Like, apparently, most readers, I’m not one for self-help books, but, again like most readers, I was curious about the title.
Reading the reviews here feels kind of weird. On the one hand there are many raving reviews that hail him as the second coming of Christ, while others compare it the worst drivel they ever read in this category and urge the author to learn some humility and take his own lessons to heart. As per usual, I fall a bit in between.
I found that this book brings nothing groundbreaking to the table, that it doesn’t dazzle me with some marvellous idea which causes me to radically alter my life style. Quite the contrary actually, there’s plenty of “platitudes” and clichés to be found.
However, I also found that many of the ideas and philosophies resonate with me and that I already apply most of them in my own life without naming them as such. Hearing them formulated as coherent trains of thought though, makes for a very nice feeling. Most people need a little jolt like this to start their own train of thought on this subject, and in that, it succeeded for me.
Yes, there is a lot of copying over from famous psychologists and Mark Manson borrows heavily from Buddhism, but that doesn’t mean that his collection of “rules to be happy” is bullshit. I found that many of the insights in human nature were actually very close to the mark.
This book falls heavily on the “everyone is special in their own way, and we are all unique”-bullshit that society constantly pours onto us. I get bombarded with this message every day and I’m so fed up with it. As Manson (and common sense) says:
If everyone is special, than, by definition, no one is, and we are all average, and that’s OK.
There was a chapter on relationships that, especially to me, was very interesting and provided some insights in why some relationships fail, while others prosper. The final chapter, on death, was actually very insightful.
Did this book make me do a 180 ? No. Is it unique in its insights ? No. Was it useful ? Yes. Was it funny ? Yes. Was it worth my time? Yes. 3.5 stars.