The subtle art of not giving a fuck

a counterintuitive approach to living a good life

Short summary

The main message of the subtle art of not giving a fuck is finding what truly is important to you, where to dedicate your precious time, and stop giving a fuck about the rest. 


The subtle art of not giving a fuck – A counterintuitive approach to living a good life, written in 2016 by Mark Manson.

It is an honest and straight forward book where the author tells us some harsh truth about life with ruthless and dark humor.

The book will try and help you think more clearly about what you are choosing to find important in life and what you are choosing to find unimportant.

The action you take from day to day, sometimes without thinking, what you choose to be important, and how you deal with problems that appear in your life is often based on your values. these are introduced in the second part of the book, here Mr. Manson goes through 5 counterintuitive values that are more beneficial values you can adopt into your own life.

Problems will always occur, they will come in different sizes and around every corner, and once you have solved one problem another one will emerge. Take the problems as a challenge, as a way to grow and develop, don’t try to get away from them, that’s a recipe for an unhappy life.

If possible, guide your problems where you want to have problems(start training for a marathon instead of having health issues, ask for assignments at work you enjoy solving, begin on a beginner boxing course to meet new people and learn to defend yourself, etc.), take control over your life, and choose the problems that excite you and the problems you are willing to sacrifice for, don’t let the problems come at you (of course not always possible). And remember what Freud said:

One day, in retrospect the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.

I believe that solving problems will give you more meaning in life when solving a problem, you grow, you develop, you evolve, and there you will find true happiness and not the happiness you get from buying new shoes or a leather jacket.

What is “fuck”

This can mean a couple of things! But “fuck”, in this book, is a kind of currency for your own mental and physical energy. For everything you do, you must give an amount of mental and physical energy to the task at hand, this can be work, making dinner, going on a date, reading a book, watching TV, caring about the rude cashier. etc.

In one day, you have, let’s say 100 fucks to give, this can be increased by eating healthy, working out, a sufficient amount of sleep, or decreased by doing the opposite.

So, the question is: what do you want to give a fuck about?


The choices you make and the things you decide to give a fuck about are anchored in your values. Are your values shitty, like material success, pleasure, staying positive, etc. the odds are great that what you decide to give a fuck about will be ineffective and bad in the long run, and decrease your overall happiness. By transforming your values to good values. An example of changing a value from it is not okay to fail, to it is okay to fail.

The result will be: you trying new things, maybe fail, but failure is what leads to a better understanding of what’s necessary to be successful, and when you fail, you learn from your failures and grow by them.

Having a good set of values works as a foundation for making the right decision on what to give a fuck about in life.  So think about your foundation, is it a solid set of values or just a bucket of crap?

Going through a day of “fucks”

In the example under I will go through two days on what people might give a fuck about, where you might wanna give more fucks and were to give fewer fucks. The red days are (in my opinion) days that are a bit ineffective, the green days, I have done some changes, that I think will give a more fulfilling and meaningful life in the long run

Day 1 Sunday
Total of 100 “fucks”

Laying in bed scrolling on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and deciding what selfie to publish on your Instagram account.
15 “fucks”

Playing videogames or/and watching a couple of episodes of a rubbish reality program. 
20 “fucks”

A bully from high school sending you a message, he wants something from you, and you reply.
5 “fucks”

Hanging out with friends watching football and having a beer.
“30 fucks”

Eating a huge junk dinner. Well, its Sunday and you deserve it to charge your batteries for the next week.
5 “fucks”

Chillin in front of the TV, scrolling social media and checking how many likes you got on your selfie.
“25 fucks”

Day 2 Monday
Total of 90 “fucks” (reduced cause of no training and junk food the day before)

You decide to snooze a bit before going to work.
5 “fucks”

You wanted a bigger house so you bought one, an hour away from the city and work, so now you are commuting to work.
8 “fucks”

40 “fucks”

commuting back from work.
“8 fucks”

Shopping food
“4 fucks”

Getting annoyed because the cashier was extremely rude.
2 “fucks”

Deciding what to eat for dinner and preparing it and do the dishes after.
8 “fucks”

Meeting friends for a round of bowling,
But you were a bit too late because you are a fucking cunt that don’t know how to prioritize your “fucks”
“10 fucks”

Watching a reality show that will give you absolutely nothing in return.
5 “fucks”

Day 1 Sunday
Total of 100 “fucks”

Reading a book

Working out.
20 “fucks”

A bully from high school sending you a message, you don’t reply, because you don’t want to waste your time on this fucking cunt.
0 “fucks”

Hanging out with friends playing football, watching football, and having a cola zero.
“35 fucks”

Eating a healthy dinner, planning, and making dinner for Monday and Tuesday. (meal-prep)
10 “fucks”

Working on your big passion in life, trying new things, creating problems that you want to solve, develop character. 
“30 fucks”


Day 2 Monday
Total of 110 “fucks” (increased cause of training and healthy food)

Waking up and going to work, and since you live in the city (a bit smaller apartment, but closer to work, you spend only 10 min walking to your job)
2 “fucks”

Work, you give more at work cause you have changed your values and wanna give it you all to Excel at what you do. 
45 “fucks”

Shopping food and walking back to your apartment after work.
“6 fucks”

Not getting annoyed because the cashier were extremely rude.
0 “fucks”

Already meal prepped the dinner on Sunday, just 3 min in the micro and it is good to god!
2 “fucks”

Working on your big passion in life, trying new things, develop character, creating problems that you want to solve.
“25 fucks”

Meeting friends for a round of bowling,
But you were not  late because you are a not fucking cunt that don’t know how to prioritize your “fucks”
“25 fucks”

Watching a good TV documentary or a TV-show
5 “fucks”

  • Commute – A big waste of time, and a “fuck” killer. Studies have also shown that commuting to work will make you less happy, even though your house is bigger. So Just move closer to work and free up a lot of time and “fucks”
  • Meal prep – A life hack, instead of using a lot of time deciding, preparing the dinner and taking the dishes, just meal prep one day and save a lot of time the next couple of days.
  • Snooze – loose time and gain absolutely nothing. A big waste of “fucks”


You have a limited number of fucks to give each day/week/month/year/life, so start choosing carefully what and who you want to dedicate the fucks you have to, and place your focus(“fucks”) on the truly important things in life, like family, friends, partner, work, your passion(a flow activity), setting assholes straight, and stop caring about the rest.

The key to making better decisions to where to place your “fucks” is to have a good set of values and to get more “fucks” every day, you need to establish some good routines (what I believe), where sleep, food, training, etc. are incorporated.

The most important task you have in life is finding out what and where you want to spend your “fucks”