The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck

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The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson - Book Cover.png
AuthorMark Manson
CountryUnited States
Publication date
September 13, 2016
Media typePrint
ISBN978-0-06-245771-4 (hardcover)
Followed byEverything Is Fucked 

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life is a 2016 nonfiction self-help book by American blogger and author Mark Manson.[1] The book covers Manson's belief that life's struggles give it meaning and argues that typical self-help books offer meaningless positivity which is neither practical nor helpful, thus improperly approaching the problems many individuals face. It was a New York Times and Globe and Mail bestseller.

Publication history[edit]

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck was published under the imprint of HarperOne, a division of HarperCollins Publishers, and was released on September 13, 2016.[2]

As of May 2019, over 8 million copies of the book had been sold.[3]


The book is a reaction to the self-help industry and what Manson saw as a culture of mindless positivity that is not practical or helpful for most people.[4] Manson uses many of his own personal experiences to illustrate how life's struggles often give it more meaning, which, he argues, is a better approach than constantly trying to be happy.[5] Manson's approach and writing style have been categorized by some as contrarian to the general self-help industry, using blunt honesty and profanity to illustrate his ideas.[5][6]

The book has nine chapters. The first chapter, Don't Try, is named after the philosophy of Charles Bukowski, who served as a major inspiration for the whole book.

The chapters have the following titles:

1. Don't Try.

2. Happiness is a problem.

3. You are not special.

4. The value of suffering.

5. You are always choosing.

6. You are wrong about everything (But so am I).

7. Failure is the way forward.

8. The importance of saying no.

9. And then you die.[7]


The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck argues that individuals should seek to find meaning through what they find to be important and only engage in values that they can control. Values (such as popularity) that are not under a person's control, are, according to the book, 'bad values'. Furthermore, individuals should strive to replace these uncontrollable values with things they have the capability to change, such as punctuality, honesty, or kindness. Manson further cautions against claiming certainty about knowledge that is out of one's grasp, especially in the case of attempting to leave a legacy. Meaning can be found, Manson claims, when one seeks to create joy in the moment for one's self and those around as opposed to being concerned with building a body of work as a legacy.[1]


The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck first appeared on the New York Times Bestseller List at #6 for the category of How-to and Miscellaneous for the week of October 2, 2016.[8] It reached #1 for the first time on July 16, 2017.[9] As of the end of May 2020, the book has spent 179 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller list.[10]

The book also appeared on the Washington Post Bestseller List at #9 in the Non-fiction/General category for the week of September 25, 2016,[11] and on the Toronto Star List at #1 in the Self-Improvement category on September 23, 2016.[12] In 2017, it was the best-selling nonfiction book from Barnes & Noble,[13] the #4 best-selling book on all of,[14] and the #9 best-selling book in Canada.[15]

Kirkus Reviews said that the book was "[a] good yardstick by which self-improvement books should be measured."[16]

The book was noted as a prominent instance of an industry wide trend of swear words in book titles during the 2010s.[17][18]

Critics have been quick to note that the apparent lack of sophistication in language and style of the book is a clever disguise for more serious value-related content of the book.[19]


  1. ^ a b "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck". Retrieved February 20, 2018.
  2. ^ "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck". HarperCollins Publishers. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  3. ^ "Inside the latest book by bestselling 'F**ked' author Mark Manson". NyPost. 11 May 2019. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  4. ^ Franklyn, Tree (15 September 2016). "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck – A Book Review". Huffington Post. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
  5. ^ a b Pushkar, Katherine. "The last f—king self-help book you'll ever buy". NY Daily News. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
  6. ^ Rivera, Erica. "Interview: Mark Manson on "The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck"". Crave. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
  7. ^ Manson, Mark (2016). The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck (First ed.). New York: Harper One. p. 535. ISBN 978-0-06-245771-4.
  8. ^ "The New York Times Best Seller List: Advice, How-to and Miscellaneous. Week of Oct 3, 2016". New York Times. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
  9. ^ "The New York Times Best Seller List: Advice, How-to and Miscellaneous. Week of July 16, 2017". New York Times. Retrieved February 20, 2018.
  10. ^ "New York Times Best-Sellers: Advice, How-To, and Miscellaneous". New York Times. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  11. ^ "The Washington Post Best Seller List. Week of September 25, 2016". Washington Post. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
  12. ^ "Toronto Star Bestsellers". Toronto Star. 23 September 2016. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
  13. ^ "Fast Company: Barnes & Noble's best-selling books of 2017 are just so 2017". 18 December 2017. Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  14. ^ "Amazon Best Sellers of 2017". Amazon. Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  15. ^ "Here are the bestselling books in Canada of 2017". Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  16. ^ "THE SUBTLE ART OF NOT GIVING A F*CK". Retrieved February 20, 2018.
  17. ^ Graham, Ruth (2018-12-20). "Want a Best-Seller? Put the F-Word in the Title". Slate Magazine. Retrieved 2020-08-02.
  18. ^ Cronin, Brenda (2017-02-01). "Book Publishers Are Printing More #@$% Than Ever". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2020-08-02.
  19. ^ "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck - A Book Review". HuffPost. 2016-09-15. Retrieved 2020-11-13.

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