From the author of the international mega-bestseller The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck comes a counterintuitive guide to the problems of hope.
We live in an interesting time. Materially, everything is the best it’s ever been—we are freer, healthier and wealthier than any people in human history. Yet, somehow everything seems to be irreparably and horribly f*cked—the planet is warming, governments are failing, economies are collapsing, and everyone is perpetually offended on Twitter. At this moment in history, when we have access to technology, education and communication our ancestors couldn’t even dream of, so many of us come back to an overriding feeling of hopelessness.
What’s going on? If anyone can put a name to our current malaise and help fix it, it’s Mark Manson. In 2016, Manson published The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck, a book that brilliantly gave shape to the ever-present, low-level hum of anxiety that permeates modern living. He showed us that technology had made it too easy to care about the wrong things, that our culture had convinced us that the world owed us something when it didn’t—and worst of all, that our modern and maddening urge to always find happiness only served to make us unhappier. Instead, the “subtle art” of that title turned out to be a bold challenge: to choose your struggle; to narrow and focus and find the pain you want to sustain. The result was a book that became an international phenomenon, selling millions of copies worldwide while becoming the #1 bestseller in 13 different countries.
Now, in Everthing Is F*cked, Manson turns his gaze from the inevitable flaws within each individual self to the endless calamities taking place in the world around us. Drawing from the pool of psychological research on these topics, as well as the timeless wisdom of philosophers such as Plato, Nietzsche, and Tom Waits, he dissects religion and politics and the uncomfortable ways they have come to resemble one another. He looks at our relationships with money, entertainment and the internet, and how too much of a good thing can psychologically eat us alive. He openly defies our definitions of faith, happiness, freedom—and even of hope itself.
With his usual mix of erudition and where-the-f*ck-did-that-come-from humor, Manson takes us by the collar and challenges us to be more honest with ourselves and connected with the world in ways we probably haven’t considered before. It’s another counterintuitive romp through the pain in our hearts and the stress of our soul. One of the great modern writers has produced another book that will set the agenda for years to come.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
The author of the mega-hit The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck returns with a second “counterintuitive guide” to surviving modern life. Subtitled “A Book about Hope”, Manson’s of-the-moment book provides a compassionate compass for overcoming our mounting anxieties. He breezily unpacks religion, philosophy, the pitfalls (and appeal) of capitalism and the myth of “adulting”, updating the most relevant ideas of historical thinkers like Newton and Kant while maintaining his bullshit-free tone and laugh-out-loud mouthiness. For all its bleak pronouncements, Manson’s guide closes with a heartening guide through the perpetual clutter of modern life.
Manson follows up his bestseller The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck with this equally irreverent and inspiring work on hopefulness. "Our psyche needs hope the way a fish needs water," he opines, adding that "hopelessness is the root of all anxiety, mental illness and depression." In order to build and maintain hope, he writes, three things are required: a sense of control, belief in the value of something, and community. Manson argues that each person has a thinking brain (one that is conscientious, accurate, and impartial), as well as a feeling brain (one based on emotion), and that one's emotions are truly in control of everything. Learning how to navigate the relationship between emotional response and action, he says, is the key. He believes that people have been conditioned to feel anxious by the pace of progress, but that if a sense of control can be re-formed, then hope will come. As a (rather tongue-in-cheek) example, he suggests that readers start their own religion, a practice involving large amounts of control, strong values, and a community. After spending the first half of his book explaining the importance of hope, Manson uses the second half to explore the horror of a world without hope, where people feel disconnected and undervalued, and terror attacks and the threat of climate change are but two worrisome global trends. This smart work should appeal to any anxious reader looking to cultivate strategies for optimism.
Everything is common sense
Breathtaking clarity and commonsense. Thank-you Mark.
Everything is F*cked
Reading this book has actually helped me to concentrate on enjoying what I have and do today and being the best nicest person I can be without wasting time hoping for unrealistic future changes. Thank you Mark.
A more advanced read
I think this one may polarise some of Mark’s readership. The points he makes are still arguably calid however, and worthy of far more personal research and consideration. And Mark is always willing to discuss his writings openly, and just for this alone, he deserves 5 stars. Not just for his dedication to his work; but to those that follow up with him, and the the passionate responses Mark will provide back.
Dan (from Australia)