The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck Summary

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

This article is a complete The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck Summary, a book by Mark Manson.

The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck puts an end to positive psychology madness and instead gives you a stoic, pragmatic strategy for living a life that may not always be happy but meaningful and focusing only on what is really important to you.

About Mark Manson

Mark Manson is an American blogger and writer. In 2008, he launched his first Dating advice blog. It has become extremely popular and has gained hundreds of thousands of readers. In 2009, Manson decided to tour the world for the next seven years while working remotely. After all, he has visited over 65 countries. In 2010, he started a blog called Post Masculine, which provides general life advice for men. On this blog, he published an article with the same name as this book. The article was so well received that he decided to make a book out of it. because of this, the subtle art of not giving a f*ck has become a New York Times bestseller.

Manson has been featured on NBC, BBC, CNN, Time Magazine and Fox News. In October 2018, Penguin Random House made public that Manson would team up with Will Smith to write the actor’s autobiography. Manson’s works have been translated into over 60 languages.

Who Should Read The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck?

The 21-year-old software engineer who plans to quit his first job after six months because it’s no fun, the 45-year-old fighter pilot who doesn’t care about self-help, and anyone who hopes to become a mega-successful person.

What’s In It For Me & Why Is It Important?

The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck puts an end to positive psychology madness and instead gives you a stoic, pragmatic strategy for living a life that may not always be happy but meaningful and focusing only on what is really important to you.

The trick to not giving a f*ck of most things is that you will be able to give one about what is really important to you.

3 Important Lessons For You:

  1. Values that you cannot control are bad values to follow.
  2. Don’t assume you know something for sure because it keeps you from improving.
  3. Trying to leave a legacy can ruin your life.


The subtle art of not giving a f*ck is all about making you understand what is important to you in your life, basically what you choose not to care about. So often times we don’t realize how many times we deal with something that doesn’t matter. Manson wants to help you understand when to put too much emphasis on self-help ideas and how to be damn considerate of yourself on the things that matter most.

This revolutionary book has sold over 13 million copies. As reported by Amazon, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck was the most read non-fiction book of 2017.

Avoid The Constant Pursuit Of Satisfaction

Before Bukowski became a famous writer, he was an alcoholic gambler often rejected by publishers. It wasn’t until Bukowski turned 50 that a publisher finally accepted some of his works. Due to this reason, the public and the media have called his story the American Dream. But Bukowski knew the reality: he was always a loser. He was not a bestselling author. He thought it was good, however. This self-acceptance has drawn so many people to him and his books. Bukowski has the words “Don’t try” on his gravestone.

This approach is completely different from the expectations of modern society of how we can become happier, richer, healthier, and more successful just by wanting to be. Manson believes this approach means we feel like we can never be enough. True happiness consists in only worrying about the essentials.

The Backwards Law was brought in by the British philosopher Alan Watts. The idea is that the more you try to feel better, the less satisfied you will be. The constant pursuit of satisfaction reinforces the fact that you miss it in the first place. Manson worded this as follows:

  • The pursuit of positive experiences is itself a negative experience.
  • Accepting negative experiences is in itself a positive experience.
  • So, you can create positive experiences by tolerating negative experiences.

Stop Believing That You Are Unique

Manson believes that modern society and self-help books are obsessed with the idea that we are all unique. Unfortunately, this idea has created a company of entitled people who expect everything always to be okay with them. Entitlement is to feel that you deserve to be happy without sacrificing for it.

There are two types of entitlement: Grandiose and Victim narcissism.

  1. Grandiose narcissism is like saying I’m great, and the rest of you are useless, so I deserve special treatment.
  2. Victim narcissism is like saying I’m bad, and the rest of you are great, so I deserve special treatment.

Both types of narcissism end the same as they act the same. They are mistaken about their position in the social hierarchy, and both think that everything should be to their advantage. This means that they are completely complacent.

A case study from the late 1960s correlated positive self-image with lifelong fulfilment. Based on the results of this study, policymakers began to use participation prizes and unachievable goals to motivate children. Manson believes that this study alone has created a society that does not accept reality. The problem with not accepting reality is that people no longer use their problems to succeed.

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Accept Reality As It Is

Self-help books constantly focus on the goal of constant happiness. Manson suggests that this idea is harmful. As humans, we are naturally a little unhappy. Dukkha is a Buddhist principle which claims that life is suffering. We are supposed to experience unhappiness. It helps us persevere and strive for real success.

Take responsibility for your emotions and know that dealing with negative emotions is a daily struggle. Problems never end; they just change. Manson applies this to the psychological concept known as the “hedonic treadmill.” It’s the idea that if we acquire something that we think will make us happy, we just find another problem. So we must strive to solve the problems in our life instead of avoiding them. We should not strive for a life without problems but a life full of good problems.

Happiness Is A Science

Manson believes that life and happiness are linked to the scientific method. Your values ​​are hypotheses, your actions are experiences, and results are data. So we need to make smart decisions based on results, not fear, doubt, or uncertainty. Uncertainty is an important step on the road to success, and we should not be afraid of it. Uncertainty allows us to learn more. Uncertainty helps us understand that our values ​​are flawed and therefore protects us from extremist ideologies. It also removes judgments and stereotyping of others.

Values ​​Are Essential To Happiness

During World War II, many Japanese soldiers were stranded on many islands in the Pacific. These soldiers were cut off from the rest of the world. So, they didn’t know the war was over. As a result, they continued the war into the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. It didn’t matter how strong, intelligent, or motivated these soldiers were; they were doomed. Manson uses this analogy to point out that without the right values ​​and goals to guide your actions, you are f*ck.

Your deepest feelings relate to your values. And the values ​​you fight for define who you are. Good values ​​are important to your happiness, but we often focus on bad values. Chasing empty joys and believing that you are always right are examples of bad values. Good values ​​are realistic, achieved internally and socially in a constructive way.

To support this, Manson cites the example of guitarist Dave Mustaine. In 1983, shortly before their big breakup, he was banned from Metallica. Mustaine spent the next two years honing his guitar skills. Then he was able to found the group Megadeth, which sold more than 25 million records. But this success was not enough. Mustaine continued to compare himself to Metallica, which sold over 125 million records. However, it meant he was still unhappy. Manson then compares Mustaine to Pete Best. Best was also fired from a world-famous group: The Beatles. When he saw the success of The Beatles, Best was depressed for a while. But he became much happier than Mustaine because he came to a simple realization: music is more important than success. Mustaine had bad values ​​while Best had good values.

Take Responsibility

As an example of the importance of taking responsibility, Manson talks about the American psychologist William James. In 1872, William James’ life collapsed. James considered killing himself. But late one night, James was reading lectures from philosopher Charles Peirce. So, he decided to do an experiment. James took full responsibility for all the negative things that happened in his life for a year. If his life didn’t improve after 12 months, he would kill himself. James’ experiment worked, and James called his emphasis on taking responsibility as his rebirth. In the years after, he became a very influential psychologist and philosopher. Today, he is considered one of the most famous psychologists of all time.

The decision to take responsibility for his problems allowed James to focus all of his energies on improving his life. Then he improved the lives of millions of other people. When you take responsibility for a problem, you take responsibility for how you feel about it.

Choose How You React To Life

We can’t always decide what goes on in our life or the outcome of our choices. But we have full control over how we emotionally respond to a problem or failure. Taking responsibility for our responses to adverse circumstances helps us better manage the problems in our life. A person who can do this is Manson’s definition of a successful person. 

Doubt Your Beliefs

Manson encourages us to question all of our previous ideas. Doubts about us and our actions help us improve steadily over time.

We will not always be right. Manson explains that 500 years ago, society’s opinions on various things were fundamentally wrong. For instance, people believed the earth was flat and didn’t even know the Western Hemisphere existed. Likewise, you may look back on your thoughts 10 or 15 years ago and find that you were wrong on several points as well. The lesson is that some of the things that you believe to be true today will probably be wrong and even ridiculous 20 or 30 years from now.

Reduce Your Ego So You Can Grow

The more your identity is threatened by something, the more you will avoid it. So, in order to reduce this level of avoidance, we need to reduce our sense of identity and ego. We need to identify ourselves as vaguely and ambiguously as possible.

Ask yourself these three questions to help identify yourself more loosely:

  1. What if I’m wrong?
  2. What would it mean if I was wrong?
  3. Would an error have a better or worse problem than my current problem for me and others?

Failure Is The Key To Improvement

Manson believes failure is an extremely important part of life. Becoming an expert on everything takes a lot of mistakes. However, these mistakes will help you refine your strategy through continuous improvement. Therefore, fear of failure leads to stagnation.

Instead of worrying about failure, let’s try again.

Better To Do Something Than To Do Nothing

Manson’s high school math teacher introduced him to this principle. This teacher often taught his students to rewrite about the problem if they didn’t know the answer. By rewriting the problem, your mind can find the next step. Since then, Manson has applied this principle to everything in his life. When you get stuck, do something, and you will often surprise yourself. Instead of the motivation that leads to action, the principle of “doing something” says that action leads to motivation.

Say No So You Can Say Yes

To truly stand up for one thing, you must first deny another issue. Being open to whatever is thrown at you just means you are spreading too thinly. It is more pleasant to choose one pursuit and constantly participate in bettering yourself. Manson explains that if you don’t turn down the alternatives, you can’t really enjoy something.

3 Most Fascinating Lessons You Need To Know

Lesson One

Only Hold Values You Control.

Mark is a very stoic man, and it shows in his writing and advice. A normal idea in Stoicism is to concentrate only on the things you can control. This is easy to understand and apply when it comes to your actions, but it can also be applied to elusive aspects of your life.

Take your values, for example. I know they’re hard to put into words, but if you try to describe yourself in, maybe, three adjectives, you already have a good idea of ​​the values ​​that shape most of your life. For example, let’s say you chose the words honest, punctual, and popular. Here’s an interesting comment from Mark: Only pick values ​​that you can control.

Most of us let go of some of our ideals as we age, trying to build careers and make money. Even though this is only part of real life, it is important not to give up altogether. Values ​​over which you have no control are bad because they will be a constant source of unnecessary suffering in your life.

If you look at the three just mentioned above, you have 100% control over “Honesty.” Only you know how honest you are, no one else needs to. “Punctuality” is partly under your control. Always walking with enough slack will help you overcome most possible obstacles. However, the aspect of “Popularity” is entirely out of reach. Of course, you can be friendly and kind to everyone, but you can’t control the opinions of others. Some will always dislike you no matter what you do.

Because of this, popularity isn’t the best value to focus on, so, you can try replacing that with a more controllable value maybe kindness.

Lesson Two

Certainty Hampers Growth.

What a great principle to sum up in three words: Certainty hampers growth. Imagine if you could choose between two ways to travel the world: one where you believe that everything you know is 100% true and one where you don’t think anything you know is 100% true. Both are stressful, but which of them do you think would help you make better decisions?

The latter, of course. While there’s some middle ground here, it’s a good foundation for learning by denying the idea that you probably know something. This applies to the discovery of factual knowledge, for example, with the scientific method to create business hypotheses to arrive at better conclusions and the acquisition of conceptual knowledge.

The second type is more tacit knowledge of the relationships between different entities. For example, take your place in the social hierarchy of the school. If you are convinced that you are ugly, you will be very sad. But when you find yourself getting a lot of compliments in school, people call you lovely, and some are in love with you, it’s proof that your brain is playing you with false certainty.

If you allow yourself a little doubt, you can refute your limiting belief about yourself.

Lesson Three

Don’t Be Obsessed With Leaving A Legacy.

Here’s a harsh but essential reminder: one day, you will die. We all are. Whether we admit it or not, we all get scared over time. That’s why so many of us want to leave a legacy, including me. However, Mark says it can spoil our precious little time here on earth.

The more determined we are to create great work, the more we seek glory, work too hard, and focus on the future. What if, instead, we just try to be helpful in the present? We can still help many people, enjoy our days and ultimately be here while we are here.

Mark’s point of view is clear: find ways to bring joy to yourself, your loved ones, including the people you meet, joy in the now, and leave the legacy part take care of itself.

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This revolutionary book, the subtle art of not giving a f*ck, defies the self-help industry, whose books argue that we should constantly strive for more happiness and success. Manson points out that you will be even less satisfied with this approach because you will notice everything that you are missing. So instead of worrying about everything, choose what to give a f*ck about.

The three characteristics that describe the art of not giving a fuck are:

  1. Not giving a f*ck doesn’t signify being indifferent; it means you feel good to be different.
  2. In order not give a f*ck about adversity, you must first give a fuck about something more important than adversity.
  3. And lastly, whether you realize it or not, you’re always deciding what to give a f*ck about.

We’re just scratching the surface here. If you don’t already have the original book, “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson,” order it here now on Amazon to learn the juicy details.

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