The various arts of not giving a f*ck

I’mma start off by talking about two books with very similar titles but, as it turns out, very different messages.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck (Mark Manson)

In general this book is about “not giving a fuck” about one’s own ego and entitlement.

First off, this book is aimed at a specific demographic that I’m definitely not a part of, that of wealthy American men. To me it came off as … amateurish, I guess. The author is a journalist writing about his own life experiences, and as far as I know, has not formally studied philosophy or psychology. It kind of shows. Some points that stood out:
– The book defines ‘problem’ so broadly as to include any effort or challenge, then asserts that ‘life always has problems.’
-It appears to define ‘happiness’ as ‘satisfaction’ but never explicitly does so.
-It assumes that the same strategies that work for minor ‘problems’ (such as getting over a breakup) will also work for major ‘problems’ (such as being disabled).
– One statement I agree with: that often dissatisfaction arises from wanting a result (eg fame) but not wanting to go through the process to get it (eg playing music).
– The author seems to have read exactly one book of philosophy (The Denial of Death, which I also made a thread on) and talks about it as if it’s the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything.

There are a few times where the book gives good advice that is undercut by its presentation:
This book: what we see on social media is not representative of real life.
Also this book: “coddled entitled millenials”

This book: Stop believing you need to be exceptional.
Also this book: holds up Malala Yousafzai and The Buddha as examples.

This book: own up to your weaknesses.
Also this book: it’s hard. Just do it.

There’s also an anecdote about how surviving the Holocaust was a character-building experience. Dude, WTF?

The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving A Fuck (Sarah Knight)

This one is presented as a parody of Marie Kondo’s books, right down to the dimensions of the book and the cover design. Its intended audience seems to be professional women, and what it advocates “not giving a fuck” about is saying no to activities one has no interest in, regardless of social pressure. This resonated a lot more with me, since women in North American culture have so many things we are expected to “give a fuck” about; when I don’t, it leaves me feeling a bit like an outsider. Not that I mind that most of the time.

This book does lean a little too much on the ‘Konmari parody’ angle, such as having four categories of topics to sort through; its material could have stood on its own a little more. The author is also more concerned than I would be about not hurting feelings or being “an asshole”. Maybe I’m an asshole by the author’s standard, I don’t know. The writing style is humorous enough, and it’s refreshing to hear, for once, that it’s okay not to care about superfoods/coworker’s pets/Mr Right or whatever else.

So, for discussion: Has anyone else read either of these books? Which one (if any) would you find more applicable to your life? And what are things that you don’t give a fuck about?

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