Lessons from ‘Everything is F**ked: A Book About Hope’

Downunder Dad
Nov 17, 2019 · 7 min read

I am now convinced that Mark Manson is a modern day genius. This is the best book I have ever read. I already want to read it all over again.

Manson’s online blog www.markmanson.net attracts over two million readers per month, he boasts nearly half a million likes on his Facebook page and has sold over six million copies of his first book The Subtle Art of not Giving a Fuck to many intrigued folks who had not heard of him. Myself included.

According to Manson’s own website… “My most recent book Everything is Fucked: A Book About Hope debuted at #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list in May of 2019 and has mindfucked people across the world.” Myself included.

Manson also has over 153,000 Twitter followers. Myself included…

I have a huge, unsubtle man crush.

To prove how outstanding his second book really is I figured we should play a game.

I asked my five-year-old daughter to join me at the beach and asked her to flick to ten different random pages, entirely up to her. This book is so exceptionally well written and jammed full of delicious golden content, that I am confident I will find a quote worth sharing from each indiscriminate page.

So below is the result of my daughter’s random page flicking experiment, no edits, no mulligans, just the best quotes I could find on the first ten random pages she opened up.

62–63, 212–213, 140–141, 26–27, 160–161, 182–183, 20–21, 40–41, 62–63 again, 104–105, 158–159.

So here we go, let’s all hope this works. Myself included.

Pages 62–63
“Our Feeling Brains warp reality in such a way so that we believe our problems and pain are somehow special and unique in the world, despite all evidence to the contrary… Most of us are winging it as we go, if not completely lost. And if we didn’t have some false belief in our own superiority (or inferiority), a deluded belief that we’re extraordinary at something, we’d line up to swan-dive off the nearest bridge. Without a little bit of that narcissistic delusion, without that perpetual lie we tell ourselves about our specialness, we’d likely give up hope.”

Pages 212–213
“Over the last couple of decades, people seem to have confused their basic human rights with not experiencing any discomfort… Freedom itself demands discomfort. It demands dissatisfaction. Because the freer a society becomes, the more each person will be forced to reckon and compromise with views and lifestyles and ideas that conflict with their own.”

Pages 140–141
“Early in life we are driven to explore the world around us because our Feeling Brains are collecting information on what pleases and harms us, what feels good and bad, what is worth pursuing further and what is worth avoiding. We’re building up our value hierarchy, figuring out what our first and primary values are, so that we can begin to know what to hope for.”

“We’re building up our value hierarchy, figuring out what our first and primary values are, so that we can begin to know what to hope for.” — Mark Manson, Everything is F***ked

Pages 26–27
“To generate hope in our lives, we must first feel as though we have control over our lives. We must feel as though we’re following through on what we know is good and right; that we’re chasing after ‘something better’.”

Pages 160–161 (this was the first tricky one)
“Throughout the rich and developed world, we are not living through a crisis of wealth or material, but a crisis of character, a crisis of virtue, a crisis of means and ends.”

Pages 182–183
“When struck by chaos and disorder, our minds set to work making sense of it all, deducing principles and constructing mental models, predicting future events and evaluating the past. This is called “learning”, and it makes us better; it allows us to gain from failure and disorder. But when we avoid pain, when we avoid stress and chaos and tragedy and disorder, we become fragile. Our tolerance for day-to-day setbacks diminishes, and our life must shrink accordingly for us to engage only in the little bit of the world we can handle at one time.”

Pages 20–21
“Imagine you took a dead-beat dad, stuffed him inside a couch-potato, lightly glazed it with Family Feud reruns, and baked it at 350-degrees for twenty-four hours a day. That was Elliot’s new life… Fights erupted in Elliot’s marriage — except they couldn’t really be considered fights. Fights require that two people give a shit.”

Pages 40–41
“And this is the whole problem: speaking to both brains [the Thinking Brain and the Feeling Brain], integrating our brains into a cooperative, coordinated, unified whole. Because if self-control is an illusion of the Thinking Brain’s overblown self-regard, then it’s self-acceptance that will save us — accepting our emotions and working with them rather than against them.”

Pages 104–105
“We all struggle with the sense that we deserve to be loved. Even if your parents were aweseome, you sometimes wonder, wow, why me? What did I do to deserve this? Interpersonal religions have all sorts of rituals and sacrifices designed to make people feel they deserve to be loved. Rings, gifts, anniversaries, wiping the piss off the floor when I miss the toilet — it’s the little things that add up to one big thing. You’re welcome, honey.”

“Rings, gifts, anniversaries, wiping the piss off the floor when I miss the toilet — it’s the little things that add up to one big thing. You’re welcome, honey.” — Mark Manson, Everything is F***ked

Pages 158–159
“When we pursue a life full of pleasure and simple satisfaction, we are treating ourselves as a means to our pleasurable ends. Therefore, self-improvement is not the cultivation of greater happiness but, rather, a cultivation of greater self-respect. Telling ourselves that we are worthless and shitty is just as wrong as telling others that they are worthless and shitty.”

Wow, even I am amazed at how well that played out. The game worked a treat and my hypothesis has been proven. This book is THAT good that even a five-year-old can uncover some seriously enthralling quotes randomly.

My three favourite lessons, the best take aways from this book, the parts that I will always remember are as follows, sub-standardly paraphrased from my memory:

  1. We all believe our Thinking Brains are what drives us, but in reality it is our Feeling Brains at the wheel. Manson elaborates on this in his unique style, drawing upon quotes and findings from classical and contemporary legends of philosophy and psychology. He refers to this concept throughout the book at appropriate times that remind us of the power associated with our emotions. And just how much we are completely at the mercy of the pesky Feeling Brain.
  2. Our level seven evolves. As things in our lives transform into becoming either better or worse, our expectations track in the same direction. Despite inevitable spikes in either direction (such as the birth of children or the death of loved ones) most people feel as though their lives are rather good, a little above average, around a seven out of ten. This is despite a person’s circumstances or even their socio-economic situation. If things improve in our lives, our perception of our “seven” moves with it, and similarly if our lives regress.
  3. The brain will eventually see what it thinks it is supposed to see. Manson outlines the findings of a famous psychological experiment that saw a large sample size of humans presented with a simple computer screen, again this is me loosely recalling the details from when I originally read it some weeks ago now. But basically, folks needed to record how many times they saw a blue dot. After a while people started beliving they were seeing a blue dot when they weren’t, simply because that is what the experiment called for. Fascinating.

Manson elaborates… in his unique style, drawing upon quotes and findings from classical and contemporary legends of philosophy and psychology. — Mark Manson, Everything is F***ked

Although this book does take a while to build, (mainly by skillfully laying foundations and warming-up our mind to think in the way the author intended of his readers) it is glorious. Just like the often-used and classic roller-coaster analogy, after the initial climb it is thrilling and thought-provoking to the very end.

Manson intertwines the mindsets from ancient civilisations with modern day happiness and hopelessness, then concludes with hypothetical projections about artificial intelligence. This book truly has something for everyone. Myself included.


Originally published at http://downunderdad.com on November 17, 2019.

Downunder Dad

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We all say we want to try new things. Well now that I am in my 40s (shudder) I am giving everything a crack. Downunder Dad is a simple archiving of life lessons

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