It’s been almost three years since internet blogger and entrepreneur Mark Manson released his debut book, “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counter-intuitive Approach to Living a Good Life,” which sold over 3 million copies and skyrocketed his career to instant fame.
Since then, he’s continued to write articles about topics ranging from happiness and self-knowledge to relationships and personal habits. He also put together an extensive online program, “The Connection Course,” composed of 11 video lessons and exercises geared toward helping people get better at conversations with people they’ve just met, and connect with people they already know on deeper levels.
On May 14, Manson’s much-anticipated second novel, “Everything is F*cked: A Book about Hope,” comes out, and bookstores across the country are preparing for the glut of customers planning to rush in and get their hands on a copy. This time, the No. 1 New York Times’ best-selling author is shifting his focus from the faults within human beings to the never-ending calamities exhausting the world around us.
According to Scott Barry Kaufman, psychology professor at Columbia University and host of “The Psychology Podcast,” Manson’s new book “continues to break down questions about human happiness and well-being in creative and unexpected ways. The result is a wonderfully accessible book that tackles some of the deeper questions about where our world is headed, as well as how to take better care of ourselves (and each other) until we get there.”
After compiling extensive psychological investigations and research from timeless philosophers such as Plato and Nietzsche, the distinguished writer tackles a variety of controversial topics in his new book, including the unfortunate ways that religion and politics have began to resemble each other. On top of this prevalent, yet rarely discussed subject, Manson also engages with the idea that “too much of a good thing can psychologically eat us alive,” specifically in regard to people’s relationships with the internet, entertainment and money.
From the looks of it, “Everything is F*cked” will be another project by Manson that challenges preconceived notions and redefines society’s opinions of concepts such as freedom and happiness. However, before that comes out, there are a few reasons why readers should plan to read his preceding novel before the new one, if they haven’t already.
1. It Redefined a Genre
“The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” is often described as a self-help book for people who usually despise self-help books; it is a personal growth book written specifically with this generation in mind. Instead of the typical “stay positive” advice that most books within the genre throw out, Manson says f—k positivity. Let’s be honest, sometimes things are f—ed up and we have to live with it.
The groundbreaking book fights the delusional expectations we have for both ourselves and the world around us, and encourages us to deal with hardships differently.
For college students especially, the idea of being better equipped to handle adversity rather than simply pretend it doesn’t exist resonates on a visceral level. Manson encourages everyone to come to terms with their limitations, embrace their downfalls and confront the things they tend to avoid. In doing so, we will be able to find the bravery and confidence we seek.
2. It Reminded Us That It’s Okay to Say “No”
Have you ever felt the weight of a list of obligations and commitments you’ve made to other people? Have you ever wanted to back out of plans you made, but went through with them because of the fear of having to tell the person “no”? According to Manson, “In life, we have a limited amount of f*cks to give. So you must choose your f*cks wisely.”
In “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck,” there’s an entire chapter dedicated to the “The Importance of Saying No.” Manson uses a number of allusions and personal stories to give context and deliver points. In this section, he recalls feeling stuck in a career that brought him a great deal of discomfort, and the pain that comes with constantly trying to be well-liked by everyone around you.
Understanding that the consumer culture we live in always makes us want more, Manson explains why we’ve been misled to believe that more is always better. In fact, the opposite is true: We are often happier with less, and the ways that Manson brings this to life will stay with readers long after the last page is turned.
3. It Ended with a Bang
Although “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” is highly entertaining from start to finish, the closing chapter is the one that is most impossible to put down. Titled “…And Then You Die,” Manson uses this section of the novel to shed light on a night that perpetually transformed him.
When he was 19 years old, Manson went to a lake party with his friend, Josh, and it changed both of their lives forever. In the series of events Manson takes the reader through, we witness a young man on the brink of adulthood face an event that causes his life to spiral into a deep, dark depression. After discussing the various ways death impacts life, Manson finds the strength to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
“Without death, everything would feel inconsequential, all experience arbitrary, all metrics and values suddenly zero,” he writes. His first book left a strong impression on readers, and his new one, “Everything is F*cked,” is bound to do the same.