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Big Man Book Review: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F

  • 4 min read

Mark Manson’s not so subtlety entitled work has already received a mention in one of our previous blogs. However, we decided that this self-help tome is so important for us big blokes to read that it deserves it’s very own treatment. Welcome to the very first (of hopefully many) big man book reviews!

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F is a lesson in leading life on your own terms. A lesson wrapped in profanity. A lot of profanity. But don’t let that put you off reading this book. Especially for us big men, this is a work that we need to take heed of if we are to truly live a life of significance and meaning in the 21st century.

book man book review

Read this book. Your future self will thank you.

A Big Man book that dishes up stirring advice.

You see, Manson rightfully points out that we are living through very vain times, where most people’s priorities are seriously skew whiff. Indeed, he discusses how the modern media has us all “obsessively focused on unrealistically positive expectations… Be smarter, faster, richer, sexier, more popular, more productive, more envied, and more admired. Be perfect and amazing and crap out twelve-karat-gold nuggets before breakfast each morning while kissing your selfie-ready spouse and two and a half kids goodbye.”

This big man book gives us a healthy dose of reality. It is a book that helps us to realise that which is truly important in life. Not giving a f doesn’t mean living life with reckless abandon. It does mean living life on our own terms and becoming the sort of big man who pursues his own life goals regardless of what others may say, think or do.

big man book author

Charles Bukowski, the big man poet, whose tombstone reads "Don't try" is held up by Manson as an example to follow

"Don't try"

Have you ever noticed that when you stop caring about the consequences of doing something, you perform better at said thing? Take dressing well for instance. As big men we may have been conditioned to wear baggy clothes to hide our significant frames. In fact, we big men can dress fashionably and look good by silencing our inner critic. We should dare to be bold in the fashion stakes.

Go ahead. Grab yourself that great looking dress shirt you’ve got your eye on. Tuck it in. Don’t give a f that you have a power belly. Show the world your confidence in your own skin. Besides, wearing your shirts untucked adds volume to your silhouette and can also make your torso and legs take on wacky proportions.

Indeed, not worrying a toss about what anyone else thinks doesn’t mean we big men should stop the ongoing process of self-improvement. It doesn’t mean we should let our standards drop. On the contrary, we need to become big men who don’t give a f about facing adversity in the pursuit of our goals. Want to take up running in order to get more fit? Just do it. Yes, it will be hard at first and other runners will overtake you. Some people may even judge you. However, as is pointed out in this big man book: “Suffering through your fears and anxieties is what allows you to build courage and perseverance.”

Maybe you want to buy yourself a badass motorcycle and ride to work in a leather jacket. Maybe your friends and family will try to talk you out of it because they think you’re just having a midlife crisis. Are you going to cave in and conform to what other people think you should do? Heck no. You’re a new big man because you now know the subtle art of not giving a f. Besides, it won’t be long before they are begging you for a ride on the back of your new bike.

Final verdict

big man reading a book

Big man book reviews: sorting out a great read for us big blokes

This big man book gives us permission to live life on our own terms. It teaches us to focus on things that matter most.

You see, what Manson deftly distils for us big men in his book is an antidote to the superficialities and skewed priorities that characterise much about life in the 21st century. Manson provokes us to put an end to the mindless distractions that are social media and TV. He tells us to reserve giving a f for what truly matters: “Friends. Family. Purpose.”

Manson’s book is a treasure trove of advice that shies away from pumping up our tyres like so much of the self-help industry. It forces us to see things for how they truly are and to stop focusing on what we don’t have. It makes us stop and take stock of who we really are and what really will make us happy.

On that note, I'll leave you with this, my favourite gem of wisdom from this big man book:

“Look, this is how it works. You’re going to die one day... And in the short amount of time between here and there, you have a limited amount of fs to give. Very few, in fact. And if you go around giving a f about everything and everyone without conscious thought or choice—well, then you’re going to get f_cked.”

By Anthony Cheadle

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