Reviews

Audiobook Reviews: Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear & The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

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Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration and empowerment from Elizabeth Gilbert’s books for years. Now this beloved author digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity. With profound empathy and radiant generosity, she offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work,  embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy.

DNF @ 50%

In theory, this book seemed really cool. Who doesn’t want to include more creativity in their lives?

But this book just seemed to talk itself in circles about being creative, without actually going anywhere. It felt like the author just did a stream of conscience on writing and creativity. If you are already engaged in creative pursuits of any sort, this book probably won’t do much for you, because it’s just going to tell you to get back to those activities, but don’t necessarily make them your life.

All in all, this one didn’t work for me. It just seemed to be trying to turn creative pursuits into something more complicated than they actually are. If you have been struggling to include more creative in your life, however, this one might work for you.

Find Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear on Book Depository

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In this generation-defining self-help guide, a superstar blogger cuts through the crap to show us how to stop trying to be “positive” all the time so that we can truly become better, happier people.

For decades, we’ve been told that positive thinking is the key to a happy, rich life. “F**k positivity,” Mark Manson says. “Let’s be honest, shit is f**ked and we have to live with it.” In his wildly popular Internet blog, Mason doesn’t sugarcoat or equivocate. He tells it like it is—a dose of raw, refreshing, honest truth that is sorely lacking today. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is his antidote to the coddling, let’s-all-feel-good mindset that has infected American society and spoiled a generation, rewarding them with gold medals just for showing up.

Manson makes the argument, backed both by academic research and well-timed poop jokes, that improving our lives hinges not on our ability to turn lemons into lemonade, but on learning to stomach lemons better. Human beings are flawed and limited—”not everybody can be extraordinary, there are winners and losers in society, and some of it is not fair or your fault.” Manson advises us to get to know our limitations and accept them. Once we embrace our fears, faults, and uncertainties, once we stop running and avoiding and start confronting painful truths, we can begin to find the courage, perseverance, honesty, responsibility, curiosity, and forgiveness we seek.

There are only so many things we can give a f**k about so we need to figure out which ones really matter, Manson makes clear. While money is nice, caring about what you do with your life is better, because true wealth is about experience. A much-needed grab-you-by-the-shoulders-and-look-you-in-the-eye moment of real-talk, filled with entertaining stories and profane, ruthless humor, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is a refreshing slap for a generation to help them lead contented, grounded lives.

4/5

As far as self-help books go, this one is the one I’ve found most interesting and most useful. It’s less about ‘try this, and this, and this, and smile!’ and more about ‘pick the things you’re willing to do the hard stuff for, and focus on those’.

It doesn’t ask you to change anything, it just suggests you really take a look at your life, and see what you’ve been not wanting to admit to yourself. It also suggests that you realize that a lot of things suck, and that’s cool. You don’t need a helicopter, a white picket fence, 2.3 kids and a perfect life, and chances are, things aren’t going to work out for that to happen anyway.

All in all, as far as self-help books go, this is definitely one of the better ones. It’s a good one if you’re having an off day, stuck in your own feedback loop from hell, or just want to read a lot of swearing.

Find The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck onBook Depository

 

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