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Book Review: "Everything is Fucked: A Story About Hope", by Mark Manson

”(Amor fati) is our challenge, our calling: To act without hope. To not hope for better. To be better. In this moment and the next. And the next. And the next. Everything is fucked. And hope is both the cause and the effect of that fuckedness.”

From “Everything is Fucked: A Book About Hope”, (HarperCollins Publishers, 2019, Page 129) by Mark Manson

I bought “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck” along with this book at the same time, and once I finished the first book I couldn’t wait to pick this one up. This book seemed a bit more contrived in terms of content (there’s a discussion about AI at the end which I felt was an unnecessary detour), but I resonated with the discussion of amor fati, or the love of one’s fate. My biggest problems include an inability to relax, to be kind to myself, and a deep-seated insecurity necessitating external validation loops. If I could effectively practice amor fati, maybe these struggles will diminish, or go away entirely.

There’s a really helpful table of traits to stage of life Mark adds in his book, and when I filled it out the first time, I thought I was an adolescent. When I took a second look, I was surprised (and a bit miffed) to find I was more of a child. Here are my personal results:

Trait / Stage of Life Childhood Adolescence Adulthood
Values Pleasure / pain Rules and roles Virtues
Sees Relationships As … Power struggles Performances Vulnerability
Self-Worth Narcissistic: wide swings between “I’m the best” and “I’m the worst” Other-dependent: externally validated Independent: largely internally validated
Motivation Self-aggrandizement Self-acceptance Amor Fati
Politics Extremist / nihilist Pragmatic, ideological Pragmatic, nonideological
In order to grow, he/she needs Trustworthy institutions and dependable people Courage to let go of outcomes and faith in unconditional acts Consistent self-awareness
  • Primary self-introspection match
  • Secondary self-introspection match
  • Not a match

I think it’s probably bad in a number of ways (e.g. employment) to state that emotionally, I am a child. But I think it’s the truth, and I’m happy I’m acknowledging the truth to myself and committing that acknowledgment publicly. I want the truth to be my friend, because that’s the only way I’ll have any chance of waking up to this reality happy.

I’m grateful to Mark for writing these two books. In many ways, they helped the scales fall from my eyes, and it’s because he’s one of the few authors who wrote what I needed to hear. I’m putting these ones on my personal bookshelf for common reference 😊