Literature

Book Review: Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art Of Not Caring

The Disappointment Panda, or the embodiment of the sad truth per Manson.
Artwork courtesy of Tabitha Bernadin (see note)

The Subtle Art Of Not Caring by Mark Manson advises people how to live a better life ⁠— not by doing more, but by doing less.

There is a dark annoying loop that traps several people and Mark Manson gave it a very fitting name called “The Feedback Loop From Hell.” The Feedback Loop From Hell is when people get upset about something that they normally would not react so strongly to, creating a loop of anger. 

Mark Manson’s solution to this loop is to accept negative experience as a part of life. Manson thinks that negative experiences are one of the prices of living and that it is better to just accept instead of just going off the rails. 

Manson created a superhero called the Disappointment Panda who shows people the worst parts of themselves and what needs to be fixed so they can live a less stressful life. The Disappointment Panda makes the harsh truth that gets pushed down come up to the surface for everyone to see. Breaking superficial walls is the Disappointment Panda’s specialty because when these walls get broken there is nothing that can stop anyone.

The Disappointment Panda goes door to door, wearing a mask and an undersized shirt with a “T”,  and tells people the truth about them so they can start realizing what to fix so they can move forward. When Disappointment Panda says the harsh truth, it creates that “aha” moment and with that “aha” comes clarity to go down a road of peaceful bliss.

According to Manson, whether or not someone has lived a good life depends on how they measured their standards. He refers to Dave Mustaine as a great example of this way of thinking. Dave Mustaine formed the band Megadeth, sold over 25 million albums, and toured all around the world. Most people would consider him successful, but to himself he was a failure because he was kicked out of Metallica, a more successful band.

Another example from the book is Charles Bukowski.  Bukowski was a struggling writer but never gave up. He was also an alcoholic and a gambler. He eventually became a successful writer. Despite his success, nothing about his personality had changed. Charles Bukowski saw himself as a loser, and he put “Don’t Try” on his tombstone because he thought that people shouldn’t be something more than what they are. Both Dave Mustaine and Charles Bukowski were successful but chose to be miserable, which is why living a good life depends on what level their standards are. 

The Subtle Art Of Not Caring is a great guide to have an easier life because it punches people back into reality and stops them from being trapped in endless loops of anger, pity and resentment. When people go back to living in the real world and stop living in the artificial one, they can be more at peace instead of going after unrealistic expectations and then being miserable that they failed. It’s better to accept that they tried and failed and accept that failure and move on. 

Note: The Navigator would like to thank Bernadin for her gracious allowance of the use of her artwork to accompany this article. Please see her Instagram for more information.

Categories: Literature

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