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

By Sarah Knight

Think about all the things in your life toward which you put valuable time, energy, and money. Some of these things are great! They bring joy into life and seem to be, overall, well worth the effort required. Some of these things are not so great! It is annoying to feel obligated to spend your precious resources on things you really don’t care about. In this book, inspired by “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” Knight offers guidance for how to spend more time, energy, and money on things that bring joy and reduce the amount of resources lost to things that annoy. She breaks this down into two simple steps: deciding not to give a f*ck, and not giving a f*ck. She elaborates on each of these steps extensively, sharing examples from her own life as well as the experiences of anonymous friends, family, and online survey respondents to demonstrate each micro-step of her two-step process. She also describes methods of not giving a f*ck without also being a jerk about it, and emphasizes the importance of honesty and politeness as part of the process. All this leads to the ultimate goal of living your best life.

“The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck” by Sarah Knight is “a practical parody” (it says so right on the cover). Knight acknowledges the impact and inspiration of Marie Kondo’s similarly named book, which shows through in everything from the title to the font and spacing of words on the page. Knight does offer some practical guidance for implementing the practice of Not Giving a F*ck in your own life. Step 1 (deciding not to give a f*ck) consists of making several lists accounting for all the ways in which you spend time, money, and energy in different spheres of your life, such as work, friends, and family. Step 2 consists of countless examples for how to implement Not Giving a F*ck, and doing so with honesty and politeness so as not to be a jerk. While the guide is simple and straightforward, Knight writes with heavy-handed  metaphor, cliché, and sarcasm, which sometimes muddles her explanation to the point where it is difficult to follow. Knight also throws in a couple random and hilarious references to things that make her personal Don’t Give a F*ck list, and includes links so you can check them out yourself. All in all, this book has a light tone to match the Don’t Give a F*ck message.

At times this book was fun to read, and at other times this book was so deep in mixed metaphors that it didn’t make any sense to me. After finishing it, I feel somewhat ambivalent about whether it would have made my “joy” or “annoy” list. It’s pretty quick to read and keeps a snarky tone throughout, but snarky sometimes edged into being crass and careless on occasion. I don’t know that I would read this one again.

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