Mark Manson is a multiple times New York Times Best selling author. He has authored three books: The Subtle Art of not giving a Fuck, Everything is Fucked: A book about hope and Models. He has an extensive blog at markmanson.netand is a modern day philosopher whose work is extremely thought provoking and fascinating.


Is no one safe from the bullshit?

Maintain an identity that is defined by as little as possible

Change your actions not yourself

Drown Proofing and the Backwards Law

Effort and reward have a linear relationship when the action is mindless and


Effort and reward have a diminishing returns relationship when the

action is complex and multivariate.

But when the action becomes purely psychological—an experience that

exists solely within our own consciousness—the relationship between

effort and reward becomes inverted.

Pursuing happiness takes you further away from it. Attempts at greater

emotional control only remove us from it. The desire for greater freedom is

often what causes us to feel trapped. The need to be loved and accepted

prevents us from loving and accepting ourselves.

Conversely, the more we accept our feelings and impulses, the more we’re

able to direct them and process them.

Challenge Beliefs that aren’t useful:

Evidence used, Challenge flimsy and non helpful evidence, find evidence for a more helpful belief

Thinker and Observer we mix them up, 80/20 rule, Believe not true but helpful

Our moral philosophy determines our values—what we care about and what we

don’t care about—and our values determine our decisions, actions, and beliefs.

Immanuel Kant called these universalized ethical principles “categorical imperatives”—

rules to live by that are valid in all contexts, in every situation, to every human


Consciousness is what makes us special. Intelligence and ability to use it
KANT treating people as ends not means including yourself

Trauma handling: Not about deserving, new appreciation for life, talk about it

Good values are:

1. Evidence-based

2. Constructive

3. Controllable

Bad values are:

1. Emotion-based

2. Destructive

3. Uncontrollable


You don’t have to be rich and famous to be attractive, but you should display the qualities that show you have potential to be rich and famous, which is indicated by your social status and behavior, which is indicated by how you behave around others, how others behave around you, and how you treat yourself.

Both men and women are aroused by being desired, but since female arousal is more psychological than male arousal, the sense of “being desired” is even stronger in determining a woman being attracted to a man.

Women are typically more attracted to men who are more invested in themselves than they are in them.

Set very high standards and stick to them, don’t waste time with anyone who doesn’t meet those standards.

Think of splitting women you’re interested in into three categories: Receptive, Neutral, and Unreceptive:

Unreceptive Don’t waste time trying to win them over.

Neutral is when a woman is on the fence about a guy. if you don’t show clear interest in them then they will move towards unreceptive: ask them out.

Receptive women are already sexually attracted to you. just need to escalate with,

“The percentage of women who are Receptive to you will increase proportionally to the quality of your lifestyle, your social status and your looks. The percentage of women that you’re able to move from Neutral to Receptive will be proportional to how good your “game” is, or how well you’re able to communicate and express yourself with women.

The Three Fundamentals

  1. Creating an attractive and enriching lifestyle. (Honest living)
  2. Overcoming your fears and anxiety around women. (Honest action)
  3. Mastering the expression of your emotions and communicating fluidly. (Honest communication)

If you’re getting a lot of rejections, it’s one of these problems:

  1. You’re presenting yourself poorly
  2. Your intentions are off. You’re approaching for the wrong reasons
  3. You’re startling her / trying too hard / not smiling

It’s better to be random and interesting than predictable and boring.

Instead of asking her a question about herself, you guess the answer to your question and then state it.

“How do you guys know each other?” translates to: “You guys look like you’ve been friends for a long time.”


Self help focused on what you lack so it emphasises that to you

Reminds us of what we are missing

World tells you the path to happiness is MORE MORE MORE

Key is about giving a fuck about less. What’s important.

Feeling bad is not okay because social media has made us feel bad about feeling bad

Now your life sucks more than you thought it did

The Desire for positive experience is a negative experience. Acceptance of negative experience is a positive experience

The Backwards law… pursue pain, failures are good for you

Everything worthwhile in life you get from surmounting negative experience

You are going to die one day therefore limited amount of fucks to give

3 Subtleties

Not giving a fuck doesn’t means being indifferent… it means being comfortable with what’s different

To not give a fuck about adversity, you must first give a fuck about something more important than adversity (get more fuck worthy stuff)

You are always choosing what to give a fuck about

This is about values

Buddha life is suffering… pain helps us take action. It’s necessary to teach us what to pay attention to

Problems never go away just get exchanged or upgraded. Happiness comes from solving problems

Solve problems be happy but some people:


Victim Mentality

Therefore get a quick high to distract themselves

Emotions are signals to nudge you in direction of positive change

What pain do you want in your life? What are you willing to struggle for?

Who you are is defined by what you are willing to struggle for

Self esteem… leads to entitlement and addiction to feeling good and says nothing about whether they should feel good about themselves

True self worth how feel about failures

I suck rest of you are awesome or I’m awesome and rest of you suck

Exceptionalism is the new normal. But you are not special.

Accept normality and that’s ok

Self Awareness onion

  1. Understand emotions
  2. Ask why we feel emotions
  3. Why is this success or failure?

Problems inevitable but meaning a decision

By what standard do we measure ourselves against others

Shit values:


Material Success

Always being right

Staying positive

Express negative emotions in a healthy way and aligned with values 

  1. Reality based 2)  Socially Constructive 3) Immediate and Controllable

Bad 1) Superstitious 2)Destructive 3) Not controllable

Great Values: Honesty Innovation Vulnerability Assertiveness Self Respect Curiosity Charity Humility Creativity

Self Improvement is about prioritizing better values: choosing better things to give a fuck about

5 counter intuitive values to focus on:

Take responsibility for everything that happens in your life

Uncertainty… doubt beliefs

Failure and willingness to discover flaws

Rejection… say and hear no defining what will and won’t accept in life

Contemplation of own mortality


Witold Pilecki war hero snuck into concentration camps.

Uncomfortable truth: You and everyone you know will die and everything you do is of little consequence.

You give meaning to the world to create hope.  Hopelessness is the worst experience we can have. Crisis of hope is chronic depression and anxiety. Hope narratives. Sense of purpose.

Avoidance of hopelessness is mind’s primary project

Potential for growth and can do something to get there

Paradox of progress… better things get, more anxious we’re all getting. Psychologically worse

To build and maintain hope we need a sense of control, a belief in value of something and a community.

Classic assumption self control by logic over emotions

Thinking and Feeling Brain

Elephant and Rider. Thinking brain things in control but not. Thinking Brain justifies and makes up stories to support what Feeling Brain wants

Consciousness Car to Clown Car

Don’t have self control but do have meaning control

Self awareness and emotional intelligence

Problem is feel we deserve it

For Every action, there is an equal and opposite emotional reaction

Moral Gaps open up. Need to equalize. Deserving. Emotion is drive to equalise

Thinking how things relate and how things are

Feeling how things evaluated how things ought to be

Value hierarchy

Our self worth equals the sum of emotions over time

Moral gaps persist they become default. We feel either superior or inferior. Both make us feel special. We need to feel that way

Your identity will stay your identity until a new experience acts against it

Build narratives about our past which become our identity. Share with others. Build tribes and hate other. Stuck to identity.

Proven system achieve dreams

  1. Sell Hope to Hopeless (vision to people fucked)
  2. Choose Faith (spiritual, ideological, interpersonal)
  3. Preempt criticism (us vs them demonise)
  4. Ritual Sacrifice (guilt, rituals connect values)
  5. Promise heaven, deliver hell (promise heaven and they’ll feel bad because not there so follow rules)
  6. Prophet for Profit (now keep what you have, hard to keep hope)

CHILDREN – Desires

ADOLESCENT – Tranasactions

ADULT – Principles

Immanuel Kant – one principle for life… treat humans as the ends not the means

Become better

Consciousness most important thing makes us special

Extremisim children… both sides

Paint Blue dot effect… science innovation reduce pain by alternative pain then numb pain

Emotional… trauma now for anything

Set points for happiness… 7 chasing 10 and when reach becomes a 7

Antifragility – adult values

Choose the pain

Innovations: reduce pain

Diversions: numb pain

Internet we use to confirm feeling brains

Variety  vs Freedom

Self limitation is real freedom


The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck

Everything is Fucked

Mark Manson’s Blog



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