Mark Manson, author of three books, does not have the most typical journey into the world of professional writing, though his story will be familiar and appealing to most millennials and Gen Z.
He was a “weird guy” in his own words, because while he was a teenager, he much preferred burying his nose in philosophy books to playing videogames or playing sports (and similar teenage boy activities). At university, he studied International Relations, but wasn’t destined to become a politician.
When he embraced the digital nomad lifestyle, he started writing a blog. Initially it was just at the behest of his friends, so he would journal his travels across the world, and it did not start off as a business. Mark wrote about his life then, blogging about the very age appropriate topic of parties and girls – Nietzsche and Kant were for now forgotten. As the material he wrote about drummed up interest from his entries, he eventually turned the blog into a website about dating advice.
Today, he still continues to blog, but has in the meantime released and published actual books, too, rampant with profanity for those readers that would rather be given advice in what they consider straight-forward language (meaning, Mark Manson is the kind of author that spells out his “French” and oh-là-là out in black and white, no beating around the bush).
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life
In the first of Mark Manson’s best book, where profanity is included even in the title, you will be guided through the process to create your own Maslow’s pyramid of things to care about in life, and whittle the top to almost nothing: the great (and slender) peak where you should focus all your energies on to succeed.
Mark Manson is not here to sugar-coat life for you; Mark Manson is here to tell it like he sees it. And as he sees it, you probably care too much (or, in his words, hand out your f**ks like they’re candy at a parade) about many insignificant things in life that are making you miserable.
For example, is it seriously worth your while getting worked up about Cindy leaving you on read? Probably not. Much as if they were dollars or bitcoins, invest your f**ks into stocks with crazy ROI rates. That’s the secret to being happy – not feeling that you are entitled to be happy and positive and have everything working for you all the time.
Another topic he develops is just that – American consciousness has been kidnapped by the stream of constantly-happy-always-positive drivel self-help books have been spoon-feeding society. No one can be happy because everyone expects to be happy all the time. The truth is, though, that life resembles an obstacle course full of death-traps more than it does a green meadow full of butterflies that flutter over to pose on the daisy wreath that adorns your long, flowing locks… you get the picture.
Adversity if part of life. You deal with it, or it deals with you. The latter being infinitely more difficult to stomach, so he recommends getting rid of the snowflake complex in order to get on with life with a more realistic view that will give you immense long-term benefits.
Considered by many the best book by Mark Manson out there, it has sold over 9 million copies worldwide and has been number 1 in 13 countries. So, there might just be some truth to what Mr. Manson is selling, because apparently people are buying it in drones. However, it’s up to you to decide if Mark Manson’s books are, in fact, any good, because the author himself recommends that you don’t take him seriously. He’s only here to get your thinking-ball rolling.
Everything Is F*cked: A Book About Hope
This is a book about HOPE. No, seriously. The full title is Everything is F*cked: A Book About Hope. See? I wouldn’t lie to you. After his world-wide success with The Subtle Art… Manson charges once again against pretty much all aspects of modern society with humor, critical rationality and… lots of swearing.
The premise of this paradoxically named work is that, on the one hand, we are experiencing a time in which human comforts are sky-high. We have access to technology our ancestors couldn’t even dream of! It takes us a few hours to do laundry, compared to the entire day of rubbing your knuckles raw on the riverside that our great-great-(great?)-grandmothers had to endure (the number of “greats” is contingent on several factors). We can send texts to thousands of people per minute, connect with anyone we want to via facetime who has access to the internet. Gone are the messenger pigeon training days!
On the other side, why does it seem like all of these clearly beneficial things are making us miserable? Who or what’s to blame for this perennial dissatisfaction when we should, technically, be floating in a pool of bliss?
Mark Manson weaves his thread through a myriad of interrelated topics: from AI to Nietzsche and nihilism, to corporate manipulation and self-help industry quack tactics… All in an attempt to show you that, despite it all appearing so helpless, what with climate change and how we seem to be destined to communicate like robots, actually, there is a hope to be found among the rubble. And it starts by realizing that we are insignificant – but not in the depressing way. In the uplifting way!
Read the book. Manson does a much better job at explaining how to see the glass half full.
Models: Attract Women Through Honesty
Are you the kind of man that looks forlornly at beautiful women from across the café, wishing you could approach them but feeling unable to? Do you have trouble getting so much as a match on Tinder? Or Hinge? Or Bumble? Or whatever one of the thousands of dating apps are being used currently? Do all your relationships fail or are, in some way, not fulfilling to you?
If you checked “yes” in most of these boxes, pick up a copy of Models: Attract Women Through Honesty. As stated in the section about the author of this best Mark Manson books review, he gave dating advice. And from that fountain of wisdom, this book sprung forward to help helpless men in the modern-day dating jungle.
His teachings are quite simple and straight to the point: honesty is the key to open the female heart. Women can smell lack of authenticity like your dog can smell the bag of treats in your pocket – just because you think you’re hiding it, doesn’t mean it’s not visible. You need to be yourself.
However, Manson isn’t here to lie to you (least of all in a book with “honesty” in the title), so he’s not going to give you a pat-on-the-shoulder type rant about how looks and money don’t matter. They do matter. But not in the way you think they do. Plot twist!
After laying down the theoretical foundations, the book also incorporates a part where practical advice and how-to techniques are incorporated. A compass to finding love! Or flings. Or romance. It’s up to you really.
The Nerd’s Guide to Being Confident
Everyone knows confidence when they see it. Everyone is keenly aware that confidence is absent when it’s lacking (painfully so for the self-conscious victim). But what, exactly, is confidence? What are its elements? Could you give a definition?
It’s a tough nut to crack, but the truth is we all need confidence to function. Mark Manson uses his layman tone and approach to break confidence down for nerdy guys who are in dire need of a big helping thereof.
The book is mainly targeted to a male audience, but contains many pearls of general wisdom that both men and women can profit from. Gaining a little confidence never hurt anyone, after all, did it?
Mark Manson on Self-Knowledge
We did put “On Self-Knowledge” in the best books by Mark Manson, but technically it’s more a collection of three articles. It’s a free e-book that can be downloaded by anyone who wants a tutorial on how to answer the simplest, and hardest, question of all: Who am I?
Seriously, who are you? And you can’t answer your name because, unless your parents got real creative on that front, chances are there’s at least someone out there with the same one as you. You have to dig a little deeper. And Mark Manson hands you the shovel.
This short piece centers around three parts.
- You have two minds: the thinking one, and the observing one. What you do with the latter is what really counts.
- Believe what’s helpful: the placebo effect is well documented in scientific literature. Try it out on your thought pattern. Flip “seeing is believing” into “believing is [fill out blank]” because if you believe it, there’s a higher chance of ‘blank’ occuring.
- The Prime Belief: a.k.a. radical responsibility. You are responsible for everything that happens to you. This is the belief that puts an end to your “wine and whine” Friday night parties with your closest friends (and/or your cat), but it gives more than it takes.
So, there’s the list to pick from by begrudgingly-so self-help author Mark Manson. And one of them is free! Who doesn’t love free stuff? Give his writing a chance if you feel you need some guidance in your life, but are not prepared to sift through pages and paragraphs of freakishly positive and optimistic advice, that sounds too good to be true anyway. If that just resonated with you – Mark Manson is your guru.