Afterthoughts: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson

Why is it so difficult to heed conventional wisdom?

Afterthoughts: The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Sparks

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The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is a derivative self-help book differentiated by its in-your-face presentation. Given the provocative nature of the title, and delivery, there is a clearly a target audience that Mark Manson writes to. Unfortunately, it is not one that I identify with. Hence why my impression of this book is not too favourable, I don’t think it helped that I have read several other personal development books that have covered many similar themes with precision and attention.

Some of the main points points Manson explores include:

  • Shifting our attention from outcomes to the process
  • Adapting our values such that they are not beholden to external circumstance
  • Learning to develop an attitude of equanimity i.e. release from social pressures to do or not do things
  • Memonto Mori

While I broadly agree with all of the points he makes, I can’t help but notice that they are cherry-picked from Buddhism and Stoicism. I think that were I not read-up on both those schools of life, I would find the Manson’s words more compelling. I thought a redeeming factor was how concise it was. While Manson’s writing style was a miss for me, the structure of the book was clear and the length was fairly short making it a fairly painless read.

“You and everyone you know are going to be dead soon. And in the short amount of time between here and there, you have a limited amount of fucks to give. Very few, in fact. 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.”


Style over substance. While he makes some great points, I didn’t find any to be particularly novel. It serves essentially as introductory exploration into Buddhist and Stoic ideas presented for a very specific audience – one I personally don’t happen identify with.

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