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In this generation-defining self-help guide, a superstar blogger cuts through the crap to show us how to stop trying to be "positive" all the time so that we can truly become better, happier people.
For decades, we’ve been told that positive thinking is the key to a happy, rich life. "F**k positivity," Mark Manson says. "Let’s be honest, shit is f**ked and we have to live with it." In his wildly popular Internet blog, Mason doesn’t sugarcoat or equivocate. He tells it like it is—a dose of raw, refreshing, honest truth that is sorely lacking today. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is his antidote to the coddling, let’s-all-feel-good mindset that has infected American society and spoiled a generation, rewarding them with gold medals just for showing up.
Manson makes the argument, backed both by academic research and well-timed poop jokes, that improving our lives hinges not on our ability to turn lemons into lemonade, but on learning to stomach lemons better. Human beings are flawed and limited—"not everybody can be extraordinary, there are winners and losers in society, and some of it is not fair or your fault." Manson advises us to get to know our limitations and accept them. Once we embrace our fears, faults, and uncertainties, once we stop running and avoiding and start confronting painful truths, we can begin to find the courage, perseverance, honesty, responsibility, curiosity, and forgiveness we seek.
There are only so many things we can give a f**k about so we need to figure out which ones really matter, Manson makes clear. While money is nice, caring about what you do with your life is better, because true wealth is about experience. A much-needed grab-you-by-the-shoulders-and-look-you-in-the-eye moment of real-talk, filled with entertaining stories and profane, ruthless humor, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is a refreshing slap for a generation to help them lead contented, grounded lives.
This book is addictive, no - it is like that kid in school you wanted to be but would not openly associate with. We're talking about the kid who would bluntly echo all of the things you wanted to say, but were too afraid to even think, out loud. Or that teacher you loved to hate, who didn't bother pretending to be on your side ("you're not special, and no, your problems are never going away"); but who actually was on your side, as she grounded you and cut through, rather than worked around your bullshit.
I'm wary of self-help literature and its contribution to "pop" psychology. This book though, is a wonderful piece of experiential wisdom. It utilizes the inception of solid psychological (drawing inspiration from the seeds of terror management theory) and philosophical gems, and combats more sensationalized, misinterpreted assumptions emblazoned in self-help literature (like self-esteem being the motivator to great performance (not really, not when all it breeds is entitlement), or "positive thinking" being the end-game, rather than working through the negative to emerge at the positive). It was the fire I needed to quit settling, and remember what excited, and energized me; over what I end up doing to "get by".
Read it, if you are at the crux of some major life decisions, or you are running out of reasons to keep doing what you are doing. The Subtle Art does not pretend to give you any concrete suggestions, but it is that tequila shot you need to relieve you of the debilitating anxiety that near-cripples you, and get you dancing towards a much larger, much more important purpose.