Welcome to my Sunday Book Review. This week’s book – Everything is F*#ked – A Book About Hope by Mark Manson, was a bit difficult to review because I couldn’t feel an appropriate conclusion on what the book’s messages were really giving off. Now, I don’t normally review books I give 3 stars or less, but seeing as I struggled to finish this book and put in the time to finish, which seemed to drag on each time I picked it back up, I felt I at least should share some sort of a review. Also, I do want to add that I did read and review Manson’s previous book – The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*#k, which I thoroughly enjoyed – (you can read that review HERE) I presumed I’d enjoy his next one, but that’s not always the case.
From the author of the international mega-best-seller The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck comes a counterintuitive guide to the problems of hope.
We live in an interesting time. Materially, everything is the best it’s ever been – we are freer, healthier, and wealthier than any people in human history. Yet, somehow everything seems to be irreparably and horribly f*cked – the planet is warming, governments are failing, economies are collapsing, and everyone is perpetually offended on Twitter. At this moment in history, when we have access to technology, education, and communication our ancestors couldn’t even dream of, so many of us come back to an overriding feeling of hopelessness.
What’s going on? If anyone can put a name to our current malaise and help fix it, it’s Mark Manson. In 2016, Manson published The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck, a book that brilliantly gave shape to the ever-present, low-level hum of anxiety that permeates modern living. He showed us that technology had made it too easy to care about the wrong things, that our culture had convinced us that the world owed us something when it didn’t – and worst of all, that our modern and maddening urge to always find happiness only served to make us unhappier. Instead, the “subtle art” of that title turned out to be a bold challenge: to choose your struggle; to narrow and focus and find the pain you want to sustain. The result was a book that became an international phenomenon, selling millions of copies worldwide while becoming the number-one best seller in 13 different countries.
Now, in Everthing Is F*cked, Manson turns his gaze from the inevitable flaws within each individual self to the endless calamities taking place in the world around us. Drawing from the pool of psychological research on these topics, as well as the timeless wisdom of philosophers such as Plato, Nietzsche, and Tom Waits, he dissects religion and politics and the uncomfortable ways they have come to resemble one another. He looks at our relationships with money, entertainment, and the internet, and how too much of a good thing can psychologically eat us alive. He openly defies our definitions of faith, happiness, freedom – and even of hope itself.
With his usual mix of erudition and where-the-f*ck-did-that-come-from humor, Manson takes us by the collar and challenges us to be more honest with ourselves and connected with the world in ways we probably haven’t considered before. It’s another counterintuitive romp through the pain in our hearts and the stress of our soul. One of the great modern writers has produced another book that will set the agenda for years to come.
My 3 Star Review:
Let me preface this by saying, I tried so hard to follow this book – to no avail. After reading Manson’s previous book – The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*#k, which I loved, I was eager to read this one. It took me quite awhile to finish because I just couldn’t get into it or form a connection with what seemed discombobulated and random facts, anecdotes, quotes and opinion, and of course, Manson’s style of emphasizing with expletives in his sarcastic humor. Normally, when feeling uninspired by a book, I’d just put it aside, but I was curious to see where it was leading, and was left wondering the same after I finished it.
While touching on scriptures and philosophical stories on such topics as, thinking brains vs. feeling brains, choices we make in life, excerpts on the life and teachings of Newton, Plato, Nietzsche, and several others, I just didn’t feel the theme was cohesive. Eager to finish each chapter hoping for a point or conclusion, I couldn’t help but feel disappointed. A hodge-podge of thoughts on religion, war, artificial intelligence and more, I felt this was a bit all over the map rather than carrying a central theme, often waiting for a point. And I just didn’t get the feeling of hope or inspiration from this reading. I’m sorry Mr. Manson.