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 The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck 

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Michael Santos

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Title: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
Author: Mark Manson
Date I read The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: July 11, 2017
Book summary number: 1

Why I chose to read The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck:

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My friend Jason recommended that I read The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. Since I admire Jason, I wanted to read at least one book that was making an impression on him. By reading The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, I would have a new topic to discuss with my friend.

Both Jason and I are on a journey of self improvement. I’m served 26 years in federal prison and every day I’m striving to strengthen my career. Jason has an exceptional career. He built a service business with an idea of helping people. His business employs more than 30 people and generates several million dollars in revenue each year.

Since I consider Jason a successful businessman and team builder, I learn as much as I can from Jason. If The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck made an impression on him, I wanted to learn why. I listened to the audio version of the book that provides. Jason sent it to me as a gift.

What I learned from reading The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck:

I began listening to the audio version of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck a few days ago. I listen to audiobooks while I run. From the first paragraphs, I liked what I heard.

I liked the book because it emphasized the importance of living a values-based, goal-oriented life. This strategy helped me feel productive while serving multiple decades in prison. The author writes about the strategy for a specific audience. I learned about the strategy by reading Socrates at the start of my prison term. Then I read Stoic philosophers and writings from other wise people. Essentially, all of those philosophers write that we must train ourselves to live in the world as it exists rather than as we would like the world to be. Once we learn that lesson, we can focus on the power we have within to become something better.

As a man in prison, there was a lot that I could not control. I could not control what I ate, where I slept, what access I would have to other people. I could not control the actions of other people around me. I certainly could not control the length of my sentence.

Yet I had internal power to respond. I could respond to external conditions of my life positively or negatively. My response would determine my attitude. My attitude would determine my prospects for success.

  • There isn’t anything we can do to change the past, but we always can make decisions that will influence a better future.

Nearly four full years have passed since I concluded my obligation to the Bureau of Prisons, on August 12, 2013. During those four years, I’ve faced different challenges. Instead of having to deal with the challenges of prison life, I’ve had to adjust to society after 26 years of continuous imprisonment. I’ve had to make career choices on how I would support myself. Since I wanted to build a career that would convey what I learned to others, I had to learn technology. I had to learn how to use the Internet, make videos, publish more content to reach more people.

Besides building my career, I need to adjust to the liberties that were not a part of my life while I was in prison.

Lessons from The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck teach the same principles that I learned from philosophers. Mark Manson, the author, conveys this message in the language of today. I suspect his writing style will appeal to readers who would not choose to read Socrates or Marcus Aurelius. To me, it doesn’t matter who conveys these lessons on leading a values-based, goal-oriented life. I derive value from the message.

How reading The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck will contribute to success as I define it:

Mark Manson conveyed lessons that I have been living since I started my lengthy prison term. He advises readers that we should distill what is most important in our life. Then we should pursue success with a 100 percent commitment. We never achieve success, but we should keep pursuing success. It’s one thing to know this strategy for success, but it’s another to live this strategy for success. To the extent that we challenge our thinking daily, we live with more purpose. We achieve a higher potential when we learn what to give a fuck about, and what we should ignore.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck contributes to my success in the same way that a coach contributes to the success of an athlete. The coach may not be as talented as the person he coaches. But the coach can add value because she helps the athlete focus on fundamentals. The coach helps the athlete become better.

Whenever I invest time to read (or listen) to an author, I am strengthening my resolve. I am hearing about others who have achieved a higher potential. This message that I heard in The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck keeps me on the path of living a values-based, goal-oriented life. I’m grateful to my friend Jason for recommending the book, and I highly recommend that others read The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck.

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