Book Review: The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck


This is a book that you’ll see in the hands of everyone; from Chris Hemsworth to Obama, from the pseudo-intellectuals to the “I-don’t-read-self-help-books” category, from someone who’s struggling to cope up to someone who’s more than balanced in life and mind you, everyone’s loving it. No wonder it sold over 2 million copies!

The irony is, unlike the title, there isn’t a single thing that’s subtle about the book or its author. Manson is sharp, awfully witty, rather rough, and downrightly “out of f*cks to give” in this book. He doesn’t promote the universal idea of over-optimism like most self-help writers do. He states a very obvious yet underrated and usually overlooked fact that the never-ending craving for more and more positive experiences is itself a harmful and depressing experience because it’s a vicious cycle of endless desire. And, ironically, the acceptance of one’s negative experience is itself a positive experience. Acceptance of the seemingly negative aspects of daily life is what he’s primarily concerned about because that’s what general public lacks the most.

He doesn’t support the notion of senseless cheerfulness that ignores the troubles and difficulties by simply overlooking their existence. He wants you to address the problem and know that struggles are what give life its actual meaning. How you deal with those is what shapes your personality and determines your growth.  In his words, “Life is essentially an endless series of problems. The solution to one problem is merely the creation of another.  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.” 

He’s a classic functionalist in that way and the book is a clear reflection of that. Like the basics of functionalism, the book focuses on the fact that struggle is essential and plays a key role in determining one’s state of being in the social setup. At the core, the book talks about analyzing what is of utmost importance, concentrating on that and letting go of everything else as it’s immaterial in comparison to what truly matters.  This way, you add value to life and move away from pointless distractions that generally take up most of one’s time.

The book hits you in the right place, making you laugh your heart out because it gives you a somewhat new and honest perspective about struggle. It makes you question everything you’ve learnt til date about resistance of problems and letting go of things that cause difficulty. Its fresh take on self-help and wholesome growth is very different from what you’ve read till date. It pulls you out of the bubble of denial that most self help-books induce by providing you with more than a few excessively bright and apparently glossy feel-good methods labeled under name of positivity by talking about the not so glamorous and dark parts of self-growth.

One heck of a read for someone who’s looking for new kind of content that’ll make you spill your coffee and snort by telling you crudely honest tales about the dirty and crass side development.

About the Author:



Swapan Deep Kaur

“An engineer turned sociologist with a knack for criminal psychology who’ll quietly sit in a corner trying to read people. Likely to be found somewhere playing with stray dogs, picking carnations or looking for quiet cafes with decent coffee and books.

A self-proclaimed borderline narcissist who can never fall out of love with the night sky and rain.”

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