We’re always trying to better ourselves. Hell, a year doesn’t go by without hearing the mantra New Year, New Me splattered on every Facebook timeline across the western hemisphere. We’re obsessed with chasing happiness, chasing the new dietary trend, chasing dreams. We’ve created a religion out of the self-help genre. We created altars (albeit, we call them “vision boards”) to self-help. And the only people profiting from these books are the writers.
I stayed away from reading any self-help
novel book. Sure, I thumbed through a few chapters in the past, scanned the table of contents, read the blurbs. But I never took them seriously. And I never met a person who came out on top after reading one of these books. In fact, if anything, they’re more miserable after extrapolating the advice into their daily lives. Who knew that the search for happiness would lead to such misery?
Because that’s what the advice genre leads to: unhappiness. Because we’re giving standards to live by and feel like failures when we can’t achieve them. And if we do achieve them, we begin to feel miserable because we’ve become stagnant—we become stuck in our ways. Then we return to the self-help tab on Amazon and buy another book. Rinse and repeat.
Enter Mark Manson. I wouldn’t know this man from Adam. Never read his blog. Never heard of his name before. I chuckled a bit when I first saw his book at Barnes and Noble. (The dude’s surname is Manson, after all.)
But the book title intrigued me. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life. What’s not to love? Surely, the man’s done his homework about getting a skeptic’s attention. Three months later, I bought the damn book.
This isn’t your run-of-the-mill self-help guide. Manson offers no support for your feelings. He slings the truth at you like Paul Bunyan swings his axe: your forest of security is destroyed. Your illusions, burned. Because this is the book that will actually put you on the right path toward happiness. He gives you no mantras. Doesn’t promise you a get-rich-scheme for happiness. And he most definitely won’t sugarcoat it for you. This is as real as it’s going to get for you.
And it’s o.k. that throughout the book you’re going to feel as if Mr. Manson was once a fedora-wearing brotard. Because he might have been, but who gives a fuck. If you’re so deterred about this style of writing, then you’re dealing with too much nothing in your life.
So take it from someone who doesn’t like self-help books. Someone who’s sworn against them. Someone who laughs at people who buy them in bulk: This is the book for you.
Until next time, keep on huntin’