Every time I saw this book by Mark Manson, I thought, “click bait — yawn fest”. Then the pandemic being what it is, plus some lovely discount book sales on takealot.com; I decided to humour the title, buy the book and give it a read.
The most surprising thing about the book is, I laughed way more than I anticipated. It is actually a page turner because Manson has a way of writing that’s colloquial and highly engaging — it’s like reading a Twitter thread full of shade but also informative. I thought it quite brilliant the way he manages to use such casual language that ‘calls you out on your BS’ and also draws from respectable resources, and his own insights, to teach a thing or two.
From the title I subconsciously thought the book would be full of banter on ways to literally not give a damn about anything when in fact, it’s not quite the case. The book focuses more on prioritising what you choose to care about. As simple as that sounds, it’s actually quite tricky when he brings about some examples. For instance, if you are someone who naturally does not like confrontation, you may shy away from voicing a concern or complaint, then you silently morn about whatever while carrying on burdened with discontent. However, what you should rather do is embrace the confrontation, i.e. not give a f*ck about the reasons that make confrontation uncomfortable for you, deal with the issue at hand and carry on free of the burden. I put this into practice and it was very unnatural at first because evidently I used to give too many f*cks haha. However, after awhile, life adjusts accordingly and there’s nothing more freeing than occupying your mind with things that actually matter versus momentary discomfort caused by voicing your truth.
Entitlement was also a delicious theme from the book. Manson writes on how we all feel so entitled in one way or another. To paraphrase it to my understanding, both those with an inferiority complex and superiority complex suffer from a sense of entitlement they need to rid themselves of because both believe they are somehow special cases, which is BS. Neither is the exception nor all that special. As a collective we are all suffering, sure in different ways, but we all suffer — so what makes you so special to throw a pity party, or put yourself on a podium? I found this to be quite a hard-hitting theme because when one goes through tragedy, that pity party is in some ways justified because grief. However, this cannot be the be all and end of one’s life, you know? Anyway, I really liked this theme because it also helped me understand humanity from a different perspective I hadn’t consciously considered before.
All in all, the book was pleasantly surprising. I wouldn’t say it’s the gospel but some interesting themes are discussed in very on-trend language and it is worth a read to say the least. Also, I am aware that many folks (English majors, intellects and kin) do not like this book half as much as I do. I give it a solid 3.5 out of 5 rating regardless — if not the wisdom, the humour is worthwhile; a billion times better endless scrolling on your socials. Have you read the book already? Tell me your thoughts in the comment section below.