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The Subtle Art of …

Book Thoughts is a series where I write about things books make me think about. Simple as that. Not exactly summaries. Not exactly reviews. Just thoughts that occasionally veer away from the books.


Disclaimer: I usually don’t include much profanity in my posts, but it was pretty unavoidable this time.

I’ve already finished this one and the next book, and I think from now on I’d like to write out my book thoughts as I read, rather than retrospectively (book thoughts are kinda like bread, which means the fresher the better).

If you look at the title alone, I’m sure many will get the wrong idea about this one, perhaps assuming it’s a reflection of a new generation that’s apathetic and narcissistic.

But the gist of the whole thing isn’t that you shouldn’t care about anything; rather, it’s that life is short, and we have a limited number of fucks to give, so be sure to use them towards the things that matter.

The book felt effective in that it continued to hammer this message into you, one that we need reminding of over and over again. “Just let go a little … stop worrying so much … just let go.”

This extends towards ideas like perfectionism. As I kick off this Book Thoughts series, it’s easy for me to get discouraged when I start looking at some of the blogs out there centered around book reviews and summaries — just, how good and thorough some of them are. I mentioned Brainpickings in the intro, and it’s just so good that this feels utterly pathetic.

But a couple things regarding this:

First, is my goal really to be the best, or is it to process through my own personal journey through books? Trying to be the best sounds like an unenjoyable amount of pressure, so I’ll opt for the personal journey.

Second, I’m also reminded of something I tell myself often whenever I’m feeling stuck. The more you do, the more you do. Maria Popova started Brainpickings in 2006 as a simple email chain she’d send to just seven friends. Look where the momentum has taken her.

In other words, just start.

And in other other words, this whole series may be scattered and full of ramblings now, but it’s a start, and that means momentum, which will slowly morph towards something better. If you find it halfway decent, oh you just wait!

Actually, that sounds like too much pressure again, so I take it back.

On a side note, why is it that entropy and decay are the underlying constants of the universe, and yet our habits flow the other direction, inching towards more order and perfection?

Who knows, but I digress.

Back to the book thoughts. One thing I find interesting is that the phrase “not giving a fuck” has gathered a rather positive reputation in recent years, unlike seemingly synonymous phrases like “not giving a shit” or “not caring” which have a more negative ring to them. Not sure why that is, but fuck it (okay, I probably could have avoided that one, but fuck it … ah I did it again! I should probably stop there).

Those are my thoughts on the first book of the year.

Love always from planet earth.

Doug