Book reviews by D.G. Kaye
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Sunday Book Review – The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

Today for my Sunday Book Review, I’m sharing my review of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. This book was one I enjoyed while on winter vacation, and since I read it at the pool in paperback version, it got a lot of attention. Surprisingly, 3 people around the pool came up to me to ask what I thought about the book and they also commented on how much they enjoyed it. The book reads like we’re in a conversation with the author who is sharing his strategy of sorting out in life what’s important enough to care about and why we should let go of the rest.





In this generation-defining self-help guide, a superstar blogger cuts through the crap to show us how to stop trying to be “positive” all the time so that we can truly become better, happier people.

For decades, we’ve been told that positive thinking is the key to a happy, rich life. “F**k positivity,” Mark Manson says. “Let’s be honest, shit is f**ked and we have to live with it.” In his wildly popular Internet blog, Manson doesn’t sugarcoat or equivocate. He tells it like it is—a dose of raw, refreshing, honest truth that is sorely lacking today. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is his antidote to the coddling, let’s-all-feel-good mindset that has infected American society and spoiled a generation, rewarding them with gold medals just for showing up.

Manson makes the argument, backed both by academic research and well-timed poop jokes, that improving our lives hinges not on our ability to turn lemons into lemonade, but on learning to stomach lemons better. Human beings are flawed and limited—”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 our limitations and accept them. Once we embrace our fears, faults, and uncertainties, once we stop running and avoiding and start confronting painful truths, we can begin to find the courage, perseverance, honesty, responsibility, curiosity, and forgiveness we seek.

There are only so many things we can give a f**k about so we need to figure out which ones really matter, Manson makes clear. While money is nice, caring about what you do with your life is better, because true wealth is about experience. A much-needed grab-you-by-the-shoulders-and-look-you-in-the-eye moment of real-talk, filled with entertaining stories and profane, ruthless humor, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is a refreshing slap for a generation to help them lead contented, grounded lives.


My 5 (4 1/2) Star Review:

Manson demonstrates, in conversational anecdotes, how life is always going to throw problems our way, but informs us on how to choose what is important in life to give a ‘f*ck’ about. His raw truths, told in satirical humor with many profanities are expressed to inform us that not everything in life is worth the energy to care about. He makes the points through sharing examples from his own life experiences and how he came to writing this book from his well-known blog, illustrating how often from childhood worrying about everything we encounter as children can lead to distancing our values and affect our self-esteem. Through his ups and downs in life he has found the antidotes to what’s really important and what to let go of by not telling us not to care, but explains how to decide what’s important to care about and how to avoid being overwhelmed by every little thing that bombards our emotional well-being.

This book reads like we’re listening to the author speak directly to us. Some parts were a bit draggy, but didn’t detract from the amount of stars I give it.



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D.G. Kaye is a nonfiction/memoir writer, who writes from her own life experiences and self-medicates with a daily dose of humor.


    • dgkaye

      That’s exactly what I thought. A good read. And he just released a new book – Everything is F*cked – A Book About Hope, lol. How’s that for a discombobulated title? 🙂 xx

  • Pete Springer

    Sounds intriguing, Debby. I definitely think there are thing that get the best of us and we should learn not to stress over because they aren’t worth the energy.

    • dgkaye

      That is so true Pete, although, it’s easier said than done for sure. That’s exactly what this book is about – learning how not to sweat the small stuff. 🙂

  • Joy Lennick

    Hi Debbie, The ‘mores’ of my youth (from a Catholic perspective) really messed me up. I tried so hard to live up to its dictates – the word ‘dictates’ is carefully chosen – but gradually learned to use my own brain (Isn’t that what they’re for?!) Consequence? I am now a Humanist and still DO give a about people, but without the former fear… Hugs xx

  • Hilary

    Hi Debby – well it’s probably time it was written … though I could do without the title – yet I’m reading ‘Zucked’ by Roger McNamee – you can probably guess who and what organisation it’s about. We can’t all glide around on top of the jelly … when we really should be floundering in it – I think I’ll probably order this to read. Obviously lots of people have been hooked in by the title … thanks for the review and noting it for us – cheers Hilary

    • dgkaye

      Hi Hilary. Yes, I didn’t choose the title, but Manson is quite emphatic with his words, lol. He has a new book out too which I plan on reading – ‘Everything is F*cked – A Book About Hope. Lol, what an oxymoronish title! And oh yes, Zucked must be a good read as it’s a tell all by McNamee isn’t it? Happy week to you Hilary 🙂 x

  • sally cronin

    Sounds infinitely sensible Debby… Life is not for sissies.. let alone aging.. and sugar coating just stops you from getting on with it.. Considering how much better off we are to 50% of the world.. they would love our problems! hugsxx♥

  • Rob Goldstein

    ‘Positive Thinking’ is great for people who have money and/or access to adequate resources. It’s not so great for the poor and for people who live at the mercy of the shallow assumption that we are all somehow responsible for the outcome of political decisions that adversely affect the quality of our lives. I did not decide to abuse myself; the community that enabled my abusers made that decision for me. Nor did I deprive myself of access to essential psychiatric services that might have prevented decades of unnecessary suffering. Voters who voted to de-fund the public mental health system made that decision for me. The children murdered and maimed in America’s public schools can’t put a positive spin on preventable death and a lifetime of suffering from trauma, nor should they have to. Do I sound angry? Yeah, I’m pissed off about it. But to be clear, I agree that we can all benefit from looking for the good in adversity, I don’t agree with those members of the positive thinking movement who refuse to validate and act on political decisions that compromise the quality of our lives.

    • dgkaye

      Hi Rob, thanks for sharing some of your beliefs here. I hear exactly what you are saying, and especially your last sentence. I really think you would like this book because Manson’s writing is real and raw and similar to your honesty. No, we can’t fix all the sh*t in the world, but we must choose our battles wisely. 😉

  • Olga Núñez Miret

    Thanks, Debby. I’ve noticed this book in bookshops and reading the description I thought I was already on the author’s page. I have a couple of non-fiction books about similar topics that I hope to catch up with soon, but might check this one as well when I get a chance… No harm in having a catchy title, I guess! (I remember using a pretty memorable quote from one of David Mamet’s films for the title of a talk I was giving at Sussex: “I’m from the United States of k*** my a** [no asterisks, though]. Con men in Mamet’s work [I think. Not sure about the second part]. I surely got a good turn up!) Have a great week!

  • Carol Balawyder

    Sounds like a down to earth book. It is so true that no matter how many positive videos you listen to it won’t take away the ebb and flow of life – the ups and downs. I think gratitude is always helpful. It helps us learn and grow through our difficulties, no matter how hard it might seem at the time. Also, sometimes it’s tricky to decide what really matters and what to let go of. Thanks, Debby, for your review. It’s much appreciated. <3

  • lisa thomson

    This book has been circulating among my friends 🙂 I haven’t read it yet so when I saw that you were reviewing it, I quickly clicked over. Sounds like a great message, Deb. Did you give it 4.5 stars or 5 stars? 😀

    The author is making the rounds to various cities doing his talk. It only costs over $200, so I declined to go with some girlfriends. I don’t give enough f***s to spend that much when I could simply buy the book haha. I know I sound like a party pooper but … it’s the subtle art.

    Thanks for sharing your review, Deb. I will add this one to my list. (Hopefully borrow the one making the rounds within my girlfriend circle).

    • dgkaye

      Lol you are hilarious Lis. And hey, I don’t blame you a bit, over $200 bucks, holy smokes – we better get ourselves on the road show LOL. Yes, the book will suffice fine. And still cracking up over how many f*cks you don’t give LOL. Oh, and yes 4 1/2 stars was my rating because despite my enjoying the content, some of it was a bit draggy. 🙂 xx

  • Robbie Cheadle

    This certainly is an interesting sounding book, Debby. A agree that people have to learn to fail and that not failing requires effort and hard work. The millennials have all missed this learning experience it seems.

  • Amy M Reade

    I have heard so much about this book. It’s on my list, but I just have been too busy to sit down and read it. I wonder if this is something that we all need to figure out for ourselves, rather than reading it in a book, but I am still intrigued by the author and his irreverent way of making a point, and I do look forward to it being a good read.

    • dgkaye

      I’m sure we all need to figure out for ourselves what our priorities should be, but I think this book is helpful in demonstrating how to go about it. Enjoy the read. 🙂

  • Michelle James

    Hi Debby. This book sounds like one I don’t want to miss. I passed the information along to my daughters-in-law. Maybe it should be required reading for all adults. Great review. Love and hugs! 💕🤗💕

    • dgkaye

      Lol Michelle. Thank you, and yes, perhaps it should be required reading! Just received my new copy of Manson’s newest release – Everything is F*cked – A book about hope. 🙂 xxxx

  • Sue Dreamwalker

    Sounds an interesting read, and I agree we care far too often too much about what other people think of us… And it often stops us from standing up and shouting from the rooftops what is in our hearts..

    We have become a society aligned with pleasing others because its been ingrained within us to be different is to be against!… Division is the name of the game… Which is why Free speech is being eroded in society, for fear of it offending,
    So the Title is apt..
    And agree with the Blurb when it said ” Once we embrace our fears, faults, and uncertainties, once we stop running and avoiding and start confronting painful truths, we can begin to find the courage, perseverance, honesty, responsibility, curiosity, and forgiveness we seek.”… Very true..

    Thank you Debby for your fine review.. <3 Love and Hugs

  • Liesbet

    I like the concept, and his ideas and conclusions in regards to priorities (that experiences are more important than money – wealth can be described in different ways!), but I’m not sure whether I could take all the profanity. I wonder whether it took away from the all around reading experience. Thanks for the review, Debby!

  • Jeri

    I really loved Manson’s book and have followed his blog for a couple of years now. I love how many different types of research sources he can pull from to make his point.

    • dgkaye

      I agree Jeri. And lol, I did see your 5 star review on Goodreads! Do you have his latest? Everything is F*cked – A book about Hope, lol, another fun title! 🙂 x

  • Christy B

    I’ve heard this book is a-mazing! Great to read your thoughts on it, Debby. I still remember when I first saw the title months ago and I was like, what the…?! 😉

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