FEMINEST BOOK CLUB: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life

Wanna join the Feminest book club? Of course you do. ;)

The first Tuesday of every month, I'm selecting a feminist, business, or self-help book to review for that month. And, rest assured — if I'm featuring it — there’s something you oughta know! 

Last month I covered White Hot Truth: Clarity for Keeping It Real on Your Spiritual Path from One Seeker to Another by Danielle LaPorte. Which was the highest rated book yet!

This month I'm covering The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson

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I'm not going to begin how I typically do. Because this book has impacted so many people around me -- friends, clients and my husband. I asked one of them to give her biggest takeaway from the book, this is from Jen of A Fresh Event:

"What I loved about the Subtle Art is that it gave me permission to simplify things and to, in a way, reclaim who I truly am. For example, we come into this world not giving a fuck and we live these great little person lives and then, over time, we are conditioned to start to have to give a fuck -- about anything and everything -- and because of that, it clouds our purpose, changes who we are and our behavior. This book gives you the tools and the permission to say "fuck all of that" -- to truly work to focus on the things that you SHOULD give a fuck about and to say "fuck off" to the things that don't need or shouldn't have your attention. Very quick and inspiring read."

Takeaway #1 - Don't focus on the lack of what you have

When you focus on what you don't have, that's what you have. "We're constantly told that we need to want more, be more, do more." Just don't!

"No truly happy person feels the need to stand in front of the mirror and recite that she is happy, she just is."

We should only "give a f*ck about what is true and immediate and important. "

This is all so no-brainer here. But jeez, a great reminder to stop wanting more, more, more because it will never, ever, be enough.

Takeaway #2 - Accept the bland and mundane truths of life.

"Your actions actually don't matter that much in the grand scheme of things." This is so freeing to me actually! I could see how someone could take this and think "then...so what?" Well, exactly! Just do you, no one else matters or cares (of course, except those who do actually matter).  Be free to accomplish what you wish to, not what you think you're suppose to.

"The ordinary is what matters." And really, is what is so, so beautiful.

Takeaway #3 - The value of suffering

Because suffering is inevitable the question we should be asking isn't "how do I stop suffering?" but "Why am I suffering? For what purpose?" We all suffer. But when you have meaning behind your suffering you're able to endure it and maybe even enjoy it.

Takeaway #4 - Take responsibility for your f*cking life

"We are responsible for everything in our lives. No matter the external circumstance... We don't always control what happens to us. But we always control how we interpret what happens to us and how we respond." You are always choosing. "We are always responsible for our experiences, it's impossible not to be."

Manson tells a story of some teenagers who suffer from extreme Obsessive Compulsive Disorders and one of them states "I didn’t choose this condition but I can choose how to live with it." So powerful!

Takeaway #5 - "I guess walking isn’t for me."

"Children fall down thousands of times when they are learning how to walk, at no point do they think "I guess walking isn't for me, I'm not good at it". Avoiding failure is something we learn latter in life."

"If we're unwilling to fail, we're unwilling to succeed."

Takeaway #6 - Emotions make things more complicated 

Manson talks about how he gets emails all the time people asking him “How do I.... (fill in the blank)?" Like "how do I tell my parents that I can't stay in medical school?" You just do it. It’s our emotions that get in the way and make things more complicated. Hence - the big ass box of validation that I felt people were asking me to give them. You can do this. You're capable. You're a power. And now move on and do the thing.

Takeaway #7 - Just start acting

I have this thing that happens to me sometimes where I get lost in thought and start to stare blankly at my computer screen. How do I "shake out of it?" - I just start typing gibberish on the keyboard. And somehow it breaks me out of the train of thought and I'm able to refocus.

Sometimes to get shit done we need a strong emotional reason and sometimes we just need to start to take action.

Other times when I don't want to start something that needs to get done I set the timer for 10 minutes, in fact I did it just now. I tell myself "Okay, just work for ten minutes and then you can move on." But I know that starting is the hardest part and once I do that, I'll start to enjoy it and work for an hour.

Takeaway #8 - And then you die

"Oddly it was someone else's death that gave me permission to finally live, and perhaps the worst moment of my life was also the most transformational."

My dad died October of 2016 (over a year ago). He had suffered from pancreatic cancer that we thought had gone away but like a typical cancer case, came back with a vengeance and took him with 5 months. Losing him to death, when he gave me life, felt unnatural. Which is strange because death is one of the most natural experiences there is in life. I felt abandoned, which is also strange because at the time I was (and still am) married, with two children and fully independent.

I then felt the depths of nihilism. My dad was a "do gooder" and touched a lot of people's lives. But even those people he affected would just die too. We're all just going to die. So. what?

But then the tables turned for me. If we're all going to die, why not make the most with what we have? Why not do whatever we want, now? Not when we have enough money, or job, or whatever it is -- do it now. And that's when I decided I wanted to move across the world. (and here's an update on that)

I'm sitting here typing this from a tiny couch while my two babes and husband are sleeping in a 500 square foot airbnb in Melbourne, Australia and couldn't feel more badass about it. There are so many unknowns with life right now. Brandon doesn't have a job, my business is changing a ton,  we literally don't have a clue where we are going to be living in 3 weeks. But I feel so alive and so present, more than I've ever felt as an adult with real life responsibilities. 

Rating: 5/5

Recommendation:
I recommend this to anyone, but especially people who think self help books are stupid but yet they need it. Manson's writing is very no-nonsense, entertaining, and poignant.

Alright, what did you think? Did you find his voice abbrassive? Comforting? Funny? Too dude?

Have a book suggestion? Let us know in the comments section below!

Next month I'm featuring Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman! Read it with me!