art of not giving a f*ck?

The book has 9 chapters in total.

Who should read the subtle art of not giving a f*ck?

Anybody who wants to read something mind-bending or different from usual positive self-help should read this book.

Is the subtle art of not giving a f*ck psychology?

The book is mostly negative self-help psychology that counterintuitively gives positive results.


Now it’s your turn

There you have it.

I hope this book summary taught you a lot about values, contemplation, relationships, and so many other things about life.

If you loved this, don’t hesitate to share it with your friends.

Thanks for reading.

Shami Manohar


The Brain Behind This Website

I'm Shami Manohar, the Founder of WizBuskOut. My obsession with non-fiction books fueled me with the energy to create this website. I read at least one book every week on business, critical thinking, mindset, psychology, and more. My mission is to educate and empower every individual through proper knowledge that works in real life.

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