Book recommendation: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

There is one question I get posed more often these days: How can I or person xyz learn to better reflect?

What seems like a trivial question is actually rather difficult. Sure, we are familiar with our own thoughts and we all try to make sense of that mess that can inherit our heads. But to reflect in a way to actually derive insight, understanding and an idea how to adjust and change is not that common.

What is my answer to this question?

The only answer I can give is how I do it myself. By analyzing my own behavior. Why did I not stand up for my needs in a specific situation? Was it because I didn’t want to get rejected? And if yes, how much do I reject or love myself? Or why did I make myself smaller than I am when I am around my dad? Is there a fear that lurks in the dark? Why did this person trigger me when she said xyz? What does it have to do with my values? Or does she allow herself something that I don’t allow myself?

You might guess that this is not an easy process. Especially, if you just start to really get to know yourself. The answers can be at times quite brutal.

In essence, look for situations that trigger you. Maybe that made you upset, sad, angry, but also happy and content. Those are wonderful opportunities to get to know yourself. And, as stated above, analyze situations and your behavior.

For example, if you want to become a better leader or partner. When do you get a reaction that you tried to achieve and when not? What was your intention deep down? Put yourself in the shoes of the other person. Can you find a reason why his/her behavior might have made sense? What can you change the next time you interact? Is it your approach? Your delivery? Or maybe a better intention?

Several of my coachees established an evening routine that included analyzing their behaviors that day or specific moments in order to identify patterns and to better understand themselves and others.

But what if a person does not want to reflect?

That’s a tough one. And I am not yet sure what the right approach might be. I think it depends on the person. Maybe she is afraid of finding something out about herself or he thinks that the holy grail is action and reflecting just gets in the way. In order to change though, what is crucial is a willingness to change. Without it, well, it’s difficult.

But you read the title and it said: book recommendation.

That’s what I am getting into right now.

In my life, I already read quite a few books. It is not often the case that along comes a book that is worth reading/listening to more than once. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson is such a gem.

Finally, we come to the book

It is a book that has crossed my path on occasion for several years now (it was first published in 2016). But I didn’t like the title. The subtle art of not giving a fuck… But I do want to give a fuck. I think it is one of my best traits that I do give a fuck. Sure, this is mainly true for selected things, but still, the title did not appeal to me at all.

But here it was again. While watching a video about THE 5 BOOKS YOU HAVE TO READ or something similar it was recommended again. Normally, I am intrigued by those videos but I rarely watch them. But as my list of saved videos grew disproportionately long, I watched it and was intrigued.

Okay, here we go. I still had one free audio book left to get, I chose to spend it on this book. What made it easier to directly jump into listening to it was its length. Just a bit over 5 hours is really manageable. The second nice surprise was that it had very short chapters, ranging from 5 to 15 minutes. Especially when I am listening to podcast or audio books that invite the listener to pause and reflect, this bite-sized chapter approach is great.

But what about the content?

If you’d ask me how to summarize this book I’d say confrontational. It is a book that triggered me on several occasions. While taking long walks and listening to it my heart area was aching which is a sign for me that something is happening. As if there is a hard truth I need to face and acknowledge. It is not an easy book to engage with, if you engage with it. It is a book you might want to argue with. You might want to shake your head and just delete it again, never to come back. And this is what makes it great. It can stimulate you, if you allow it to. Is the author right about everything he postulates there? Of course not. But maybe with some elements he is “less wrong” (this is a direct reference to one of his chapters) than what we hold to be the truth before.

It is a book that needs to be digested and processed. It is a book that I will need to come back to. And I am sure that when I pick it up again, there will be a different aspect that triggers something completely new. I like that. A lot. That’s why it is a recommendation.

And maybe this person who doesn’t see the value in reflection or is afraid to take a deeper look inside likes to read or listen to books. Then, this is a perfect gift to give.

I am curious. Did you read it already? If yes, what is your opinion?

Have a wonderful day, Stephan

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Sina M says:

    Love this blog post! Especially the questions to reflect on, and your take on the book recommendation. I read this book twice, once 4 years ago and the other time just recently. I recommend reading it more than once because some things just needed to process and I needed to sit with some of the topics that triggered me and reading it now, some other things in the book hit a sweet spot in me. It’s so valuable and I think there is some gold nuggets in it for all of us 🙂 Thank you for the blog post🙌

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the insightful comment Sina =)


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