In our latest Become successful coaching book we look at a Counterintuitive Approach to reaching the top.
‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck’ by Mark Manson
Definitely not for the faint hearted or easily offended, blogger and American author of self-help books Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life is a short, quick read that effectively tells you how to get over yourself and any sense of entitlement you may be labouring under. Indeed, for Manson (born 1984), all advice about positive thinking and having an upbeat attitude is an approach to nowhere that has produced a generation of losers.
Manson argues in his book – laden with expletives and off-colour humour – that life’s struggles give it meaning. In a reaction to the self-help industry, he makes clear that the mindless positivity of typical self-help books is neither practical nor helpful for most people. Manson uses many of his own personal experiences to illustrate how life’s struggles often give it more meaning. He argues that this is a better approach than constantly trying to be happy, as “life is hard, you’re not special, happiness is a hollow goal and therefore you should make sure you’re focused on the truly worthwhile.”
The book focuses on showing the reader how to find meaning in the important things in life. For Manson, any value – such as popularity – that is not under a person’s control is a bad value to have. He advises you to replace such values with those more controllable like punctuality, honesty or kindness. Manson further advises avoiding claiming certainty about knowledge that is out of one’s grasp. In addition, do not fret about leaving a legacy for posterity, he argues. “Instead of worrying about building a body of work as a legacy, one should seek to create joy in the moment for oneself and those around.”
Manson’s raison d’être is to “write life advice that is science-based, pragmatic, and nonbullshitty, also known as life advice that doesn’t suck.” You only need to look at the nine chapter headings to understand where Manson is coming from, namely: ‘Don’t Try’; ‘Happiness is a problem’; ‘You are not special’; ‘The value of suffering’; ‘You are always choosing’; ‘You are wrong about everything (But so am I)’; ‘Failure is the way forward’; ‘The importance of saying no’; and, last but not that upbeat least; ‘And then you die’. Before you may condemn this book as another soapbox for a blogger’s ideas, Manson has carried out a great deal of research for the book. Kirkus Reviews calls The Subtle Art an “in-your-face guide to living with integrity and finding happiness.” It may not be pretty, but it is real – and this New York Times bestseller has sold more than a million copies since its September 2016 release.