Review - The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*CK - Business Book Brunch

Written by Siobhan O’Brien.


The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*CK

A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life

By Mark Manson

Review by Siobhan O’Brien

This is a marmite self-help guide book - you either love it or hate it – but you’ll remember it. It aims to cut through the crap to show us how to decide what really matters to us and find the golden ticket to success and happiness – the Good Life. To define what we truly give a f*ck about, it shows us how to define our top most important life cares. 

This book is an antidote to the mollycoddling chirpy peep-talk often promoted in positive thinking self-improvement reads, and ruffles feathers by saying the opposite - suck it up and sort it out. Written by a male superstar blogger who backs his argument through his own personal development, this book presents his take on the standard, self-help sanguine theories.

It’s a heavy hitting, joke packed, story backed, research supported, no-nonsense book that punctuates every weighty point with heavy swearing. It cuts through foggy thinking to focus on what our main blockages are, to force us to – define our fears, take responsibility, acknowledge our uncertainty, accept our failures, define our rejections and face our mortality.


The book is peppered with opposite opinions to conventional wisdom, to take a hard look at yourself and the real world to liberate your logic. Manson says don’t trust your gut, trust yourself less and challenge your belief system to learn to let it all go and progress truthfully.

This book talks sense and shows us how to define healthy and unhealthy value systems to care about something better  - ‘toward things that matter, things that improve the state of our well-being and that generate happiness, pleasure and success as side-effects’. Manson defines a simple metric system of values to inspire transformation and purpose into our lives. By applying a simple ‘do something’ principle Manson claims that by doing something the answers will follow. As our actions create further reactions, inspirations, motivations and move onto new actions. 

Discussing the merits of this book brought out strong opinions in NZBWN’s book club as there is no subtlety, empathy, or cotton wool hand holding on sensitive matters. Written from a male perspective it delivers thought provoking opinions in a heavy handed way to find meaning in life. Stating the ‘the only way to achieve meaning and a sense of importance in one’s own life is through a rejection of alternatives, a narrowing of freedom, a choice of commitment to one place, one belief or one person.’ 

Love it or hate it, take it or leave it, this book is controversial. It dropped like a bomb at a time in my life when I needed to focus on what really mattered in my life. It has been described as a much-needed slap in the face by your best friend. This book shows us how to measure our life value system. Simply put, to define what we truly care about, we must care about something, we must value something, and we must reject what is not that something. 

It’s a must-read if you want to swot up on tools on how to sort your sh*t out.

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