BOOK CORNER: THE SUBTLE ART OF NOT GIVING A F*CK–a counterintuitive approach to living a good life by Mark Manson



Khidki (Window)

–Read India Initiative—

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get the time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about.


    ‘Fuck’ is a scandalous and a vulgar cuss word not meant for the civilized society. But then it has a lot to do with the making and breaking of life. Before, I move ahead let me refresh you with the meaning of this word. One of course is the usual one—to have a sexual intercourse. And running alongside that, it is also used, while expressing, extreme anger, or to add force, to what is being said. Some words get ostracised because of its dirty meaning. According to Oxford dictionary, fuck also means ‘your ruins.’ Let me now construct, two sentences for you, using the four letter word. One is.

  1. I don’t give a fuck—which means I don’t care.
  2. I give a fuck—which means I care.

    I am telling you all of this, to make you understand the book even better. The book has a long title supported by an even longer sub-title that goes as, “THE SUBTLE ART OF NOT GIVING A F*CK—a counter-intuitive approach to living a good life.” by Mark Manson. Counterintuitive means, contrary to intuition, or a kind of common-sense expectation. I would call this book a wonder book, because the author converts the four letter word ‘fuck’ into a handy an appropriate life lesson for readers. New York Times and Globe and mail a Canadian chronicle have declared it, as a bestseller. The other word extensively used in this book is sucks which is an expression of disappointment. The book is priced at $17.99, published in 2016 by Harperone.   The book lives up to its title in all boisterousness. Mark Manson is a star blogger, with more than two million readers. He lives in New York City. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, is his, first book.

     For this day and age the book is a self-help guide, written by a super-star blogger. It charts the course for us, to make us happier and stronger. The real panacea of which is how to handle adversity better, and stop trying to be positive all the time. Of course the gap between the two is quite wide.

    For the past few years, Mark Manson through his ecstatically popular blog, has been working on correcting, our delusional expectations, for ourselves and for the world. He now brings his hard fought wisdom to this ground breaking book. Manson makes the argument that human beings by nature are imperfects and even limited. As he writes, ‘not everybody can be extraordinary—there are winners and losers in society, and some of it is not fair or your fault.” Manson advises us to get to know your limitations and accept them as they are. This he says, is the real source of empowerment. Once we embrace our fears, faults and uncertainties. Once we stop running from and avoiding, and start confronting, painful truths—we will begin to find the courage and confidence we desperately need.

    In life, we all have a limited amount of fucks to give. So, you must choose your fucks wisely. Manson brings a much needed, grab-you-by-the-shoulders-an-look-you-in-the-eyes moment, of real-talk, filled with entertaining stories, and profane, ruthless humor. This narration is a refreshing pat on the face of all, so that we can start living a more contented and grounded life.

     The book is a little over two hundred pages and if one goes at an uninterrupted pace, one could finish it within two days. It is in many ways a page turner written in lucid English quite easy to comprehend. It has long gripping sentences with appropriate pauses in terms of sentence breaks and well suited prepositions. The author has curtailed unnecessary flab in his narration. Within a para, the breaks are few and that gives a good flow of thoughts so very necessary for such life-lesson emitting books. Many sentences are somewhat unconventional, and more than that the thoughts are quite out-of-the-box. It is divided into nine chapters with sub-chapters. The book hinges on two prime words—‘fuck’ and ‘sucks.’

    Everyone believes. The key to a good life is a nice job, a sexy limousine, or a pretty girlfriend. The world keeps telling you over-and-over again, that the matrix for a successful life is to have more … more … and … more. Buy more, own more. You are constantly bombarded with messages to give a fuck about everything, and at all times. But the key to a good life is not giving a fuck about more; but giving a fuck about less, or giving a fuck about only what is true and immediate and important. I’m sorry for having used the four letter word so very often in this narration. But without which you wouldn’t have got the real feel of the book.

    The book has many interesting stories and anecdotes that I would not like to disclose in great detail. But yes of course. I liked the one about the Japanese second lieutenant and the Rock Star band. The book teaches that life is essentially an endless series of problems. Problems never stop they only get exchanged or upgraded. Happiness is a constant work-in-progress. It teaches you the value of suffering. Human beings often dedicate a large part of their lives to seemingly useless and destructive causes.

    It says happiness is a problem yet happiness comes by solving problems. And mind you, you are not special. The book defines certain values as shitty and even obsolete. It says a lot of time in our life is wasted in choosing. And of course failure is the way forward. It talks about action, inspiration and even motivation. Most of us commit to action only if we feel a certain level of motivation. And we feel motivated only when we find enough emotional inspiration.

    The book inspires you to believe that you’re wrong about everything. The author cites examples in terms of cartographers who some five hundred years ago believed that California was an island. Doctors believed that by slicing a person’s arm open (or by causing bleeding anywhere) one could cure a disease. Scientists believed that fire was made out of something called phlogiston (a combustible substance). Women believed that rubbing dog urine on their face had anti-aging benefits. Astronomers believed that the sun revolved around the earth. But then were they right?

    I would recommend this book. If not for anything else, at least it will advise you how to be comfortable in negative situations. While reading this book I was even reminded of my own poem that I wrote sometime back. The title of which is … ‘Bad times is a friend of all times’ published in a book titled, ‘Rhythm … in poems.’ I would give this debut book of Mark Manson eight out of ten.

   Synopsis by Kamlesh Tripathi



Share it if you like it


Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:


Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805


Our publications


(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  


(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)


(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)


(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)


(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)








Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s