OPINION: The book that’s a back-to-school essential

OPINION: The book that’s a back-to-school essential

As the semester begins, assignments pile up, internships start and the amount of communication with people increases. Sometimes you just want to say: F*** it.

Mark Manson created a book to encompass this feeling, “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck.” It’s framed as a counterintuitive approach to living a good life. 92% of Google reviewers like this book — myself included.

The great thing about this book is the bluntness, as seen in the title, and how it doesn’t fluff up unnecessary things. It’s a slap in the face, but instead of your face, it’s your brain.

It’s easy to fall into constant worry about what others will think about you. It can dictate decisions you make as you feel an increase in pressure to “succeed.” But how do you just stop caring about what others think? It’s in the title of the book.

It’s blunt and it’s real.

This book isn’t telling you to stop caring about everyone besides yourself, or turn into a selfish person. It’s telling you to be unapologetically yourself and to not care when mistakes are made. To stop putting so much care into things that don’t really matter. Because when you stop caring about things that don’t matter, you can spend more time caring about the things that do.

“It was his simple ability to be completely, unflinchingly honest with himself — especially the worst parts of himself — and to share his failings without hesitation or doubt,” Manson writes.

Our society tends to base our happiness off our productivity, so when one thing goes wrong it can feel catastrophic, when in reality we need to shrug our shoulders, lift our chin, and say “who cares?” And if people do care, does that mean we need to? To reiterate, this isn’t saying ‘don’t care,’ but rather make sure you’re caring about the right things.

When I look at people I admire, it’s always people with an optimistic state of mind. It’s not someone who’s ‘perfect,’ but a person that realizes a problem or mistake happened and instead of complaining, they keep going.

Manson discusses our first world problems, and how we always joke about how that’s what they are, and in reality… that’s exactly what they are.

“We have become victims of our own success. Stress-related health issues, anxiety disorders, and cases of depression have skyrocketed over the past thirty years despite the fact everyone has a flat-screen TV and can have their groceries delivered.” Mason writes, “Our crisis is no longer material; it’s existential, it’s spiritual.”

Manson goes on to discuss how we have so many things, and opportunities, we don’t even know what to care about anymore. He included a few more of the F-word sprinkled throughout as well.

While reading, this quote stuck with me:

“The desire for more positive experience in itself is a negative experience. And, paradoxically, the acceptance of one’s negative experience is itself a positive experience,” Manson writes.

Essentially saying, acceptance creates a positive experience, not wishing for one.

Mark saids his book isn’t about learning to gain or achieve, but rather how to lose and let go.

“It will teach you to take inventory of your life and scrub out all but the most important items,” Mark writes. “It will teach you to close your eyes and trust that you can fall backwards and still be okay. It will teach you to give fewer fucks.”