An irreverent, off-beat, comical, conversational, bold book replete with ‘F’ word and attitude that believes in ‘giving it to you straight’. When you look around your surroundings it is hard to escape the feeling of relentless hum of hopelessness in our lives and the world in general. As if things are crumbling at a rapid pace and our own lives are falling apart.
Mark Manson’s international bestseller book is in many ways an able guide to help fix our life and the world for the better, rather counter-intuitively. As the sub-titles says it is a book about hope! One realises that it is more about anti-hope than hope, after all.
The first part of the book can be wearisome and repetitive. Titled as ‘Hope’, it is divided into chapters such as Uncomfortable Truth; Self-Control is an illusion; Newtons Laws of Emotion etc, and draw heavily from emotional, moral and cognitive psychological theories and at times can make the first part of the book bit insufferable.
The book picks up pace towards the second half and has assertions that are relevant in the times we live in today. The chapter titled ‘The formula of humanity’ is a very sharp commentary and forms the core of the book. It explains our basic moral intuitions, classic concepts of virtue. It explains how to act in our day-to-day lives without relying on some imagined vision of hope.
The book has some great quotable quotes. Sample this one: “The values we pick up throughout our lives crystallise and form a sediment on top of our personality. The only way to change our values is to have experiences contrary to our values…It’s why it is impossible to become someone new without first grieving the loss of who you used to be.”
Similarly another wonderful quote: “The quality of our lives is determined by the quality of our character, and the quality of character is determined by our relationship to our pain.”
Manson says that pain can actually give meaning and significance to our lives and counters the belief that one should always strive for happiness. Though a tad dense in the beginning, the chapters are common-sensical, convincing and counterintuitive, all at the same time.
The book unravels the why and the how of our identities and the values and the narratives that shape us at a fundamental level. The book is certainly not for the masses. You will enjoy it better, if you have your toes wetted in the works of the philosophers such as Plato, Emile Durkheim, Immanuel Kant etc and be able to relate to the concepts better.
It is a great book to break one’s own conditioning and rewire one’s own thinking and for fixing lives. Some parts of the book appear disjointed and the long passages may make you want to skip few pages.
The book, however, is well-researched and has clarity of thought on rather heavyweight subjects of such as humanity, morals, religion, politics and technology make for an insightful reading. You may enjoy certain parts of the book and also revisit some chapters in the future.
Overall, an Irreverent, off-beat, comical, conversational, bold self-help book replete with ‘F’ word and an attitude that believes in “giving it to you straight”.
Book: Everything is F*cked: A book about Hope
Author: Mark Manson
Publisher: HarperCollins India
Pages: 273; Price: Rs 499