• Toby Sinclair

Book Summary: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson | The 3 Big Ideas

Updated: Sep 5


3 Big Ideas:

  1. We have so much fucking stuff that we don’t know what to give a fuck about anymore. You need to find what to give a fuck about. You must give a fuck about something.

  2. Understanding your personal values the most important challenge we all face to lead a better, happier life. “Self-improvement” is really about: prioritising better values, choosing better things to give a fuck about.

  3. Choosing to say no, to reduce options, and living with less, can lead to a happier life. This goes against our consumer, have it all, culture.

2 Quotes:

  1. “Our values determine the metrics by which we measure ourselves and everyone else.”

  2. “What are the values that you prioritise above everything else, and that therefore influence your decision-making more than anything else?”


1 Takeaway:

To achieve Happiness:

Increase awareness of your personal values and lead a life in alignment with them

The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life

A short Video Summary of the key principles in The Subtle Art of not giving AF


Big Ideas Expanded:


Self Awareness Onion:

  1. Recognising Emotions

  2. Understanding why we are feeling a certain way

  3. Personal values: Why do I consider this to be success/failure? How am I choosing to measure myself? By what standard am I judging myself and everyone around me?

Good values are:

  1. Reality-based

  2. Socially constructive

  3. Immediate and controllable.

Value Examples:

  1. Honesty is a good value because it’s something you have complete control over

  2. Popularity is a bad value.

  3. Value: Honesty – Metric: Express myself honestly to others

Healthy values:

  1. honesty

  2. vulnerability

  3. standing up for oneself

  4. standing up for others

  5. self-respect

  6. curiosity

  7. charity

  8. humility

  9. creativity

Find your values using the Big Values List from Management 3.0

Toby's Values: Guiding Beliefs - Read More

  • Learning - “In a world of change, the learners shall inherit the earth, while the learned shall find themselves perfectly suited for a world that no longer exists.” - Eric Hoffer

  • Community - Complex problems are solved best through empowered, self-organised diverse communities.

  • Empathy - Solving problems starts with Empathy. It starts with listening to understand not to respond.

  • Meaning - Organisational purpose is beyond increasing shareholder value. An individual's true purpose lies beyond the attainment of trophies and material goods. “Those who have a 'why' to live, can bear with almost any 'how'.” - Victor Frankl

  • Adaptability - Only thing constant is change. The ability to sense and respond to change is what makes individuals and organisations successful.


Questions to drive self-awareness:

  1. What if I’m wrong?

  2. What would it mean if I'm wrong?

  3. If I'm wrong, would it result in a better or a worse problem, for both myself and others?

Backwards law: the more you try to be certain about something, the more uncertain and insecure you will feel.


Until we change how we view ourselves, what we believe we are and are not, we cannot overcome our avoidance and anxiety. We cannot change


If you lack the motivation to make an important change in your life, do something—anything, really—and then harness the reaction to that action as a way to begin motivating yourself. (Same message in Tiny Habits)


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.


We are defined by what we choose to reject.

Book Summary: Lead at Speed by Sophie Devonshire


Commitment gives you freedom because it hones your attention and focus, directing them toward what is most efficient at making you healthy and happy.


Consumer culture is very good at making us want more, more, more. Underneath all the hype and marketing is the implication that more is always better. Make more money, visit more countries, have more experiences, be with more women. But more is not always better. In fact, the opposite is true. We are actually often happier with less.


Much of the advice out there operates at a shallow level of simply trying to make people feel good in the short term, while the real long-term problems never get solved.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life

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©2020 by Toby Sinclair.