Monday 14 November 2016

The Life-Changing Magic of Not giving a F*ck

Finished November 13
The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck: How to Stop Spending Time You Don't Have with People You Don't Like Doing Things You Don't Want to Do by Sarah Knight

This is a book for all of us who feel overwhelmed by life and its demands on us, or as the author says "all of us who work too much, play too little, and never have enough time to devote to the people and things that truly make us happy." A parody of the decluttering book by Marie Kondo, this book deals with mental decluttering and the tidying up of our fuck drawers. The author explains her ah-ha moment in the introduction, and how she went about gradually focusing her time, energy, and money on the things she really cared about and that made her happy. The rest of the book is split into four sections. Each one has tasks or exercises to assist with your changes.
Section 1 deals with the theory, the whys, and defines what the book's aim is. Not Giving a Fuck means taking care of yourself first; allowing yourself to say no; releasing yourself from the worry, anxiety, fear, and guilt associated with saying no; and reducing mental clutter. One of the essentials associated with this is making the change to only give the fucks you really want to give is to do it in such a way that you don't turn into an asshole. One of the biggest hurdles to overcome is to stop giving a fuck about what other people think, and she gives some tips for dealing with that. She explains the method at the heart of the change, which she calls NotSorry. NotSorry combines honesty with politeness to avoid being an asshole. and she advocates the use of a chart to assist with this. She also discusses feelings and opinions and the differentiation. We don't necessarily care about someone's opinions (especially their opinions about us), but we do care (usually) about their feelings and don't want to hurt those. She does talk about those people who won't like this change. She has a nice flow chart to help with deciding on whether to give a fuck or not.

This section ends with a visualization exercise.

Section 2 helps you to decide what to stop giving a fuck about. The first category is the easiest: things. They are easiest because they don't involve other people. They may be inanimate objects or concepts. Some may be things you have no control over (perfect for this list). Ask yourself, does it bring joy or does it annoy. She gives a lot of examples to get you started. The second category is work, and here it is important to remember to not give a fuck about the things you can't control. That should eliminate quite a bit. She has special sections dealing with meetings, conference calls, dress codes, and useless paperwork. She also deals with those calls from co-workers to support their outside interests. The third category is friends, acquaintances, and strangers. This category is all about setting boundaries. She has a section specifically dealing with donations, solicitations and loans. She talks about the usefulness of personal policies in helping to set boundaries. She also includes a section around children and parents. Because this category involves people, she also talks about when it is okay to hurt someone's feelings, which is not often, and most of those involve strangers. The fourth, and most difficult category is family. She discusses the dangers of guilt and outlines the understanding of choice over obligation. In her research, she asked a lot of people and outlines here the six most mentioned things that people don't give a fuck about in terms of families. She discusses shame, holidays, and in-laws. At this point, you consolidate your lists from the 3 categories and physically cross off all those things you will no longer give a fuck about. She warns against some of the dangerous thinking that will still arise.
Section 3 is all about putting the change into action. You've got your list, but now you actually have to change your behaviour. This is when focusing on the time, energy, and money you are gaining for the things you actually care about comes in. She recommends you start with the easy ones and organizes them into levels from easy (yellow) to hardest (red). She talks about honesty and politeness and deals with each category in turn, with a special section around weddings. Here, with the use of charts for honesty and politeness, she shows how to choose the response that meets your need. She also talks about rewarding yourself for making changes. She has a section near the end for frequently asked questions.
The last section talks about how making these changes transforms your life, giving you back time, energy, and money for the things you actually give a fuck about. She shows how making lists showing these gains is helpful for motivation.  She talks about the effect on your body, your mind, and even your soul. She also talks about some things you might actually want to give a fuck about.
I really enjoyed this book, and it has me thinking about some of the things I do in a new light.


  1. I think I need to read this book...and put it into practice next year. Thanks for the review! :)

    1. Glad to help Lark. I've already stopped giving a f*ck about a few things.

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