Books influenced by Stoicism are everywhere at the moment. While I’m reading most of them, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck has the best title yet and an enjoyable writing style to match. And if you find the title offensive then you already know that the book isn’t for you.
Much of the world view that author Mark Manson promotes is just a by-product of getting older and growing up. Maturity is realising that you only have so many fucks to give. I agreed with most he had to say long before I picked up the book. I was getting there anyway but one of life’s turns set me well along this path.
A couple of years ago, as we prepared for the birth of our first child we found out my lady had cancer. Stage 3, Ovarian cancer. At twenty-two weeks pregnant she needed immediate surgery and treatment had to start right away. That made me realise how little fucks I gave about most stuff and many people.
This post isn’t about that. She’s done a much better job of explaining it. It’s about keeping your life and concerns simple. Saving them for the things that matter. Not celebrity gossip, the politics of fear or being tricked into thinking we don’t live in the most prosperous time in history.
So I don’t read the paper or watch the news anymore. I don’t follow elections or wars on the other side of the world and I don’t freak out about global warming. It’s not that these things aren’t important but I can’t change them. I save my fucks for the things I can influence.
Back to The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. Mark Manson covers many great points that resonate with me.
Failure has many benefits. Fail lots but fail forward.
Action isn’t just the cause of motivation but also the cause of it. You need to just do the thing, not wait for the motivation fairy to visit and sprinkle you with her magic dust.
Happiness comes from solving problems. Solve problems; be happy.
A radical state of responsibility. You are responsible for everything that happens to you. That doesn’t mean that it’s your fault. Bad shit happens to everyone that we cannot control. But no one else is ever responsible for your situation. It’s all you baby.
Commitment gives you freedom as you aren’t distracted by the unimportant.
The Next Step
Now you could just read the article that started the whole thing. It’s great and contains the basics. But this book has much to offer. The section on your shitty values might be a wake up call to many. And the benefits of negative thinking. The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck is an excellent introduction to many of the ideas of Stoicism and an antidote to the overuse of positive thinking.