I am in a bit of a pickle about this book. I am definitely not an expert in self-help books, I maybe read one or two others during my reading career, so I cannot compare it to its peers. While I liked some things about it I really found many other things annoying.
It was one of those spur of the moment airport buys, I got it as a gift for my mother, she read it in two days (her opinion is also mixed), so when I came home this time I also decided to give it a shot. The title obviously alludes to The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, one of self-help sensations of recent years. Yet another one that I never read and I never intend to read, I don’t think I need it, I religiously and ruthlessly de-clutter my home at least once a year, during a ritual called spring-cleaning, which for me can take place in any season, when I feel my things are trying to suffocate me.
Back to Not Giving a F**k, let me start on a positive note, I wholeheartedly agree with the general idea of the book. We should stop caring about things we cannot change, like other people’s opinion, but we should still care about their feelings and remain honest and kind. Under an ‘innovative’ title we receive a book about being assertive, healthily egocentric without harming other people; a book trying to free us of the guilt we so often feel, the unnecessary feeling of obligation that so often is behind our actions and decisions. All things I totally support, agree with and work on. I also liked that Knight shares plenty of examples, which makes the message a lot easier to relate to. She tries to write in a joking and accessible style, sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t, but she tries to make her voice easy to listen to.
What I didn’t like? Quite a lot of things. Starting with insane amount of f**ks, I understand that ‘not giving a f**k’ was the catchphrase of this book, but even not being an editor I was going crazy with the repetition, I cannot imagine what any person working in publishing must feel reading the same word over and over again. And this is also a surprising thing: Knight did work in publishing and she actually still is in the business, on a freelance basis, so how come the repetitions didn’t annoy her is beyond me. Another thing that surprised me was the fact that I found at least one typo, taking into account those two points it seems like the book has been rushed to the market. There is also repetition on a higher level as well, I think in order to drive the message home, Knight repeats her statements, description of her Not Sorry method and each step a lot, again and again, ad nauseam. Basically, what I didn’t like about this is was the fact that it is quite badly written. I feel this diminished the message.
One thing definitely worth remembering is that we have a limited number of f**ks to give, so we should give them carefully. It is not rocket science, but sometimes all of us need reminding.
A quote to finish off: ‘The life-changing magic of not giving a fuck is all about prioritizing. Joy over annoy. Choice over obligation. Opinions vs. feelings.’
When was the last time you said No to something you didn’t want to do, but sort of felt obliged or pressured to do? Was it easy or difficult?
P.S. As you can see in the photo above I have seen Garfield, the master of not giving a f**k, live 😀