The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: Summary Review & Takeaways

This is a summary review of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck containing key details about the book.

What is The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck About?

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck 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.

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Who is the Author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck?

Mark Manson is an American self-help author and blogger. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, TIME Magazine, Forbes, Vice, CNN, and Vox, among many others.

What are key takeaways from The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck?

Takeaway #1 Focus Only On The Important Things In Life

When we live in an era of opportunity how is it possible that we can be so stressed and unfulfilled? It's because we're trying to do too much, we have a fear of missing out and therefore spread ourselves thin by trying to be, do, have everything.

Life is always going to be a struggle, there's no getting around it, but how much of a struggle you make it is up to you. You need to find out what you want in life and focus only on that. Being happy, wanting kids, wanting to meet Mr/Miss Right are all too vague and don't make you strive for success. Find something that you like doing, that makes you happy, that's worth the struggle. Whilst you say yes to the things that fill you with you, you have to be ruthless and say no to everything that doesn't make you happy.

Takeaway #2 Choose Good Values & Don't Measure Your Success Against Others

Comparing yourself to others, and your success against others is the fastest route to disappointment and unhappiness. At the same time, everyone knows that it's bad to try to keep up with the Jones's and use material possessions as a measure of their success – Money doesn't buy happiness. So how can you choose good values? You might think that choosing pleasure over fame and fortune is a good value but it's actually not as chasing pleasure can end in addiction, anxiety, and depression. Good values are based in reality, they're helpful to society, and are immediately controllable examples include living a life of honesty, being generous, being creative, and being humble.

Takeaway #3 Take Full Responsibility For Your Life & Let Go Of Your Identity

It's easy to shy away from why our life isn't how we want it by putting the blame on other people and circumstances – I had a rough childhood, my partner left me, I wasn't given the promotion... Stop playing the victim game and take 100% responsibility for your life! Take responsibility for how you played a part in not getting the job or the relationship breaking down – It's difficult but by admitting where you went wrong you can avoid making the same mistakes in the future.

Most of us avoid the discomfort of reaching for the stars when risk is involved, it's not so much that we don't want to risk everything we have (the job, the house, the friends) but more that we don't want to risk our identity. When you practice Buddhism you learn that identity is an illusion – whatever label you have put on yourself be it good or bad I.e poor, unlucky, a failure, happy, rich, successful is just a mental idea we hold about ourselves and is not real. When you let go of those labels you can turn your life around.

Book details

  • Print length: 224 Pages
  • Audiobook: 5 hrs and 17 mins
  • Genre: Nonfiction, Self Help, Psychology

What are the chapters in The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck?

Chapter One - Don't Try
Chapter Two - Happiness is a Problem
Chapter Three - You are Not Special
Chapter Four - The Value of Suffering
Chapter Five - You Are Always Choosing
Chapter Six - You're Wrong About Everything (But So Am I)
Chapter Seven - Failure is the Way Forward
Chapter Eight - The Importance of Saying No
Chapter Nine - ...And Then You Die

What are some of the main summary points from the book?

Here are some key summary points from the book:

  • Embrace discomfort: Manson emphasizes that life is full of inevitable hardships and struggles, and rather than avoiding or denying them, we should embrace the discomfort and learn from it. Growth and self-improvement often arise from challenging experiences.
  • Choose your values wisely: Not everything in life is worth caring about. The book encourages readers to be selective about what they give their attention and energy to, suggesting that focusing on a few core values that align with one's true priorities can lead to a more fulfilling and meaningful life.
  • Accept the limitations and uncertainties of life: Manson highlights the importance of accepting the inherent limitations and uncertainties of existence. By acknowledging that life is not always fair or predictable, we can develop resilience and better cope with the challenges that come our way.
  • Take responsibility for your life: Instead of blaming external circumstances or other people for our problems, Manson suggests taking personal responsibility for our own actions, decisions, and emotions. By doing so, we gain a sense of control over our lives and can make positive changes.
  • Let go of the need for approval: Seeking constant validation and approval from others can be a recipe for unhappiness. The book encourages readers to let go of this need and focus on their own values and opinions, rather than constantly seeking external validation.
  • Find meaning in life through action: Manson argues that true happiness and fulfillment come from taking action and pursuing meaningful goals. Instead of passively waiting for happiness to find us, we should actively engage in activities and pursuits that align with our values and bring a sense of purpose.
  • Embrace the concept of mortality: The book encourages readers to confront the reality of their mortality. By acknowledging that life is finite and that our time is limited, we are motivated to make the most of the present moment and live authentically.

What are good quotes from The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck?

“Who you are is defined by what you’re willing to struggle for.” (Meaning)

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“You and everyone you know are going to be dead soon. And in the short amount of time between here and there, you have a limited amount of fucks to give. Very few, in fact. And if you go around giving a fuck about everything and everyone without conscious thought or choice—well, then you’re going to get fucked.”

“The desire for more positive experience is itself a negative experience. And, paradoxically, the acceptance of one’s negative experience is itself a positive experience. (p.9)”

“Unhealthy love is based on two people trying to escape their problems through their emotions for each other—in other words, they’re using each other as an escape. Healthy love is based on two people acknowledging and addressing their own problems with each other’s support.”

“Life is essentially an endless series of problems. The solution to one problem is merely the creation of another.”

“To be happy we need something to solve. Happiness is, therefore, a form of action;”

“This is the most simple and basic component of life: our struggles determine our successes.”

“Don’t just sit there. Do something. The answers will follow.”

“Maturity is what happens when one learns to only give a fuck about what’s truly fuckworthy. As”

“Our crisis is no longer material; it’s existential, it’s spiritual. We have so much fucking stuff and so many opportunities that we don’t even know what to give a fuck about anymore.”

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“In my life, I have given a fuck about many people and many things. I have also not given a fuck about many people and many things. And like the road not taken, it was the fucks not given that made all the difference.”

“The more something threatens your identity, the more you will avoid it.”

― Mark Manson - The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck Quotes

What do critics say?

Here's what one of the prominent reviewers had to say about the book: “Mark’s ability to dig deep and offer amazing, yet counter-intuitive, insight into the challenges of life makes him one of my favorite writers, and this book is his best work yet.” — Matt Kepnes, New York Times bestselling author of Travel the World on $50 a Day: Travel Cheaper, Longer, Smarter

* The summary points above have been concluded from the book and other public sources. The editor of this summary review made every effort to maintain information accuracy, including any published quotes, chapters, or takeaways

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Chief Editor

Tal Gur is an author, founder, and impact-driven entrepreneur at heart. After trading his daily grind for a life of his own daring design, he spent a decade pursuing 100 major life goals around the globe. His journey and most recent book, The Art of Fully Living, has led him to found Elevate Society.

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