On “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F” by Mark Manson

This is your typical self-help book even though the author claim that it isn’t. It’s funny, full of interesting stories but little new insights. If you’re looking for self-help advice based on scientific research and thorough literature, this book is definitely not that. Nonetheless, I happily stuck through it because of the humor and the anecdotes.

The main message is: be mindful of what to care about. A prime example of this is the following: given that your goal is to become a better student, day to day minutiae should not bother you much (e.g. the grading in a homework being unfair, a question in the homework was confusing, etc). Not putting enough work or making enough progress should bother you. At first, this may sound counter-intuitive: you just got a bad grade because of the unfair grading and confusing questions, yet you couldn’t care less. This is probably not what you’d expect from a student who is trying to be better. The author’s view is that being selective and choosing not to worry about those irrelevant events is exactly what you need so you can focus on the more important stuff: managing your time better, asking good questions, etc.

This book offers a reminder of something that we often forget about especially in the heat of the moment. Or like Mark Manson put it, at the end of the day, what matters the most are the things we choose not to care about.

Energy & Computing @ Shell & GWU (Opinions my own)