I Am A Believer in Not Giving A Fuck!

“Even if you get run over by clown car and get pissed on by a school bus full of children, it’s still your responsibility to interpret the meaning of the event and how to respond to it.”

The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck is a best seller for a reason. I finished this in a single day while waiting around at the Nashville Airport. Author Mark Manson delivers fantastic insight on the journey called life in a refreshingly inelegant method. I’ve read quite a few “life” books the past few months (see other posts) and I’m guessing Manson has read most of them also  He did a great job of cherry-picking a lot of great philosophies and succinctly piecing them together in a comprehensive and entertaining book.

I recognized material from philosophers ranging from Alan Watts to Budah, and ideas from books such as Man’s Search For Meaning to The Charisma Myth. The author discloses that he read 50 non-fiction books in 50 weeks before writing this, so he has a strong wealth of information to pull from. He’s also well traveled and offers some different cultural weaknesses that modern America may be dealing with.

One of the newer insights this book offered me was challenging people to think how they want to suffer in life, as opposed to how they want to be happy in life. This is pretty ingenious if you think about it because no matter what you do, there will always be conflict. Like the famous song, “Mo Money, Mo Problems,” each path you take will lead to problems. The question is, which struggles do you wish to endure? Do you want your life purpose to be a parent or a business person? Both have problems. Interestingly, he mentioned to keep this in mind when picking a spouse because, “this is the person you’re going to have a lot of fights with.” That’s quite pragmatic.

A couple other less serious elements about the book I liked…

The Wire was mentioned twice!

The author admitted to taking LSD.

He highlights the lunacy of the characters in Romeo And Juliet (I love doing this also).

He trashes political correctness.

He points out how colleges try to suppress speech and coddle students too much.

He recommends playing life like a card game. I’ve always felt that a good analogy. You can’t control the hands you get, but you can control how you play them.

Anyway, I obviously recommend this book to anyone looking for a good modern “life philosophy” book. It’s entertaining, not too long, and full of a wide variety of good advice.


The Way of the Superior Man Review

I heard The Way of the Superior Man was a “must read” from several sources. After finishing it, I did think it was good, but fell a little short of the pedestal it had been placed upon.

It did a good job of articulating a lot of things that men know, but we aren’t exactly sure why. An example would be, “don’t be incredibly needy around or offer too much flattery. Have a purpose, be confident, etc.” Most of my generation probably only learned this when watching Vince Vaughn deliver invaluable man advice in the film Swingers!

My biggest takeaway was the author’s perception of the masculine and feminine roles in a relationship. I agreed with his belief that men are at their best when fulfilling their deepest purpose of consciousness — working out, solving a problem, developing a business, getting things done! Ironically he identified a common purpose as “spreading freedom” which I of course felt a special appreciation for.

He took it a step further by noting that the underlying theme of these objectives is men seek to clear things ultimately enjoying moments of true emptiness. He gives all kinds of examples from football to sex. I’d never considered my instincts that way, but I think there is some truth to it.watch The Wolf of Wall Street film online now

His perception of the feminine role which he equated to “light” was more abstract (shocking). He describes how women go around and doing unpredictable things that men shouldn’t even try to understand. He gives good examples of how women may test their men’s deepest purpose and how in reality they do not truly want to be their partner’s “everything”.

Another good takeaway for me was his analysis of the the disconnect in communication. Of course there’s lots of books on this topic, but he did a good job using perception of time as a good constant that often results in improper messaging.

My biggest complaint was that a lot of the writing was not sourced or just listed as fact with no reference. Example (I’m paraphrasing), “You should call your woman vile names in bed… she’ll like it if you mean it in a loving way!” Seems like this statement, which isn’t even some of the more controversial ideas he proposes on intimacy, should have a little more data to support it besides the author just saying so.

However by and large I would recommend it to married men, men about to get married, or even men who are thinking of leaving a marriage.

Long Live The Lords Of Discipline

Yesterday Pat Conroy died at age 70. He appears to have died of cancer, which to me is a bit of a relief that he didn’t go out more like Hemingway. Conroy was very open about some depression he experienced and suicidal tendencies in his family. Regardless, the author produced several books that I consider terrific.

Most notably to me was The Lords of Discipline I enjoyed so much, it’s essentially embedded in my DNA as it ranks as one of the most enjoyable reads in my lifetime. Granted, I read it in high school, and the characters may now seem cookie cutter if you’ve seen a bunch of movies or books since its creation in 1980. However it’s easy to overlook the flaws as the writing is fantastic, the humor is suburb, and the emotional roller coaster is real.

The main character is a person that I think “coders” could appreciate. He experiences a brutal military academy with a critical perspective that many decentralized thinkers may appreciate. Logical questions about military training such as, “Why learn to march in unison?” or  “Why humiliate new members?”

The book also dives deep into young male emotions including friendship, honor, deepest purpose, love and challenging institutional establishment. Considering that the main character is a basketball skinny white guy with a wise-ass sense of humor, it’s no surprise that it was easy for me to relate to him. Yet people who don’t share my bias have often enjoyed this book, so I’d recommend it to virtually anyone.

Important to note that this is fiction. Conroy did go to the military school mentioned and followed a similar path as the main character, but the grand events are mostly made up. I don’t typically read fiction, but this one is worth it.

One of the best quotes: “Evil would always come to me disguised in systems and dignified by law.”

He’s written other good ones. If you want to read one of the most entertaining first chapters of a book, consider opening up The Great Santini. Also good was My Losing Season, a non-fiction book about the writing The Lords of Discipline.

RIP Mr. Conroy, thanks for your gifts to the world!