Friday, April 15, 2016

The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck by Sarah Knight

The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck by Sarah Knight

Disclaimer: This is probably obvious just from the title, but if you're even remotely offended by profanity, you definitely shouldn't read this book.

Chances are, you've heard about or read the bestselling book on decluttering, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo (previously reviewed on VBPL Recommends). I read about 75% of the book before abandoning it. Even though I didn't stick with it until the end, there were some tips that I found very helpful. I reorganized my closet and dresser drawers to make things easier to find. I either donated or tossed quite a bit of clothing, as well as other items that I no longer found useful. That being said, portions of Kondo's book are ripe for parody, which brings us to Sarah Knight's The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck: How to Stop Spending Time You Don’t Have with People You Don’t Like Doing Things You Don’t Want to Do.

While the book is definitely a parody, there's a surprising amount of substance also. Knight tells about how she made a scary but necessary life change: she left a successful career with a major publishing house to become a freelance editor and writer. She evaluated her life and decided that she needed to stop doing certain things that didn't make her happy--things that annoyed rather than "sparked joy" (to borrow lingo from Kondo’s KonMari method). The result is something Knight calls the NotSorry method: choosing the worthwhile areas in life that you'd rather devote your time/energy/money to, and simply not caring about those other things that drain you mentally and physically. The NotSorry method can be applied to smaller, everyday matters, like choosing not to go to a party that you really have no desire to attend; or larger life issues, like a career change similar to the one that Knight made.

A word of caution: this is not a blanket license to be a jerk. Knight makes it clear that the NotSorry method should be run through a set of criteria, such as asking if anyone else (other than you) will be affected or potentially hurt. Click here for a helpful flowchart (warning: contains profanity).

Knight writes with a sharp sense of humor combined with practical advice, as evidenced by passages like this one:
One of the central tenets of f*ck-giving is choice over obligation. You want to be able to choose how to spend your time, energy, and money so that you maximize the enjoyment of any given relationship, task, product, or event. Things you can control vs. things you can't.
And as we all know, you don’t get to choose your family. So at the very least, you should get to choose how and why you interact with them. Right?
Although I was originally drawn to this book for its comedic aspects, I found that it's just as effective as a self-help book, irreverent as it is. Search the VBPL catalog for The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck. If you enjoy this book, you will probably also like F*ck Feelings: One Shrink's Practical Advice for Managing All Life's Impossible Problems by Michael Bennett.

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