Egger’s book of the month: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

Matthew Egger, copy editor

Typically, when I am choosing a book, I pick one simply out of curiosity. Unfortunately, I usually do not actually apply what I read to my life; yes, I learn things, but most of the time, I just move on and read a new book. However, I recently finished  The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson and found it to have vast implications in my own life. It is written extremely simply, yet is very thought-provoking. I believe that all high schoolers seeking direction should read this book.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck argues that one of the main thieves of satisfaction is the human tendency to regard others’ lives as being more joyful, positive, or fun. Manson calls this tendency “The Feedback Loop from Hell.” The negative feedback loop has been exacerbated by heavy usage of social media, which is packed with people showing themselves off their best selves. This leads the viewers of these unrealistically upbeat social media posts to believe that there is something inherently wrong with their own lives.

One of Manson’s integral points is that no matter what one decides to do in life, he or she will suffer. There is no perfect life. Consequently, we must accept the reality that our lives will be marked by both pain and boringness. Yes, there will be occasional highs, but mindlessly chasing highs leads to the destruction of one’s relationships, core values, and direction in life. Manson shares with the reader an anecdote of a friend of his, Jimmy, who endlessly pursued highs in the form of wealth, women, and parties. On the outside, Jimmy’s life appeared amazing. However, he was deeply unsatisfied due to his financial dependence on family and lack of commitment to a greater goal.

From a young age, we are told that we are destined for greatness. However, Manson argues that this is a very destructive belief that leads to the development of a sense of entitlement. Rejecting entitlement, Manson supports accepting that life may be just average. Reading this part of the book was extremely difficult. What is the purpose of life if it is going to be mediocre? However, I began to realize that Manson’s point isn’t to simply forego effort in life; instead, it is to accept one’s failures and to reject entitlement. By refuting the idea that everyone is exceptional, we are less likely to expect things without having to earn them.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is a book everyone should read because it leads the reader to develop a sense of introspection. During and after reading the book, I found myself questioning what actually matters to me and what values I hope to direct my life. As a senior, I believe I speak on behalf of the Class of 2019 when I say that introspection is a particularly timely topic. Deciding where to attend college, what to study, and what activities bring us the most joy is tough.

However, after reading The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck I have begun to confront life with a new perspective that is accepting that one day, I will die, and absolutely nothing will matter. Fittingly, this is Manson’s final point in the book; “in the face of the inevitability of death, there is no reason to ever give in to one’s fear, or embarrassment, or shame, since it’s all just a bunch of nothing anyway.”