Mark Manson is an American ‘self-help’ Author. His book; The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck: A counterintuitive approach to living a good life (TSA), was published in 2016 and is on multiple best-seller award lists.
To begin with, TSA is a book that challenges the popular notion of ‘finding happiness’. As Manson himself says;
Feeling good sells. It’s much easier to sell a book or a course or a seminar if you promise to make people feel good about themselves.
He actively disregards the concept that everyone can be great, that success is something you must strive to achieve and anything less than this makes you mediocre, which according to Instagram fitness models and the like, is not ok.
It’s not about being indifferent to life, it’s about choosing what is important to you and altering your perspective to what is more likely to support continual growth and long-term satisfaction, as opposed to goal-oriented highs.
As a 30-something year old Entrepreneur, Manson is hardly able to offer a tonne of life experiences to justify his philosophy, in fact his personal referrals tend to be along the lines of ‘I chased a lot of women’, which is hardly ground breaking stuff but what I particularly like about the book is that I found myself fascinated by the stories he tells from other sources and how they back-up his theories. Clearly a well-read individual.
I think it’s impossible to not set goals that are outside of the values Manson deems more likely to offer success and achievement. Manson believes that true happiness lies in choosing when and where to give a fuck rather than giving a fuck about everything, or nothing at all, and what you should be choosing, isn’t to do with whatever it takes to be successful, your values should lie in things that require a constant process. If you set a goal to buy a house and spend 10 years saving for it, once you’ve bought it, you are likely to feel empty, but if your goal is to be honest wherever possible, you will always be choosing this, on a daily, weekly and yearly basis. This is true, of course, and maybe i’m not quite at the phase in my life where material things aren’t important yet, because I still believe things outside of personal values will support in a happier life. I don’t, however, believe the achievement in monetary gain, be it in the form of a house, a car or just cold hard cash, will ever make you truly happy.
The only regret I have about this book is reading the reviews on Goodreads. I’m not extremely well read, so upon finishing The Subtle Art, I closed the last page and felt a little more intelligent, a little challenged and a little proud that I managed to widen my horizons. I personally didn’t find the book self-indulgent, in fact I thought the whole point of the book was to point out the self-indulgence of our current society…I didn’t think it was particularly sexist – there were times when he theoretically placed ‘he’s’ and ‘she’s’ in assumptive spots, and yes, the majority of his own personal experiences revolve around pursuing women. However I didn’t find it particularly offensive and I would recommend to anyone who is perhaps struggling a little through the social media-driven society we now live in.