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

Published → Saturday, September 30, 2017 10:46 AM

The Why

To be honest, I’m not really sure. I think it was the clever marketing that did it. This book popped up in numerous of websites as an “recommendation” for me, I was at first a bit indifferent but slowly became intrigued. Took the plunge, finished it in almost one go.

I’ve read the Kindle version while listening to the audible book. The narrator was very good and this combination actually allowed me to stay focussed and fatigued me less.

The Reading

The book has a good pace. The author doesn’t really have some groundbreaking new philosophical insight but has read a lot of them. I mean it’s like a “to the essence” interpretation of many different teachings by Alan Watts, Stoicism, Buddhism, and others. He does this in a kind of auto-biography, not sugarcoating way – I really like.

But I think that is mainly just because I’ve already read a few books on those subjects and have been on the same -al be it different- journey he has. Reading about his thoughts and insights really resonated with the things I already learned – but somehow had to hear it again. I a decisive way: not sugarcoating. I liked that – it all felt very authentic.

The Aftermat

That said Mark tends to repeat himself – especially when intertwining his own live experiences. We couldn’t be more apart regarding that. A few pages in I got the distinct feeling that this was written by someone young, someone who isn’t really there yet – but thinks he is.

While age doesn’t mean sh*t in how mature someone really is, you do get the feeling: hey wait a minute.. this doesn’t add up with what you said you believed and valued before. It’s strange that despite that, he stays imho authentic – because I think he doesn’t released this (yet).

But it can be a huge showstopper for some people who will basically just nitpick at anything, especially because he is young and does not sugarcoat anything. He uses real life, actual current facts, which means this all non-sugar-coating stuff hits home. Hard.

Strange vibe

The – al be it minimal – endless stream of words that didn’t say anything. It was meant to be something poetic; but for me those paragraphs were very boring and felt very entitled, very .. young. Meaningless – for any other person except the author himself. They felt like page fillers, eating up my energy without saying or contributing anything.

The book is still short though and it’s not that annoying – it’s just .. a bit off.

While the book condenses a lot of materials out there, it certainly lacks the depth. I can imagine if you read this book as a first, it will be very shocking – and even harming in a way because it lacks the depth/maturity of the author. I do not mean he doesn’t know what he is talking about, I just think that the core message gets lost if you get distracted by the many examples he uses. Skimming a few reviews on Goodreads learns me just that: this book isn’t for everyone.

I would recommend this book. But with caution. I believe it would be best to read some older books first, listen to some Alan Watts, read some Epiticus, some Seth Godin even. Think about them. Explore what they mean to you. Experience. Write about what they do to you – go through the grit.

And then, then read this book to refresh your memory and solidify the teachings a bit more. After that repeat the first steps again, and again and again. But whatever you do: take action and start. go slow.