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21 BOOKS FOR 2021: (2) The subtle Art of not giving a fuck

Updated: Jul 17, 2021

by Mark Manson

This was a repeat read. The book cannot be read once and for all. It is like a religious text or The Meditations - you go over it a number of times and you get new ideas or insight every time.

A Call to Prioritization, Not Apathy

This is not a call to apathy or being emotionally numb. The book basically states that there are many things in the world that we can care about but we have only few cares to give. It’s like a guide on creating your fucks given priority list given the limited supply and incessant demands.

“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.”

Accept Adversity as a normal part of life and work to oversome it

He is also basically telling you to: get over your own BS and accept the negative experiences in life – not in a giving in sort of way but in a realism sort of way- assessing your situation and doing what needs to get done to get out of it. It is Sort of “Mind the Gap” kind of thinking mixed with “The obstacle is the way” Stoicism.

“Everything worthwhile in life is won through surmounting the associated negative experience. Any attempt to escape the negative, to avoid it or quash it or silence it, only backfires. The avoidance of suffering is a form of suffering. The avoidance of struggle is a struggle. The denial of failure is a failure. Hiding what is shameful is itself a form of shame… Pain is an inextricable thread in the fabric of life, and to tear it out is not only impossible, but destructive: attempting to tear it out unravels everything else with it. To try to avoid pain is to give too many fucks about pain. In contrast, if you’re able to not give a fuck about the pain, you become unstoppable.”

Find Something you care about

If you know where to spend your time and energy and establish what you really care about and your purpose, then you can spend your life and cares on that. Otherwise, because the human brain is focused on problem solving, your mind will come up with its own problems.

Purposeless striving is of no value

To quote Peter Thiel - Failure Is Massively Overrated

The book has a chapter on embracing failure but I don't think that it is a call to be failures - it is recognising that we can learn out of failures. This is related to the stoic philosophy - The obstacle is the way.

Take Responsibility for your own life, health, career ... and stop being entitled : )

The book is honestly refreshing real talk and I cannot recommend it enough.

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