Psychological snake oil for the pseudo intellectual.
Man, reading this book was so frustrating, because I'd heard so many good things. Some people told me that this book was life-changing, game-changing, and then one of my co-workers gave it to me and I thought, "Cool, bring it on. I'm ready to hand out fuck-wafers like it's time for the Sunday Communion of Nobody-Gives-A-Damn." After reading this book, I've come to the conclusion that the people who like this book haven't taken any psychology classes or read any philosophy books, because this is like the watered-down, urban legend- and common sense-based rehashing of basic tenets you would learn in Phi or Psych 101.
Mark Manson seems to me like a dudebro, tossing around the word "fuck" like a preteen who's just discovered swearing. But only for the first couple chapters. Then he forgets himself to his navel-gazing, talking about how we should change our values in life and how emotions only affect us insofar as we let them. Which is true, to an extent, but then he brings up how someone who had lost their son prematurely got mad at him on his blog, and Manson gets so upset about it that he feels the need to whine about his experience here, bragging to us about how he decided not to have the last word. But isn't that what you're doing here? You are giving a fuck, and you are immortalizing that fuck you gave in print, while telling us simultaneously that you did not give it. Hmm, sketchy.
He also talks about his trip to Russia and praises the Russians for not sugar-coating and telling it like it is, the takeaway being that he admired them for saying "That's stupid," when someone says something stupid. Then he brags about how he likes to tell his wife when she doesn't look good, and how much she appreciates this gaslighting, and how few men would dare to do this amazing thing that he is doing (telling her she looks like shit, according to him). She gets angry, he says, but ultimately she appreciates his honesty. Yeah, I fucking bet. This was straight out of those gross pick-up artist books that teach generations of young males how to neg women to win sex points. #NotAllMen
Manson had a couple good points, but they were buried in a lot of garbage. For example, in a chapter about relationships, he opens up with the synopsis of Romeo and Juliet as a cautionary example, but then he also tries to namedrop actual science like Philip Zimbardo's Stanford Prison Experiments, and then also namedrops the Buddha when talking about suffering and the inevitability of pain and strife. I am a psychology major who worked in a research laboratory as an undergraduate and I like hard science with data and solid case examples. When I see an article that looks fishy, I look up the facts to determine whether or not it is true. I read scholarly articles. I don't fuck with bullshit. I would rather give a fuck than fuck with bullshit, if you get me. This book did not have facts. It had a lot of opinions masquerading with facts, but honestly, if I want someone to preach dime-store philosophy at me, I'll go to a bar in downtown San Francisco and listen to the vodka fume revelations of CFOs.
2 out of 5 fucks given