How to self improve towards living a good life. Summary & Review of The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F$ck

5 minute read


We all want to be Successful, Happy, Rich and lead a good life. It is no easy task in this immensely complex world where we try different approaches to achieve our goals. There may be different approaches to tackle this question of how to live a good life.

The subtle art of not giving a fck by Mark Manson presents an approach towards leading a good life, through understanding what to give a fck about and what not to. The world is complex, and there are many things that we are engaged with. This leads us towards worrying, thinking about various useless problems which affects are mental well being.

Today, we are trapped in social media which is slowly taking us away from the reality. We always hear about the successful stories of people and also the tragedies. These stories cover only a small percentage of people. The reality is that most of our stories are common or normal, which is perfectly ok. Mark explains how we make the mistake of trying to be extraordinary when in reality the majority of the world is normal, and there is no harm in being normal. By no means this indicates that we shouldn’t try to be successful, but rather we shouldn’t be obsessed about being successful and thus falling into an artificial misery.

Mark explains about the “Feedback Loop from Hell” where we are angry about feeing angry or, anxious about feeling anxious. When this happens you are stuck. We have to chose wisely what we want to give a fck about, and this decision should be combined with our values. As humans we will always need go give a fck about something, and that is actually what “living” means.

There wont be a life without problems. Don’t look for a life without problems. The reality is we need to identify what are the problems which are worth focussing on, which are related to our values. You should have a purpose, or goal which you are focussing on achieving. As an example, if you want to become an Engineer, that is your goal, the path towards achieving it will be filled with problems and obstacles. If you want to achieve your goal, you should face these problems, and there is no other way forward. When you are working on solving these problems, it will also be a form of happiness. You must focus on loving the process of achieving your goals through facing the problems, not just love the end result.

The next question to answer would be on how to select the right purpose and be driven through good values. The truth is if you are driven through bad values which are superstitious, socially destructive and which are not immediate or controllable, again you will be stuck in a loop where you will end up giving a f*ck about things which aren’t in your capacity to change. In contrast if your metrics or values are reality based, social constructive, immediate and controllable you will be able to successfully face your problems and achieve your goals.

These concepts are presented with simple historical examples and authors own life experiences which is really attractive and enables the reader to understand the concepts easily. I believe that the simple presentation of the concepts of real examples is a highlight of this book, as it evaluates real life scenarios which many of us have experienced.

We always try be positive and focus on positive thinking. Mark explains his views on how we should also embrace the negativity and accept it, rather than blindly seeking for positivity in every situation. Once you embrace the negativity and understands it fully it would be a form of true measurement of self worth of the feelings.

Finally in the later chapters core values towards self improvement are explained. How we should be responsible about our life and decisions we make, the truth about uncertainty and that we do not know everything about life is highlighted. Also the aspect of failure and how it is essential towards learning, how we should build our self to both say and hear rejection and finally about death which none of us can escape is explained.

In conclusion this read is quite fascinating, which explains about self improvement using examples which all of us will face in some point of life. These examples are able to attract the reader, and presents the concepts in a clear simple manner. However, it is important to note that even though you don’t need to give a fck about everything, when it comes to people and other aspects of life, even though you are not giving a fck, you shouldn’t be arrogant but rather be respectful. The book is influenced through some aspects of Buddhism and also research done by other individuals. My opinion is that “respect” is another crucial factor the author could have embedded within the book, while explaining the subtle art of not giving a f*ck.