One of the most-read texts on this blog (in fact, this text is still the champion in terms of the number of visits) is the review of Mark Manson’s book “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck”. This book ended up on my shelf known as the “Shelf with books that must be read at least once in a lifetime, preferably more than once, and which could have an impact on your life” (I know, even after more than a year, I haven’t changed its name… oh well, I don’t give a damn 😀). As you could see from my review, I was thrilled by the book (maybe it’s the right time to read it again?). A very direct approach to views on life, full of humor, sarcasm, contradictions, and painful facts about ourselves.
I’ll just say that “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” is one of the rare books in this genre that I love to gift.
So, I was very pleasantly surprised when his second book, “Everything is F*cked“, appeared in our bookstores. As always, our Mark is an eternal optimist 😁…
What’s interesting is that the full title of this book is “Everything is F*cked: A Book About Hope”. Yes, you read that right. But again, if you’ve read his previous book, you’ll just laugh and shake your head with a comment, “Good old, silly, contradictory Mark.”
What does this book about hope deal with when everything is already f*cked? 😀
Let me tell you right away, if you approach this book with an attitude of light reading and not much delving into, it will entertain you, make you laugh, and make you ask yourself a couple of questions.
And that would be a cardinal mistake with this book. Unless you plan to read it again immediately.
This is a book that, despite all its humor, sarcasm, swearing, and everything that comes with it, approaches some life problems and states quite studiously. Out of some three hundred pages of the book, fifty are devoted to the section “Notes”, which are actually footnotes to numerous articles and books, but what’s more interesting than those 50 pages, a large part consists of Mark’s additional (often sarcastic and witty) explanations of some concepts and views. This is a book that deserves to be delved into and pondered over what is written. Not just it, you deserve to delve into reading. I’m telling you seriously and sincerely advising you. The book will reward you greatly if you approach it more seriously. You’ll see if you read it, and if not, well, your loss. 🙂
Quote from the back cover of the book:
“Have you ever wondered why people are becoming more upset and unhappy despite life getting easier, why the news always seems so depressing, why economies are failing while the world is developing, and why everyone keeps enduring insults on social media even though they don’t have to?
Well, buckle up, because uncle Mark is taking us on a new ride, a rampage through heartache and soul stress, and Plato, Nietzsche, and Tom Waits, along with other great figures, will be joining us. Just as the book ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck’ re-examined our conventional wisdom about what makes us happy, ‘Everything is F*cked’ points to what makes life worth living. With his usual mix of knowledge and humor, Manson grabs us by the collar and challenges us to be more honest with ourselves and more connected to the world in ways we never dreamed possible.”
It’s not far from the truth to expect a wild ride.
Mark tries to explain (and backs it up with facts) how we have actually become quite fussy. And, if you honestly look at the world around you (and yourself in the mirror), as much as everything seems nice, the situation is pretty shitty (his words). What happened to us? Such technological progress has given us access to an unlimited source of (smart) information, yet we watch clips from “Farm” (bad reality TV show) on YouTube, get fired up over what celebrity A said to celebrity B in “Couples” (another bad reality TV show) or some other nonsense? We listen to the lies of politicians even though we know they’re lying? We listen to songs that promote drugs and stupid behavior under the guise of “it’s just a cool song, relax”. If someone tells us an opinion we disagree with, we immediately get riled up and ready to argue and squabble about how the other side is a complete retard, while we were touched by the goddess of wisdom Athena at birth (and that other retarded side was probably touched on the head by the drunken neighbor Jimmy). Or, God forbid, someone firmly stands behind their worldview (or dislikes something) and we immediately feel threatened and discriminated against (“So, girl, you don’t like ‘Ušće’ shopping mall, you prefer ‘Rajićeva’ shopping mall because it’s closer to you?! Oh, I see, I didn’t know you were such a rust bucket and had something against New Belgrade. So, you have something against me too, because I’M FROM NEW BELGRADE! ‘Just look at New Belgrade and Zemun, that’s Austria-Hungary, civilization, man. And this Old Town, Dorćol, and the rest…all been under the Turks, you’ll mess that up!’ OH DAD, WHY DIDN’T I LISTEN TO YOU!”). And if a waiter in a café brings you an extended-shortened-espresso-one-third-cold-coffee-half-cuba-half-arabica-cooled-cup and accidentally puts regular milk from “Maxi” (store) instead of soy milk, that’s more than enough reason to ruin your day, to scream at the waiter, insult him, and then behead him like a samurai, knowing you won’t be criminally responsible, because justice is on your side (HOW HARD IS IT TO PUT SOY MILK, PLEASE!).
I know, these are all exaggerated and unrealistic examples… at least I hope. But the fact is that we have become too frustrated, arrogant. And lazy.
But don’t worry, as Mark promises, there is hope… you just shouldn’t hope for it. 😀
Instead, you need to turn a little towards yourself. Towards what’s inside you.
Mark reveals many interesting things that will make you think. What is the Unpleasant Truth that constantly follows us, but we refuse to see it? How are we deluded in thinking that because the Thinking Brain is behind the wheel, it’s driving where we go, and not the Feeling Brain from the passenger seat (with all the views on how they should function in symbiosis… as much as possible… and not turn everything into a Clown Car)? This is a great chapter. There is also Newton from a parallel universe (aka emo-Newton) and his three laws of emotions (phenomenally and quite intelligently and logically written chapter). Let’s not forget the Formula of Humanity and what it really means to be mature as a person. Especially interesting will be the chapter about pain, because it points out how pain is something that follows us throughout life, and although we should not be masochists and enjoy suffering and hardships, trying to maximally protect ourselves from it will actually make us quite vulnerable and sensitive, and we won’t be able to cope with the real world. As you know, abs are made in the gym (place of pain), not on the couch with Netflix (comfort and safety zone), so only through pain can we progress (just remember, our parents and other ancestors went to school tens of kilometers away through the forest, barefoot, and had a crust of bread for a snack, and today we can’t get out of bed before half past twelve). There are also chapters on how, in fact, marketing manipulates our emotions and decides for us what we want to buy, and how we only have the illusion of choice. And finally, there’s the Ultimate Religion, and how in the end AI (artificial intelligence) will conquer us.
Mark Manson will refer to statistics, articles, books, Plato, Nietzsche, Kant, Buddha, Tom Waits, sarcasm, his interpretations, and at no point will he be boring, often making you laugh heartily.
My impressions of the book…
I think you could gather from everything written above that I quite liked the book. It ended up on my shelf (the one with the mile-long name, but from now on we’ll call it “The Shelf”), and is awaiting a re-read soon. You’ll read many interesting things, maybe even take some notes. As far as I’m concerned, there are a lot of smart thoughts, and for some things, I got ideas on how to incorporate or improve them for my own needs. Yes, this is one of those books that won’t literally tell you “do this and that” (in fact, Mark will never tell you that because he doesn’t give a damn what you do with your life 😀), but if you think a little, you’ll get an idea of what you can apply from it to your life.
Despite the title, the book “Everything is F*cked” will not, excuse my language, f*ck you up and kill your spirit. On the contrary, I think it will quite cheer you up with its humor and sarcasm (even though it touches on quite serious universal and existential questions). Of course, as in his previous book, Mark is not absolutely right about everything he says, some silly thoughts slip through, and he can be quite contradictory. Of course, Mark Manson doesn’t give a damn about my opinion of his book. Likewise, I don’t give a damn that Mark doesn’t give a damn about my opinion of his book (“Ah, both of you can f*ck off, if we’re being realistic”-note from the subconscious).
But again, that’s life. It’s f*cked, but who cares! 😀
The point is to live that life the best you can and without regrets. And you will do it only if you are a little more honest with yourself and with people close to you. If you dare to be a little more open and brave in relationships with your surroundings. And if you learn to find a balance in your life between emotions and rational thinking. Because, as you’ve noticed in your life (and you’ll further convince yourself in the book), if you’re extremely inclined only to the Thinking Brain or only to the Feeling Brain, you’ll create hell for both yourself and others.
Or to put it the way Mark Manson would: If you decide to remain stubborn, spoiled, and an arrogant asshole, there’s a high probability you’ll create so much shit in your life that you’ll have a hard time getting out of that shitty situation. Everything will be f*cked…
…and then even hope won’t help (“Oh yes, let’s end on a dark note, baby!”- note from the subconscious).
And you, dear reader, do you think there is hope, or is everything f*cked? 😅
(Originally reviewed: 18/01/2020)
Mark Manson’s website
Price of the book in Serbia: Makart | Delfi | Dereta | Laguna
Ratings (and purchasing) on international sites: Goodreads | Amazon (US) / Amazon (UK) | Waterstones | Barnes & Noble | Audible (US) / Audible (UK)