Amazon – The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

GoodReads – The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

Author – Mark Manson

In this generation-defining self-help guide, a superstar blogger cuts through the crap to show us how to stop trying to be “positive” all the time so that we can truly become better, happier people. – Goodreads Synopsis

This one has been at the top of the charts for a while, and after it has been recommended to me multiple times, I thought what the hell. I’m not one much for “self-help” books, (Maybe that’s why I have so many problems…) but this one promises to be different from all the rest. I secretly thought that most books like this were just a scam trying to make a quick buck by telling you to just be happy. This one is a bit different (You can tell by the title alone), and that is because it knows the target audience – Millennials. (Scary OoOoOoOo)

Millennial has been tossed around in the media and from everyone else that is not a 1101130520_600“Millennial” and usually it is associated with a negative connotation. The word “entitled” is always used in conjunction with Millennial as well. Mark Manson also knows this, and speaks in depth about this feeling of entitlement. What really stuck out to me was how Mark explains that there are actually two ways to channel that entitlement. There is the first way that everyone knows: that you deserve something more because of who you are/what you’ve done, and the second way: that because when you make yourself a victim out of a negative experience in your past, you are also expecting different treatment. Now that seems obvious to understand, I just never thought about how victimizing yourself is also a form of entitlement. There in lies the true power of the “self-help” books – changing your perspective.

Ok… So I am entitled. What now?

Now the main body of the book starts to come into play. Sure we feel that this hard work thumbnail_largewe have done deserves something special – I work harder than everyone else in the office, I accomplish more, and I need that promotion now! Where the fuck is it?! Maybe the problem is that you are channeling all of your “fucks” into something that is not going to end up paying dividends later on. Mark tells us that we need to take a step back from caring 110% (and getting 110% emotional) about everything and pick what is really going to matter to us in the long run. Ask yourself: Why I am giving a fuck about this so much. Why is this so important to me. Why are my emotions going totally fucking berserk over this. As it turns out, if you ask yourself why enough times, you might end up getting to the root of the problem and fixing your self-entitlement on the way. So stop fucking crying and figure out what really matters to you.

I am focusing on being happy! Where is my progress?

Nope. Mark wants you to actively seek out the negative experiences instead of the positive ones. (But this goes against all of the other self-help books!) Why would we want to be OK with negative experiences? Because that is how we grow. We learn the most, and grow the most, from all of the negative experiences in our lives. Mark understands this and makes an attempt to reach us through his own personal journey. Maybe we should have just listened to Alfred all those years ago:

Bruce Wayne: What have I done, Alfred? Everything my family… my father built…

Alfred Pennyworth: The Wayne legacy is more than bricks and mortar, sir.

Bruce Wayne: I wanted to save Gotham. I failed.

Alfred Pennyworth: Why do we fall sir? So that we can learn to pick ourselves up.

Bruce Wayne: You still haven’t given up on me?

Alfred Pennyworth: Never.

It starts to get a little Buddhist, but we need to learn to accept the negative experiences that have come before, and that will come in the future. It is what will make us a better, and stronger, person.  Stop giving a fuck about trying to be happy all of the time.

My Takeaway

I’ve been going through some “Millennial” shit recently and I didn’t even know it. The main thing that has been irking me is my work life. I work too hard, I care too much, and I am too ambitious. All of that boils up to one great big pot of entitlement. Aside from the entitlement, I also feel empty. I feel that I am kicking ass all day, giving the world all it’s worth, using the most energetic years of my life, but for what? So some other entitled prick can benefit (or baby-boomer who crashed the houseing market and destroyed the environment)? Take a look at the chart below (shout-out to Kyle for showing me this) –


Ikigai: The Japanese concept that means “a reason for being.” Hmm ok then. So where do we see ourselves here? I am smack in the middle Good/Paid For/Need, AKA – “Comfortable, but feeling of emptiness”. Yes I am good at what I do, Yes I get paid a decent amount for it, and OK I guess someone has to do it – but I feel dead inside. I’m not helping anyone really, I’m not making a difference for the better in the world (which is common among Millennials I guess), so why am I trying so hard? That’s where Mark Manson has helped me. I need to sort out in my life what I should give a fuck about, and I need to bring back balance to the force. (Well maybe not that)

It’s time to stop rejecting the negative, time to stop feeling entitled, and time to sort out the fucks.

Want more Millennial context?

Check out this video. Simon Sinek really explains it better than anyone else I’ve ever heard talk about it. The guy is fucking sharp.

Thanks to Gioia @ My Crazy World of Books Blog for sharing this with me. Check out her blog!!


Check me out on my new social media platforms! I am trying to expand, grow, and meet more people! (If you are reading this after watching the video above – yes – I understand the hypocrisy/irony.)



  1. Nice review. I want to reread this because it seems like a book one would get something out of in different ways, depending on where one is in life.
    I am back in the States for the summer after being away for many months, and entitlement is the number one thing that stands. It isn’t like this everywhere.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Love this article, Chaz, and the venn diagram. I’m not a Millenial, I’m a Gen Xer so I’m from the “whatever” cynical generation, but I can tell you it all does kind of “get better.” Patience and fortitude, friend. Cheers.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Not a millennial (one of those BB’s who screwed everything up), but I know from years of stuffing the negative and feeling dead that it doesn’t work that way. When I deny the negative I deaden everything. When I don’t feel bad I don’t feel anything. The most important thing I can do is find what enlivens me and follow that thread. Thanks for reading.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. I saw this on the shelves of my bookstore and felt oddly offended then amused by the title. After read these reviews I have to give it a chance.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. As Gen-X, I can tell you that the feeling of comfortable, but empty applies to more than one generation. I believe it was Hemingway, who said (to paraphrase) that he never met an intelligent person, who was happy. I think he was being a little harsh, but there are definitely people out there, who never question their place in life, their reason for being, what the meaning of life is, and, then, there’s the people, who question all that and more.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I had this book listed on my ‘to buy books.’ I thought this was all about caring less about rumors and the like. After this, I learned there’s much to this book. I could really learn more from this after all. Great post! Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Excellent review!! I think many of us have been acclimated to a malevolent internal dialogue. This book certainly opened my eyes.

    A couple of recommendations for “self improvement” titles: As A Man Thinketh and How To Win Friends & Influence People.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Chaz, I’m done now reading slowly but surely this blog/article of yours from start to finish. Now is the first time that I read from start to finish your blog/article and I really find it worth my time and full attention. Thank you very much for writing this blog/article. Honestly, I’ll buy the book within one week because you read the it well and I’m also one of the people who are taking for granted the book although it’s recommended to me for so many times. Thank you Chaz. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Great post. Not a millennial, but as a mother one, I totally get it. Sadly, it’s like the horse has left the stable, so what do we do?

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Thank you for appreciating my article! It is a real pleasure! Your blog is really awesome, I’ve been astonished from the home page. I followed you and I can’t wait to read your articles! Keep it going! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Don’t really like the sound of this book. Sounds like a pretty typical self-help book to me – and I am not a fan of those! They treat everyone the same (or split them into a few neat segments), assume everyone reacts the same to problems, and only ever deal with the none serious issues in life. I think if asked to advise a ‘Millenial’ who said: “I’m drowning in debt, I’ve just lost my job and I’m about to be made homeless because I can’t pay the rent”. Their response would be: “Your problem is that you are ‘entitled’, just change your attitude and everything will be fine.”
    I hate them! But then perhaps they are not actually written for people with real life problems. If you are someone who just feels slightly dissatisfied perhaps reading this crap would distract you from your petty problems for a few hours. If you have real problems then reading this would probably be the final straw to making you top yourself!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s basically what I was thinking! The assumption of this book, and every other one that throws around the word “entitlement” like so much confetti, is that there are no real problems, that it’s all in the other person’s head, and that they other person just needs to grow up and deal with it. Real problems do happen, and there are people who are seriously not being treated right by their employers.

      I know people with professional degrees who struggle to get by, working multiple part-time jobs, because none of their employers want to pay the wages or benefits for a full-time person. They’re burned from over-work and barely making a living while they do it. That’s a real problem, and they don’t need some arrogant person telling them that they’re just self-entitled and that they should work even harder. Some employers commit wage theft, refusing to pay people what they really owe for their work, and that’s not just a problem, it’s actually a crime! Unfortunately, it’s a crime that usually goes unpunished because people who are desperate for money and employment would have trouble taking an employer to court; they don’t think that they can spare the time or the money to do it, and they fear that it will hurt their changes of getting more work. Just ask all the freelancers who have their clients suddenly say, “April Fool! We’re not going to pay you, and we can get away with it because you’re just a freelancer, we know you’re desperate for work, you don’t have the time or the money to battle us in court, and we can always accuse you of doing poor work and having feelings of entitlement, and you know everyone will automatically agree with us!”

      In my experience the people who are really “entitled” in life are the very ones who throw around the word “entitled.” They’re trying to dodge their real world responsibilities and avoid paying what they owe by making it seem like the person they owe is really at fault for expecting too much of them. They don’t want to train the workers who support their business, saying that it’s their fault for not coming into their workplace knowing absolutely everything about the way this individual business is run as if they’ve already worked there for 5 years. They don’t want to pay the workers who make their business run, viewing employees (at best) as a necessary inconvenience that keeps them from keeping every single penny that comes in for themselves. (Just because they deal with every customer who comes in, handle all of the products and services, and sort out all of the difficult customer service problems doesn’t mean that they own the business, does it? Why do employees have to eat, anyway? What do you mean they have to pay rent? And why do they get sick or pregnant? Dang self-entitled snots!) They would be the first to yell if someone tried to screw them over, but they know the power of blackening someone’s name, and they’re prepared to do that to an entire generation of overworked, underpaid people just to get what they want for themselves. In the case of the author of this book, he’s just taking advantage of that and the people who like to look down on others who are having a hard time in their lives (or those who are desperate for any kind of advice that might help them) in order to sell more books. I appreciate the concept of persevering in the face of hardship or unfairness, but I’m not buying into the sales tactic of gas-lighting people into believing that unfair isn’t unfair and that their real problems aren’t real or shouldn’t matter.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I didn’t agree with their neat little Venn diagram, either. I see the point that not everything that you love and do well is necessarily something other people need or will pay you to do, but I don’t think that the categories and overlaps are that neatly proportioned, and there is too little overlap between what people need and what they’re willing to pay for. The gap isn’t just a matter of helping poor people who can’t pay, but also giving free or underpaid work to people who could pay and just don’t want to.


  12. SUCH a great review, Chaz! This book has been on the top of my TBR since I heard Mark Manson on the BRILLIANT IDIOTS podcast breaking his book down explaining his points. Have you seen it? If not, definitely find it on YouTube! You’ll LOVE it!


  13. Well, young Chaz, I can see by the photos in your comments section that you are in need of some older, wiser voices who–not to put too fine a point on it–were already not giving a f*ck even before your parents weren’t giving one.

    Or words to that effect.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Love the diagram! Mind if I share it? I’m a Baby Boomer and think I’ve been through all the subsets at one time or another in my life. My take is that it’s a journey, and I’ll continue moving through different subsets. The choice is mine when to move on.


  15. I almost wish you wish you hadn’t mentioned this book. Now, I’ve got to go out and read it. You did make a commend about an emptiness in millennial’s, but that’s in every generation. We have to find what we want to do, and not look to the right or the left on it, and put our heart and soul into.


  16. Nice review! I’m familiar with Manson’s writing from his blog. The book sounds right up my alley because I’m all about self-help books (Maybe that’s why I have so many problems…).


  17. Nice review! I spent three days last week in a leadership course. The convenor focused on us reframing our experiences, no matter how negative, to ask ourselves ‘What’s great about this?’. I tried it at work yesterday with my boss and boss’ boss about a difficult task with a tight deadline. They started by laughing and shaking their heads at my naivete then came around to looking for the positives.

    Having said that, I am on a path of career reinvention for several reasons – redundancy being the main reason but I felt the way you described. I was successful, paid well, enjoyed a modest reputation globally for my expertise in that niche; but I wasn’t having fun anymore. When I told my senior Vice President over shisha and G&T that I wasn’t having fun he arranged my expatriate assignment to Norway. That was a great life experience but it was essentially the same no longer fun job with a different flavour and now pay. Interestingly, neither of us is working in any remotely similar field now.

    I’m in a contract role now in the social welfare sector, starting again, building subject matter expertise and trying to find ways to help Australia’s most vulnerable people. I haven’t found myself at the centre of that chart but I’ll try!

    Best wishes to you on your path to not giving a fuck and finding what’s great about this!


  18. You’re a brilliant reviewer! I haven’t read it yet either (though I’ve heard of it many times, and LOVED Mark Manson’s blog), but you make it sound amazing! For me it was one of those books that I felt I had “read already” by just seeing the title and meditating on it and going…. AW YEAH.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. The noel thingI love about this book is that it opened my eyes to Charles Bukowski, whose name or writing I was not familiar with at the time. The rest of the book is horrible. It’s just a guy telling you not to give a fuck over and over again. I feel like he cares way too much about what other people think of him, which he tells the reader not to do. It gets a 10/10 from the though. For the Charles Bukowski thing.


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