Review | The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck


Part spoof, part pep talk, part genuine reflection on the every day ways we waste our time, energy and money on things that just don't matter. I absolutely loved this book, and have every intention of reading it again in the next few days just to really let things sink in.

The basic premise of Sarah Knight's book is that in our everyday lives so much time, energy and money gets wasted on things that just don't matter to us, because we feel some sort of obligation, or because we're so worried about what people think of us. Knight argues that we only have limited resources of said time, energy and money to give and she calls these 'fucks'. When we use up all our fucks on things we don't truly care about we're left without enough time/energy/money to actually use living a life that makes us happy.  Much of the book is spent helping you figure out where you are giving these fucks, and which ones matter and which you can let go. The rest involves navigating the tricky worlds of family ties, friendships and work obligations, and working to set your boundaries,  using honestly, politeness and a sprinkle of sass to remove the unnecessary fucks from your life, leaving you plenty to be used on things you actually give a shit about.

Sarah Knight writes the whole book in a very pally, dont-give-a-fuck-big-sister way. The book is liberally sprinkled with swear words so if that bothers you, either get over yourself or give it a miss. Knight does a great job of avoiding the preachy rhetoric that a lot of self help books have. It's your mate giving you a pep talk, not a guru helping you improve your pathetic existence.

 I think a lot of people feel like something like this encourages an attitude that is mean and apathetic. It couldn't be further from the truth. Sarah actively encourages you to conserve your 'fucks' without being an asshole and has a lot of tips on getting out of seemingly obligatory fuck-giving without hurting feelings in the process. There is also a lot of emphasis on the transferring of fucks from stuff that's making you annoyed or angsty to things that give you joy. The money you save not going to that second cousin's wedding in Vietnam? That can go into the fund for the kid's trip to Disneyland! Time saved no longer going to the gym means time used going to a book group instead, and energy saved trying to keep that toxic friendship going can now be spent doing good for that charity you feel strongly about. The book is ultimately is about putting your life in perspective, and realising that there might be some fucks you HAVE to give no mater how much you don't want to, but there are plenty that you can work out of your life to make room for things that make you happy.

There is a lot in this book that is hyperbolic and facetious and silly, and I did feel that maybe that was paper wasted on spoofing rather than actually being helpful, but the moments of humour do make the book more engaging and enjoyable so I should probably just shut up.

I would definitely recommend this little delight, it's not going to change your life, but it might make you see just how much of it you're wasting on bollocks you don't care about and how you can change that and live a life that is more free, more healthy and more satisfying.

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