Over 2 million copies of this book have been sold worldwide. It is Amazon's most read nonfiction title of 2017 and a 1 New York Times bestseller.
Painfully frank and laugh-out-loud, Mark Manson offers practical ways to change your life attitudes and develop your potential. He will convince you that you shouldn't care about most things. You should only care about the most important. And this book is one of them.
Mark Manson is a famous American blogger whose provocative comments on life topics - such as personal development, social relationships and relationships - tempt two million people to follow his blog regularly.He lives with his wife in New York, writes articles and leads seminars.
About the book
Most people dream of unclouded happiness, eternal love, an attractive appearance, an inspiring and highly paid job… In short, a life that others would envy. Social media and our consumer culture constantly feed this false ideal of happiness. However, the guaranteed ways to achieve it look more and more like a soap bubble, which the author of this book bursts when he boldly declares: “All this sugary positivity and happy self-help hot-pots focus mostly on what you're missing. The key to a good life is not to care about accumulating more and more, but to care only about the real and important things".
Before we realize this, however, we need to make sense of a lot of unpleasant truths and have realistic expectations. Mark Manson debunks a number of established "rules of life" and makes some pretty shocking claims as he introduces us to the intricacies of the art of not caring.
Interview with the author
Happiness is not in the absence of problems, but in solving them
In your book it's about happiness being the art of knowing what you care about and what you don't. But the question is: what are the subtleties?
It's not always easy to sift through the important things in life that you care about. Often at a certain moment something seems big and significant to us. “Hey dudes, I seriously think this app is going to change the world.” We've all made similar statements. After a while, we look back and if we have the necessary dose of self-criticism and skepticism, we say to ourselves: "Actually, that sounds very stupid and inflated".
It simply requires self-awareness, the ability to notice and be aware of your thought patterns and tendencies. This subtlety escapes most people. No one automatically acquires it.
You write that at the root of our modern culture's problems is the incessant focus on positivity. Could you explain in more detail?
I think our culture confuses feeling good with the ethical concept of good. In our consumerist society, people are constantly pushed to feel "superior", and everyone thinks that the good life is presumptively about feeling good. Unfortunately, most self-help books and programs only add fuel to the fire. For example: “Feeling sick? Come to our workshop and you'll feel great!” or “Work is stressing you out? This course will teach you how to make millions in no time!”.
However, life is not that simple - obviously. And even more important: painful and unpleasant "negative" experiences are often valuable life experiences. By trying to constantly avoid them, we are doing ourselves a disservice.
Which idea from your book do you think has helped your readers the most?
Self-awareness like a head of onion is quite a popular practice, not only because it is applicable, but also because it is fun. In short: self-awareness is like an onion, and there are always deeper layers to peel. The further you get, the more likely you are to cry unexpectedly.
The Do Something principle is also liked by readers even before the book is published. It's a little trick for dealing with emotional resistance and procrastination. If I were cool, I'd call the principle "life-changing."
Did you mentally prepare for the book to fail? And now that she's already successful by all criteria, does that change what you care about?
Great question. I thought about potential failure, and those thoughts caused discomfort and unpleasant emotions, but that's how I preserved my value system, and more precisely, I continued to care about the right things.
As for the success, if it influenced me at all, I have not understood. Honestly, being a writer is a pretty abstract job – you don't see the people who read your books. The publisher sends me sales reports and I'm like, “Wow! That is a lot". Then I eat breakfast or do something else. No difference from before. But even before the book, my blog had millions of followers, and I'm used to that, as well as criticism.
Today people forget quickly. There are no guarantees that the book will continue to sell, that I will write something good after it, that someone will remember me in 5 or 10 years, that I won't become the person standing in front of an empty Word file wondering what to write and whether anyone will read it. Everything passes. And so it should be.