Book review: The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck by Sarah Knight
It’s been a while since the last book review, but here’s my take on The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck: How to stop spending time you don’t have doing things you don’t want to do with people you don’t like, by Sarah Knight.
This book has been described as a parody of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, the decluttering classic by Marie Kondo, but it might be better to consider it as an homage that’s a self help book in its own right. With snark and swearing. If you don’t like sass or the regular use of the F-word then this book is not for you, but I found it to be lighthearted and surprisingly useful.
The heart of The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck is really about considering the things that you really do care about, and that are the most important to you – and then doing more of them. It’s not necessarily stuff that springs immediately to mind, and the exercises in the book do help to work them out and prioritise them.
I did worry that it would exhort the readers to become excessively selfish, and even callous or downright unpleasant, but that was a long way from what the author actually suggests you could and should do instead. There’s a large part of the text given over to ‘not being an asshole’, in other words being considerate of the feelings of others and letting them down gently (or setting firm boundaries when necessary) while you go about your daily business.
In particular, she addresses feelings of guilt, peer influence, workplace pressures, assorted social fears, and family obligations. There’s so much we worry about in modern life that doesn’t actually matter if we take a step back to think about it.
Another of her suggestions is that doing too many things that you don’t really want to do can drain us of the resources of money, time and energy, and ultimately all of those resources are finite. In other words, we simply can’t do everything that’s demanded of us so we may as well devote our resources to things that make us fulfilled and happy, as long as we’re not hurting others in the process.
If you find that you’re too much of a people pleaser, or you find it hard to say ‘no’ to others, or if you’re suffering from an overstretched schedule where you neglect yourself but help work / friends / family too often, you might like this book. It’s a snappy read, and I found it interesting and fun (but I do like swearing – you have been warned).
The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck by Sarah Knight is available from Amazon UK, priced £6.99 for ebook, £9.09 for hardcover, and £17.49 for the audiobook (or 1 credit at Audible). You can also pre-order the paperback, out April next year, for £8.99.
I keep seeing this book recommended and I really feel like I should give it a try. I’m dreadful at saying no – I never want to upset anyone.
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