The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Mansen | Book Review

If there were ever a year where the world was in need of a good self-help book, 2020 would be it.

The Subtle Art… by prominent blogger Mark Mansen is a refreshing, tongue-in-cheek read that provides a common-sense approach to finding happiness.

Broadly, Mansen argues that true happiness comes from:

  1. embracing failure and discomfort as part of a learning process to solving worthwhile life problems, and
  2. disregarding (or ~choosing to not give a fuck~ about) unimportant problems

Reading this book felt like having a conversation with a drunk uncle at a dinner party: mildly offensive, yet eye-opening. In exploring his key ideas, Mansen seamlessly intertwines personal anecdotes about everything from poop to suicide, with explorations of Buddhist philosophy and origin stories of The Beatles and Metallica sprinkled throughout.

Much of Mansen’s thesis is common-sense, and comes from a privileged perspective. While Mansen argues that his philosophy of ~caring less about the little things, and more about the big things~ is something that can be practiced by everyone to bring about greater happiness, it would be flippant to assume that this outlook can be the solution to every problem (say, homelessness or poverty).

Regardless, Mansen’s style of writing is compelling and to date, this is probably my favourite non-fiction book of 2020. As a working/middle-class, college-educated British-Asian female who experiences the occasional bout of existentialism, this book spoke to me, and I enjoyed it immensely.

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