The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck — Book Summary

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck Book Cover

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

by Mark Manson

Published: 2016 | 224 pages
Rating Amazon:  stars rating 4.5 
Rating by reviewer:  stars rating 4.1 
Author of the article: Sabrina M.
Date of the summary: Jun 8, 2020

A self-help book that inspires positivity and compels the readers to see the difficulties of life from a different perspective.

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The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck Book Cover

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Mark Manson's book 'The subtle art of not giving a f*ck' is a self-help book that inspires positivity and compels the readers to see the difficulties of life from a different perspective. It guides us to give attention to the main things in our lives and not caring too much about everything. As the author says with humor, only giving a f*ck to what truly matters is immediate and most important (as f*cks are limited).

This bright book cover with a unique and catchy title has grabbed many readers' attention. The book has sold over 6 million copies. Manson has written this book in a forthright manner with a conversational tone, sharing real-life examples.

This book is a guide to people who constantly worry and give blame to themselves for everything that has gone wrong with their life. The book gives us questions to think about where, how, and why we are wrong in our lives. The author weighs on the point that life is not only joyful. Sometimes you're going to experience difficulties, and it's okay. Manson tells readers to accept mediocrity and quit giving so many damns about those things that don't make a difference.

Interesting quotes from the book

If you want to change how you see your problems, you have to change what you value and/or how you measure failure/success.

— Mark Manson, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

To be happy we need something to solve. Happiness is therefore a form of action

— Mark Manson, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

Who you are is defined by what you’re willing to struggle for.

— Mark Manson, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

Summary of the book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

The first chapter, with a title DON'T TRY, starts with the story of Charles Bukowski, the Poet. DON'T TRY is the epitaph written on Charles Bukowski's gravestone. With life experience of Bukowski's life, Manson has shed light on how social media has increased insecurities in our minds, on how we are not satisfied with our own lives. When we see someone's accomplishments in Facebook's posts, that can increase our anxieties and insecurities about ourselves. We start to think that something is wrong with us. Seeing somebody happy makes us want to feel the same. And we begin to doubt ourselves and in our success.

Every day, every minute, we worry or focus on irrelevant things that are not even important in our life. While giving too many damns about little things, how it affects our mental health, in turn, makes us chase the unrealistic and fake happiness. The social media culture has implanted in our minds that having anxiety, fear, and guilt is not okay. We have all the solutions for our anxiety at our hands; if only we don't keep lazing around our couch.

Manson talks about learning to focus and prioritizing our thoughts, and choosing what matters to us that is important. We are living in a psychological epidemic in which we don't want anything to be f*** up. We want things to go on our own desired way. As life is not all roses and unicorns all the time, it is impossible not to have any issues in life. Sharing real-life experiences and examples of popular personalities and his own life, the author motivates the readers and gives an example of how we can focus on the main things in our life and declutter our thinking.

Further, the author has discussed happiness. He says that happiness comes from solving problems. Happiness requires struggle as everybody cannot have a pain-free life. He engages the readers with the story of a Prince and Manson's life desire of being a Musician. He also shares the story of Jimmy, who is all talk and no action. He makes us understand that adversity and failure is useful and necessary to become successful individuals; rather than being delusional of our unaccomplished success. He gives the example of William James, the father of American psychology, how taking the responsibility of our actions can truly turn out a life for the better.

He weighs on the realization that we are responsible for everything in our life. We surely don't control what happens to us, but we always control how we can respond.

He talks about self-awareness. While questioning ourselves, we can understand the emotional blind spots that overwhelm us. If we base our self-worth on being right about everything, then this hinders us to learn from our mistakes. Being always positive and right about each and everything, sometimes makes us ignorant of our own mistakes. And that doesn't give a solution to life's problems and don't interfere with our personal growth.

We don’t go an extra mile for fear of failure. If somebody is better than us in something, then surely, they must have failed many times.

He stresses that pain is part of the process. Rejection does not always harm our life. We should learn to say No to the things that are not favourable to us.

Manson defines how we can get out of a toxic relationship, by saying No. Manson in his last chapter shares the story of a friend who died from jumping into the lake from a cliff. The author shares how a friend's death had taught him to take responsibility for his choices, accepting failures, and embracing rejections. He says that the primary lesson is that: There is nothing to be afraid of EVER.

What can we learn from the book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck?

  • Lesson 1: If we are afraid to fail, then we are unwilling to succeed.
  • Lesson 2: Accepting responsibility for our problems is the first step in solving them.
  • Lesson 3: Honest self-questioning with ourselves can often bring out clarity in our life.

Review of the book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

A very fresh, inspirational, and relatable book that teaches us to declutter our thoughts so that we can focus on the main things of our life. It helps us to learn that taking responsibility for our own life makes it simpler and tension-free. The book also shows how failure is eventually the road to success and also that there is nothing wrong with being different.


By sharing real-life examples of people make this book enjoyable and helps to see a different perspective of life.

It's short and sweet, and every chapter is worth reading with different meanings and rules of life. You will surely not get bored while reading it.


I didn't find negative things about this book. Every chapter is helpful and taught me something.


The book 'The subtle art of not giving a f*ck' helps us to clarify our thoughts to figure out how to focus and prioritize on what is worthwhile. If you are grounded in your life, are continually negative about everything in your life, have faced, or are facing any failure or rejection, give it a try. You won't be disappointed.

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