from my bookshelf: the subtle art of not giving a f*ck by mark manson


this is the anti-self help that may actually help you. mark manson uses sarcasm, directness, and dirty language to convey an important message, particularly to those of us tagged as “millennial” (not to say it’s inapplicable to other generations): do less. don’t try so hard to be happy. It is OK to be unhappy. It is normal to not be happy. manson artfully combines: anecdotes from his own life, stories of buddha before he was, well, buddha, the experience of rockstars and how they perceive their own success based on the metrics they create for themselves, and honest observations about how our social-media driven world has led to the rise of “victimhood chic,” an unfortunate trend that outshadows real victims. this book covers a lot of ground in a short amount of pages, yet is very readable: it is begging to be read over and over again.


“…the more you pursue feeling better all the time, the less satisfied you become, as pursuing something only reinforces the fact that you lack it in the first place.”

“Suffering through your fears and anxieties is what allows you to build courage and perseverance.”

“…what I’m talking about here is essentially learning how to focus and prioritize your thoughts effectively–how to pick and choose what matters to you and what does not matter to you based on finely honed personal values.”

“To be happy we need something to solve. Happiness is therefore a form of action; it’s an activity, not something that is passively bestowed upon you, not something that you magically discover on a top-ten article on the Huffington Post or from any specific guru or teacher.”

“What determines success isn’t, ‘What do you want to enjoy?’ The relevant question is, ‘What pain do you want to sustain?'”

“The easier and more problem-free our lives become, the more we seem to feel entitled for them to get even better.”

“People who become great at something become great because they understand that they’re not already great–they are mediocre, they are average–and that they could be so much better.”

“Our values determine the metrics by which we measure ourselves and everyone else.”

“Some examples of good, healthy values: honesty, innovation, vulnerability, standing up for oneself, standing up for others, self-respect, curiosity, charity, humility, creativity.”

“We don’t always control what happens to us. But we always control how we interpret what happens to us, as well as how we respond.”

“The more we choose to accept responsibility in our lives, the more power we will exercise over our lives. Accepting responsibility for our problems is thus the first step to solving them.”

“Unfortunately, one side effect of the Internet and social media is that it’s become easier than ever to push responsibility–for even the tiniest of infractions–onto some other group or person. In fact, this kind of public blame/shame game has become popular; in certain crowds it’s even seen as ‘cool.’ The public sharing of ‘injustices’ garners far more attention and emotional outpouring than most other events on social media, rewarding people who are able to perpetually feel victimized with ever-growing amounts of attention and sympathy.”

“Certainty is the enemy of growth. Nothing is for certain until it has already happened–and even then, it’s still debatable. That’s why accepting the inevitable imperfections of our values is necessary for any growth to take place.”

“…the more you embrace being uncertain and not knowing, the more comfortable you will feel in knowing what you don’t know.”

“The more something threatens your identity, the more you will avoid it.”

“Learn to sustain the pain you’ve chosen. When you choose a new value, you are choosing to introduce a new form of pain into your life. Relish it. Savor it. Welcome it with open arms. Then act despite it.”

“Freedom grants the opportunity for greater meaning, but by itself there is nothing necessarily meaningful about it. Ultimately, the only way to achieve meaning and a sense of importance in one’s life is through a rejection of alternatives, a narrowing of freedom, a choice of commitment to one place, one belief, or (gulp) one person.”