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 #1 bestseller 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.
- I loved this author’s first book, “Models” and recommend it so highly, I think that every man should read “Models,” and to a certain extent, I would recommend it for all women as well, though it would apply to them less.
His second book “The subtle art of not giving a F$%#” was a huge drop off in quality. I read his second book a few years ago and there are two things I remember about it. First, I felt kind of tricked into getting the book because it had a “catchy” title. Second, I remember that he frequently contradicted his own statements so the book had no cohesive message.
I don’t usually write reviews, but I felt compelled to write this one because I feel like I was tricked again.
The book (again) has a catchy title that really isn’t necessary. The book (again) frequently contradicts itself so I did not take away a cohesive message. The worst part of this book was that it became very clear to me that this is just a random guy writing his own thoughts. He is not an expert.
That might be why I enjoyed the first book so well. The first book he was writing about something that he was an expert in, something he had a lot of experience with and something he wrote authentically.
- Not only is this book immensely readable and fun
It does that while covering existentially terrifying concepts like “Life is pain” and “Nothing matters”
and while covering free will and the self
and while covering some of the most fundamental philosophical ideas from Plato to Kant to Nietzsche
and while covering the source of all religions, ideologies, and personal relationships
and while covering the terror of global self-destruction via nuclear war etc. and the unfathomable power of Artificial Intelligence which will rule over us as gods
and while covering the effect of the internet given all of these things
and while covering how you could respond in the face of all this.
In the acknowledgements he implies that with this book he bit off more than he could chew… and then chewed it.
I’ll be chewing this book for years to come.
- If you liked Subtle Art, you’ll enjoy this too. I couldn’t put it down, actually, reading it in under a day.
Mark has a talent for taking potentially boring subject matter, such as the teachings of philosophers, and bringing it to life in easy-to-understand language (with plenty of expletives).
I especially liked his Consciousness Car metaphor in explaining the Thinking Brain vs Feeling Brain (would love to see an animated cartoon version), and thoughts on antifragility and how we benefit by choosing to accept (and even seek out) discomfort in our lives.
If you’ve been feeling like the world is a mess (especially in terms of politics) lately, this book can help you make sense of what’s going on. And, it includes some takeaways we as individuals can use to help make a positive difference for ourselves, and by extension, society.
- Started great. Then got awkward. Then weird. But not in a cool way. From the religion chapter on I just hated it. I feel like the author was honest and put his heart and soul into it but sometimes even if you’re well meaning and have previous success, when you push the limits and strain yourself to capacity, all that comes out is a fart. Never mind. I’ll still read Manson’s next one.
- What mark has done with this book is incredible. What Mark gives you by reading this book is clarity. Clarity of who we are as humans and reasons behind our tendencies to mess things up due to our emotions, prejudices, biases, cultures, religions, myths and ultimately by having hope. He explains why hope is the reason we decide to live on and create meanings in our lives but at the same time, hope also causes ultimate destructions in the world. And he suggests that ironically by eliminating hope, that action gives us the insight to see the world as they are.
Reading this book is like examining interesting lego pieces that are relevant to everyone and curiously watching Mark put each piece on top of one another. Then by the time each chapter is finished, you are like “wow, now I can see what he was building and it’s clear and beautiful.”
Pessimists only think about the past which will lead you to depression. Optimists will hallucinate, but we all must strive to be realists: seeing the world as they truly are. This book will help you tremendously towards comprehending ourselves interacting in this complex world we live in and will ultimately help you become a better human. I will read and re-read, buy this book as a gift to others and will pass on your messages to everyone I know. I can’t highly recommend enough of this book. Thank you Mark for creating this important book.