Book Review: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F…udge

The Subtle Art of not giving a f cover

If there was ever a book with a title that a Christian would avoid, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck would be a prime example of it. Fortunately, I’m not afraid of a couple (ok, quite a few) fudge bombs, so I’ve read it, and recommend that you do so too.  

Here’s why 

Contrary to what the title suggests, Mark Mason isn’t an advocate of ambivalence. In fact, he argues the complete opposite throughout the book. To him, building a meaningful life can only be achieved by giving a fudge about very specific things.  

His logic goes like this: we’re made to give a fudge about something. It’s impossible to not give a fudge about anything. The problem is that the things we’re giving a fudge about (and the way we choose to measure it) isn’t healthy.  

In other words – what are the values and the metrics we use to determine if we’re successful in our pursuit of these values. 

The Values – Metrics Analysis of the Fudges You Give 

Everyone has values. Whether you’ve consciously chosen what’s important to you (like honesty) or unconsciously (like wealth), you have developed values.  

Together with these values, you’ve chosen (again consciously or unconsciously) how you measure your values. E.g. being vulnerable in relationships or owning a yacht.  

The first example (honesty) is a good value to build your life on, and your chosen metric (being vulnerable) is something that is within your control every single day.  

The second example (wealth) isn’t a good value to build your life on. Because once you get to the point where you can own a yacht, it still won’t be enough because you can’t afford a private jet.  

These two examples are some of the more obvious ones, but I was challenged on a value that I was pursuing that was making my life a living hell of anxiety.  

In essence, there’s nothing wrong with the value I have (contributing in meaningful ways in the workplace). But my metrics were out of whack (being involved in every meeting, coming up with all the ideas and being the one to execute all the ideas). 

The metrics were driving unhealthy behaviours, and I felt anxious about not measuring up in life. Not a bad revelation to get from a “secular book” that seems facetious, right? 

But wait, there’s more 

The “values and metrics” principle is the principle in the book that really spoke to me. It’s also what I would describe as the heart of the book. A challenge to review why you’re do things the way you are.  

However, there are other chapters in the book that helps realign your world view away from the secular pursuit of what is supposed to be “normal”.  

To give you a glimpse of what I mean, here are the chapter titles: 

  • Happiness is a problem 
  • You are not special 
  • The value of suffering 
  • You are always choosing – one of the sub sections here is titled “Victimhood Chic”  
  • You’re wrong about everything (But so am I) 
  • Failure is the way forward 
  • The Importance of saying no 
  • … And then you die 

As the chapter titles suggests, there are some nuggets o’ truth in there that will be hard to swallow. Fortunately, it’s easy to read, easy to understand and I had a few giggles along the way. It also provides very helpful handles on how to improve your emotional maturity and self-awareness in healthy ways. 

After reading the book, I’ve bookmarked it as one of those that I’ll read again in 2 years’ time because there will be something else that will challenge me at that time.  

If you’re not too keen on the Subtle Art of Giving a Fudge (due to the profanity), try Emotionally Healthy Spirituality: Unleash a Revolution in Your Life in Christ by Peter Scazerro.  

It’s not readily available in South Africa, but again, if you don’t mind an audiobook, you’ll find it on Scribd. If you use my referral link –, you’ll get 2 months free.  

Marcelle Ehlers

I'm a digital marketer by trade, and a Christian by faith. If you were to be a fly on our office wall, you might not believe that I am the latter by the way I cuss. I believe that Jesus blew people's expectations of what God looks out of the water and my hope is that I'll continue this tradition. I also believe that the only Mountain is YHWH. I don't apologise for this part, because I have a deep appreciation and respect for the character of the one true God who saved my life. Over, and over, and over again. Hopefully your beliefs about a cruel, unjust God will be battered to unrecognisable bits as you read the content I create. If it doesn't, please, for the love of all that's good and holy, write it off as uninspired.

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