Highlights from “Unfu*k Yourself”

I picked up this book while picking non-technical books to read over last winter break. The book tackles the analysis-paralysis problem presented as a how-to-improve-your-life recommendations. The author uses a light and jaunty writing style and leans on anecdotes, mantras, quotes, and life experiences to get his points across. This makes the book an easy and quick read. As for content, it can seem like the all to common self improvement spiel or a entertaining kick in the butt; it really depends on the reader.

I liked the writing style, the viewpoints (or assertions), and the quotes mentioned in the book. While I can quote the assertions here, they will seem shallow and out of context. For them, I suggest you read the book. As for the quotes, here are a few that I liked.

  1. If you’re willing to put up with your situation, then whether you like it or not, that is the life you have chosen.
  2. “Circumstances don’t make the man; they only reveal him to himself” — Epictetus
  3. “Fate leads the willing and drags the reluctant” — Seneca
  4. When you start to view the world through the lens of what you’re willing and unwilling to pursue, rather than what it seems you want and don’t want, things start to become a lot clearer.
  5. “The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts. Therefore, guard accordingly, and take that you entertain no notions unsuitable to virtue and reasonable nature” — Marcus Aurelius
  6. “If all our misfortunes were laid in one common heap whence everyone must take an equal portion, most people would be content to take their own and depart” — Socrates
  7. “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing” — Theodore Roosevelt
  8. “The desire for safety stands against every great and noble enterprise” — Tacitus
  9. There really is no destination, there is only exploring, exploring, and exploring.
  10. “If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid” — Epictetus
  11. Most of us let our internal condition weigh heavily on what we do. But the truly great performers are great precisely because they’ve learned to experience those feelings while side stepping the inclination to act upon them.
  12. [Great performers] They simply focus and lean in. They act anyway.
  13. “Action may not bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action.” — Benjamin Disraeli
  14. “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it” — Aristotle
  15. Don’t expect victory or defeat. Plan for victory, learn from defeat.
  16. “You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do” — Carl Jung
  17. Stopping your bad habit doesn’t help, unless you replace it with something else, something that actually works in your favor and is an example of the new kind of life you really want to live.
  18. “Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action comes, stop thinking and go in” — Napoleon Bonaparte