The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
by Mark Manson
Reading this book reminded me of the Buddhist concept of detachment, giving up expectations about outcomes. I am not certain if that was the author’s intent, however, that is what I thought of while reading it. In many ways, we are conditioned to be continuously searching to be happy and better. We are inspired to begin our morning with affirmations such as “I am pretty,” I am rich,” I am happy,” I am confident,” etc. And while affirmations are helpful because they can inspire us to focus on who we aspire to be, they may also encourage us to focus on that which we lack. I tell myself I am pretty because I really do not believe that I am.
In The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck we are encouraged to accept ourselves, just as we are, our “faults and foibles,” “fears and failures,” “shortcomings and successes.” We’re imperfect beings and that is ok. Not giving a f*ck is not about indifference, rather it is “being comfortable with difference.” The Subtle Art of not giving a F*ck is about “learning how to focus and prioritize our thoughts more effectively.”
According to Mark Manson, “the key to a good life is not giving a f*ck about more; it’s giving a fuck about less, giving a f*ck about only what is true and immediate and important.”
The Hour of the Witch
by Chris Bohjalian
I highly recommend Chris Bohjalian’s book The Hour of the Witch. Set in the 1660s, this is a narrative which highlights the struggles of women to live with respect and dignity in a world dominated by “misguided religiosity” and a male dominated culture which “demonizes” all women, especially those who dare to live as confident and creative thinking individuals. In this 1660s culture, “single women” in particular were labels as “dangerous,” as practicing witchcraft and were often ostracized. The sad part about this is that it was (and is) often other women who were the quickest to condemn one of their own. I love this book and especially that there was redemption (and some vindication) for the women who were the greatest victims of this unjust, unrequitable, unfair system.
The Daily Stoic
by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman
I discovered Stoicism a couple of years ago. Raised in institutional Christianity, I was dismayed by the politics of the institutional Christian system. I fully embraced the “Christ consciousness” expressed through the historical figure Jesus of Nazareth, however, I found the politics of the system far removed from the empowering, inspiring, teachings and practices of Jesus of Nazareth. I have been an avid reader since childhood and a “searcher of the truth” and e eventually I came upon one of Ryan Holiday’s books, The Obstacle is The Way. I was so enlivened by Ryan’s writings on the Stoic philosophy, that I sought a daily inspirational reading of the same. I discovered The Daily Stoic which has become a cherished part of my library. The book is a 365 day collection of daily reflections on the words of Stoic philosophers. Reading these daily meditations helps set the tone for my day and influences by thinking throughout the day, reminding me of my obligation to live a virtuous, responsible, authentic, service oriented life.