Mark Manson: Embracing The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck


Today’s guest, Mark Manson, is a bestselling author, blogger, and internet entrepreneur who writes about “personal development that doesn’t suck.” He recently published his second book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life, and he regularly writes articles on a blog with over two million monthly readers.

“The first book was actually extremely easy … this one was a total bitch.”

When Mark started writing his first book, Models: Attract Women Through Honesty, he had already been blogging about relationships for years. It was just a matter of sitting down and getting it all out. When he started writing his second book the pages didn’t pour out of him. He started and threw away two drafts.

When you talk about failures in past-tense it never really feels like a failure, because everybody knows you turned out alright.

When Mark started his third attempt at a second book, he only had a vague idea of the concepts he wanted to cover and he didn’t have an overall vision or theme. Mark thought he was going to self-publish his second book, but he started losing confidence. It took months and months of writing – tens of thousands of words – just to get to the point where Mark had nailed down the theme he wanted to work with.

“I realized that maybe I need some help with this.”

Mark hit a turning point with his book when he published an article, also titled The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, that received over seven million page views. He signed on with book publisher HarperOne and they helped him pick the title and focus his writing. They told him some of what he wrote was good and some of it sucked.

It hurt to hear that, but it’s what I needed to hear.

Mark writes about self-improvement and advice, but he does it in a very contrarian manner. For example, Mark touches on the subject of affirmation in the book, which is a popular autosuggestion technique intended to guide one’s own thoughts, feelings and behavior. He sees benefits to the technique, but he believes the benefits are blown out of proportion. His philosophy doesn’t prescribe specific techniques, because different processes work for different people. His self-help philosophy is to provide principles that can be applied to anyone’s life, in nearly any situation.

“The book is principle-driven, it’s about discovering new ways of looking at things in life. The way to implement that into your life isn’t doing specific things, it’s simply applying these principles to things you’re already doing.”

It was awesome talking to Mark and exploring his unique perspective on the self-improvement and advice industry. He’s hilarious and insightful, and you owe it to yourself to check out some of his writing if you haven’t already. Mark’s new book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is available now – even in the Barnes & Noble on 5th Avenue!


Subscribe in iTunes, Listen on Stitcher Radio, or Click Here to download


  • What are some challenges you face when writing a book (compared to other forms of writing)?

  • Did Mark approach a book agent once he had figured out the theme for his book, or did they come to him?

  • Mark’s book is in the self-improvement / advice category, but it’s very contrarian. Who does he look up to in that space?

  • What are Mark’s thoughts on autosuggestion and the science behind things like affirmations?

  • When did Mark first consider himself a writer?

  • In the book Mark writes about picking your problems. What are some of the problems and some of the pains that Mark has actively chosen to come with being a NYTimes bestseller?


  • Dan Norris - Does Mark have any tips for integrating some of these habits or values into your life? How can he make them actionable so he doesn’t forget?

  • What is one of the biggest decisions that Mark’s made that he was really uncertain of the outcome?


  • Why Mark ran into more challenges writing his second book than he did writing his first book.

  • Why Mark is a contrarian in the self-help and advice industry.

  • Why Mark implemented a subscription service on his website.

  • How to take the principles in The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck and apply them to your own life.

  • Plus much more…




Production & Development for The Bold Life Movement Podcast by Podcast Masters