47 Quotes from The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck book by Mark Manson



Hello friends. This post is a collection of quotes from the New York Times bestseller book - The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck has been described as a generation-defining self-help guide which cuts through the crap to show us how to stop trying to be positive all the time so that we can truly become better, happier people.

Chapter 1-3 Quotes

Giving too many fucks is bad for your mental health. It causes you to become overly attached to the superficial and fake, to dedicate your life to chasing a mirage of happiness and satisfaction. The key to a good life is not giving a fuck about more; it's giving a fuck about less, giving a fuck about only what is true and immediate and important. - The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Chapter 1

Stress-related health issues, anxiety disorders, and cases of depression have skyrocketed over the past thirty years, despite the fact that everyone has a flat-screen TV and can have their groceries delivered. Our crisis is no longer material; it's existential, it's spiritual. We have so much fucking stuff and so many opportunities that we don’t even know what to give a fuck about anymore. - The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Chapter 1

Everything worthwhile in life is won through surmounting the associated negative experience. Any attempt to escape the negative, to avoid it or quash it or silence it, only backfires. The avoidance of suffering is a form of suffering. The avoidance of struggle is a struggle. The denial of failure is a failure. Hiding what is shameful is itself a form of shame. - The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Chapter 1

Pain is an inextricable thread in the fabric of life, and to tear it out is not only impossible, but destructive: attempting to tear it out unravels everything else with it. To try to avoid pain is to give too many fucks about pain. In contrast, if you're able to not give a fuck about the pain, you become unstoppable. - The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Chapter 1

In my life, I have given a fuck about many things. I have also not given a fuck about many things. And like the road not taken, it was the fucks not given that made all the difference. - The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Chapter 1

Most of us struggle throughout our lives by giving too many fucks in situations where fucks do not deserve to be given. - The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Chapter 1

When you give too many fucks - when you give a fuck about everyone and everything - you will feel that you're perpetually entitled to be comfortable and happy at all times, that everything is supposed to be just exactly the fucking way you want it to be. This is a sickness. And it will eat you alive. - The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Chapter 1

This is what is so admirable. The willingness to stare failure in the face and shove your middle finger back at it. The people who don't give a fuck about adversity or failure or embarrassing themselves or shitting the bed a few times. The people who just laugh and then do what they believe in anyway. [...] They say, "Fuck it," not to everything in life, but rather to everything unimportant in life. They reserve their fucks for what truly matters. Friends. Family. Purpose. Burritos. And an occasional lawsuit or two. And because of that, because they reserve their fucks for only the big things that matter, people give a fuck about them in return. - The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Chapter 1

To not give a fuck about adversity, you must first give a fuck about something more important than adversity. - The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Chapter 1

Finding something important and meaningful in your life is perhaps the most productive use of your time and energy. Because if you don’t find that meaningful something, your fucks will be given to meaningless and frivolous causes. - The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Chapter 1

Maturity is what happens when one learns to only give a fuck about what's truly fuckworthy. - The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Chapter 1

We suffer for the simple reason that suffering is biologically useful. It is nature's preferred agent for inspiring change. [...] because it's the mildly dissatisfied and insecure creature that's going to do the most work to innovate and survive. [...] This constant dissatisfaction has kept our species fighting and striving, building and conquering. - The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Chapter 2

Don't hope for a life without problems. There's no such thing. Instead, hope for a life full of good problems. - The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Chapter 2

Happiness comes from solving problems. [...] If you're avoiding your problems or feel like you don't have any problems, then you're going to make yourself miserable. If you feel like you have problems that you can't solve, you will likewise make yourself miserable. The secret sauce is in the solving of the problems, not in not having problems in the first place. - The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Chapter 2

A fixation on happiness inevitably amounts to a never-ending pursuit of "something else" - a new house, a new relationship, another child, another pay raise. And despite all of our sweat and strain, we end up feeling eerily similar to how we started: inadequate. - The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Chapter 2

Who you are is defined by what you're willing to struggle for. People who enjoy the struggles of a gym are the ones who run triathlons and have chiseled abs and can bench-press a small house. People who enjoy long workweeks and the politics of the corporate ladder are the ones who fly to the top of it. People who enjoy the stresses and uncertainties of the starving artist lifestyle are ultimately the ones who live it and make it. - The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Chapter 2

See: it's a never-ending upward spiral. And if you think at any point you're allowed to stop climbing, I'm afraid you’re missing the point. Because the joy is in the climb itself. - The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Chapter 2

It turns out that merely feeling good about yourself doesn't really mean anything unless you have a good reason to feel good about yourself. It turns out that adversity and failure are actually useful and even necessary for developing strong-minded and successful adults. It turns out that teaching people to believe they're exceptional and to feel good about themselves no matter what doesn't lead to a population full of Bill Gateses and Martin Luther Kings. - The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Chapter 3

Entitlement closes in upon itself in a kind of narcissistic bubble, distorting anything and everything in such a way as to reinforce itself. [...] People who are entitled delude themselves into whatever feeds their sense of superiority. They keep their mental facade standing at all costs, even if it sometimes requires being physically or emotionally abusive to those around them. - The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Chapter 3

Something about recent technology seems to allow our insecurities to run amok like never before. The more freedom we're given to express ourselves, the more we want to be free of having to deal with anyone who may disagree with us or upset us. The more exposed we are to opposing viewpoints, the more we seem to get upset that those other viewpoints exist. The easier and more problem-free our lives become, the more we seem to feel entitled for them to get even better. - The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Chapter 3

Our lives today are filled with information from the extremes of the bell curve of human experience, because in the media business that's what gets eyeballs, and eyeballs bring dollars. That's the bottom line. Yet the vast majority of life resides in the humdrum middle. The vast majority of life is unextraordinary, indeed quite average. - The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Chapter 3

Technology has solved old economic problems by giving us new psychological problems. The Internet has not just open-sourced information; it has also open-sourced insecurity, self-doubt, and shame. - The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Chapter 3

Chapter 4-6 Quotes

Pleasure is great, but it's a horrible value to prioritize your life around. [...] Pleasure is a false god. [...] Pleasure is the most superficial form of life satisfaction and therefore the easiest to obtain and the easiest to lose. And yet, pleasure is what's marketed to us, twenty-four/seven. It's what we fixate on. It's what we use to numb and distract ourselves. But pleasure, while necessary in life (in certain doses), isn't, by itself, sufficient. Pleasure is not the cause of happiness; rather, it is the effect. If you get the other stuff right, then pleasure will naturally occur as a by-product. - The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Chapter 4

When people measure themselves not by their behavior, but by the status symbols they're able to collect, then not only are they shallow, but they're probably assholes as well. - The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Chapter 4

When we force ourselves to stay positive at all times, we deny the existence of our life's problems. And when we deny our problems, we rob ourselves of the chance to solve them and generate happiness. Problems add a sense of meaning and importance to our life. Thus to duck our problems is to lead a meaningless (even if supposedly pleasant) existence. - The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Chapter 4

This, in a nutshell, is what "self-improvement" is really about: prioritizing better values, choosing better things to give a fuck about. Because when you give better fucks, you get better problems. And when you get better problems, you get a better life. - The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Chapter 4

There's a difference between blaming someone else for your situation and that person's actually being responsible for your situation. Nobody else is ever responsible for your situation but you. Many people may be to blame for your unhappiness, but nobody is ever responsible for your unhappiness but you. This is because you always get to choose how you see things, how you react to things, how you value things. You always get to choose the metric by which to measure your experiences. - The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Chapter 5

We all love to take responsibility for success and happiness. Hell, we often fight over who gets to be responsible for success and happiness. But taking responsibility for our problems is far more important, because that's where the real learning comes from. That's where the real-life improvement comes from. - The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Chapter 5

We all get dealt cards. Some of us get better cards than others. And while it's easy to get hung up on our cards, and feel we got screwed over, the real game lies in the choices we make with those cards, the risks we decide to take, and the consequences we choose to live with. People who consistently make the best choices in the situations they're given are the ones who eventually come out ahead in poker, just as in life. And it's not necessarily the people with the best cards. - The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Chapter 5

Growth is an endlessly iterative process. When we learn something new, we don't go from "wrong" to "right." Rather, we go from wrong to slightly less wrong. And when we learn something additional, we go from slightly less wrong to slightly less wrong than that, and then to even less wrong than that, and so on. We are always in the process of approaching truth and perfection without actually ever reaching truth or perfection. - The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Chapter 6

Uncertainty is the root of all progress and all growth. As the old adage goes, the man who believes he knows everything learns nothing. - The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Chapter 6

The narrower and rarer the identity you choose for yourself, the more everything will seem to threaten you. For that reason, define yourself in the simplest and most ordinary ways possible. This often means giving up some grandiose ideas about yourself [...] This means giving up your sense of entitlement and your belief that you're somehow owed something by this world. This means giving up the supply of emotional highs that you've been sustaining yourself on for years. Like a junkie giving up the needle, you're going to go through withdrawal when you start giving these things up. But you'll come out the other side so much better. - The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Chapter 6

As a general rule, we're all the world's worst observers of ourselves. When we're angry, or jealous, or upset, we're oftentimes the last ones to figure it out. And the only way to figure it out is to put cracks in our armor of certainty by consistently questioning how wrong we might be about ourselves. - The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Chapter 6

If it feels like it's you versus the world, chances are it's really just you versus yourself. - The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Chapter 6

Chapter 6-9 Quotes

We can be truly successful only at something we're willing to fail at. If we're unwilling to fail, then we're unwilling to succeed. - The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Chapter 7

Our most radical changes in perspective often happen at the tail end of our worst moments. It's only when we feel intense pain that we're willing to look at our values and question why they seem to be failing us. We need some sort of existential crisis to take an objective look at how we've been deriving meaning in our life, and then consider changing course. - The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Chapter 7

Life is about not knowing and then doing something anyway. All of life is like this. It never changes. Even when you're happy. Even when you're farting fairy dust. Even when you win the lottery and buy a small fleet of Jet Skis, you still won't know what the hell you're doing. Don't ever forget that. And don't ever be afraid of that. - The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Chapter 7

Action isn't just the effect of motivation; it's also the cause of it. - The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Chapter 7

Freedom grants the opportunity for greater meaning, but by itself there is nothing necessarily meaningful about it. Ultimately, the only way to achieve meaning and a sense of importance in one's life is through a rejection of alternatives, a narrowing of freedom, a choice of commitment to one place, one belief, or (gulp) one person. - The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Chapter 8

There's a bluntness to Russian culture that generally rubs Westerners the wrong way. Gone are the fake niceties and verbal webs of politeness. You don't smile at strangers or pretend to like anything you don't. In Russia, if something is stupid, you say it's stupid. If someone is being an asshole, you tell him he's being an asshole. If you really like someone and are having a great time, you tell her that you like her and are having a great time. It doesn't matter if this person is your friend, a stranger, or someone you met five minutes ago on the street. - The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Chapter 8

Travel is a fantastic self-development tool, because it extricates you from the values of your culture and shows you that another society can live with entirely different values and still function and not hate themselves. This exposure to different cultural values and metrics then forces you to reexamine what seems obvious in your own life and to consider that perhaps it's not necessarily the best way to live. - The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Chapter 8

It's not about giving a fuck about everything your partner gives a fuck about; it's about giving a fuck about your partner regardless of the fucks he or she gives. That's unconditional love, baby. - The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Chapter 8

Trust is like a china plate. If you break it once, with some care and attention you can put it back together again. But if you break it again, it splits into even more pieces and it takes far longer to piece together again. If you break it more and more times, eventually it shatters to the point where it’s impossible to restore. There are too many broken pieces, and too much dust. - The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Chapter 8

Breadth of experience is likely necessary and desirable when you're young - after all, you have to go out there and discover what seems worth investing yourself in. But depth is where the gold is buried. And you have to stay committed to something and go deep to dig it up. That's true in relationships, in a career, in building a great lifestyle - in everything. - The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Chapter 8

Death scares us. And because it scares us, we avoid thinking about it, talking about it, sometimes even acknowledging it, even when it's happening to someone close to us. Yet, in a bizarre, backwards way, death is the light by which the shadow of all of life's meaning is measured. Without death, everything would feel inconsequential, all experience arbitrary, all metrics and values suddenly zero. - The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Chapter 9

Confronting the reality of our own mortality is important because it obliterates all the crappy, fragile, superficial values in life. While most people whittle their days chasing another buck, or a little bit more fame and attention, or a little bit more assurance that they're right or loved, death confronts all of us with a far more painful and important question: What is your legacy? - The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Chapter 9

The pampering of the modern mind has resulted in a population that feels deserving of something without earning that something, a population that feels they have a right to something without sacrificing for it. - The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Chapter 9

Cited Quotes

You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life. - Albert Camus, quoted in The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Chapter 1

One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful. - Sigmund Freud, as quoted in The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Chapter 4

I used to think the human brain was the most wonderful organ in my body. Then I realized who was telling me this. - Emo Philips, as quoted in The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Chapter 6

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. - Aristotle, as quoted in The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Chapter 6

The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time. - Mark Twain, as quoted in The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Chapter 9

We're all going to die, all of us. What a circus! That alone should make us love each other, but it doesn't. We are terrorized and flattened by life's trivialities; we are eaten up by nothing. - Charles Bukowski, as quoted in The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Chapter 9



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