The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

I learned of Mark Manson through his blog, especially this post, 7 Strange Questions That Help You Find Your Purpose. Since then I have been on and off following his blog. He usually has a lot of good advice, so finally I decided to get his book. Makes it easier to have all information in one place.

I had no idea what Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck was about. It was an impulse purchase, perhaps to support his blog. It turns out to be a really good book. As a semi-regular reader of his blog, I sort of knew what his philosophies were. Still it was good to read everything in one place.

He is not encouraging to not care about anything but to care about things that matter. It is human nature to care. But a lot of us start to worry about things that don’t matter. Sometimes, it is because we have nothing to care about. For example, elderly lady in retirement home who has all her needs met, would get really pissed if her coupon is not accepted at super market because that is all she got.

Sometimes, we care about useless issues because real issues are too hard to deal with. For example, unemployed person may go back to school for their 3rd degree just because they are unable to get a job.

The basic idea is everyone cares about something but is it the right thing. His philosophy is very similar to Stoicism or even Buddhism philosophy.

The book is written well and easy to read. If anything negative, I would say that he is a bit verbose. Some of stories in it dragged on a bit too long. For example, when he was in his principle’s office, it was clear about what was going to happen but he dragged on that scene a bit too much.

Overall, I highly recommend this book especially if you are interested in some sort of self-help book.

The War of Art

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield. It shows up on Hacker’s News and other entrepreneurs’ forums regularly as a recommended reading. Steven Pressfield is a novelist but this book is popular reading for anyone who is pursuing a goal.

The author’s main point is that the most important and the hardest thing is doing. Weather that be sitting down at desk to write a novel or software. Once you are at your desk, or at your office, the hard part is done. This can apply to anything; fitness, painting, photography, etc.

Things that make you the most nervous about doing; are probably the most important things. If these were not important to you, then you would not feel resistance when attempting these things.

One last piece of advice that I really liked was from Bhagwagita. It says that one has no right to their fruit of labor, only their labor. Basically, one should work hard without any expectations of reward. If they are lucky, their work will bring them all kind of rewards such money, fame, respect. But if they don’t get anything in return for their work, then so be it. They should do work for work’s sake and nothing else.


How to Fail at almost Everything & Still Win Big

How to Fail at almost Everything but still Win Big by Scott Adams (affiliate link) comes up on Hackers’ News a lot. Finally, I had a chance to read it.

This is a little different kind of book compared to my regular reads about ultra-successful business titans. I had no idea who Scott Adams was until I heard about this book. He created Dilbert comic. He gave very down to earth perspective on how he achieved success in this book.

Basically, he started various ventures throughout his life including restaurants, websites, etc. Eventually, he started getting traction on his Dilbert comics, so that became his number one focus which led to even more success. He developed passion for comics & art as his comic got more popular and earned him financial success.

The main takeaways for me are try try again, you will fail at most things, passion grows as project grows, and you don’t need to create multi-billion dollars company to be successful.


The Personal MBA

Lately, I have been following /r/financialfreedom. From there someone recommended to read this book. I wasn’t expecting much as I have read many business books but this one is actually really good. It basically summarize ideas and lessons from both business textbooks and popular business books. There is nothing new in it but it is nice to have all this information in one place.

There are a lot of concepts in this book that one can apply to their personal lives too like adopting habits or negotiating purchases.

A good read indeed.


Antifragile was my introduction to Nassim Taleb. A lot of people had recommended this book to me but I could not find time to read it until now. Well I didn’t really read it but listened to it. I finally signed up for Audible. I was never a big fan of audiobooks but they make sense on long treadmill runs or while stuck in traffic. But I have a feeling Nassim Taleb won’t approve of audiobooks. He would probably say that a book should be read with full attention to it not while navigating traffic.

Antifragile is anything, object, individual, or system, that benefits from disorder or stress. The easiest example is muscles in body. Another example might artist since controversy usually end up with more sales for artist.

One thing that bothered me a bit was Nassim Taleb dissing highly educated people. He believes that higher education & highly educated people are just sham. Done only for meaningless abbreviations after name. The real breakthroughs in knowledge, technology, and science come from doers who are trying to solve real problems. On some levels, I agree with him but on other levels I feel doers cannot make progress without progress in theoretical knowledge by Sheldon Coopers.

Overall, definitely a good book. It will challenge, if not change, some viewpoints. It is worth every minute spent reading it (or listening to it).


Reading is good. Leaders tend to be readers.

According to The New York Times, Steve Jobs had an “inexhaustible interest” in William Blake; **Nike founder Phil Knight so reveres his library that in it you have to take off your shoes and bow;** and Harman Industries founder Sidney Harman called poets “the original systems thinkers,” quoting freely from Shakespeare and Tennyson. In Passion & Purpose, David Gergen notes that Carlyle Group founder David Rubenstein reads dozens of books each week.

via For Those Who Want to Lead, Read – John Coleman – Harvard Business Review.

4 Hour Body Lessons Learned

Slow motion workout

The technical term is 5/5 Cadence (5 seconds up, 5 seconds down). I tried this for the first time on Sunday, it is really intense. Momentum is not there to help you. You will feel every part of your muscle throughout the motion.

Weights to workout with

Tim Ferris showed a simple formula to figure out what should be the starting weight to workout with. Simply do regular sets. If you can do 5 rep, wait a minute & then increase the weight by 10lb or 10%. When you fail a set, then take 70% of last 5 rep set and use that weight for slow motion workout. You can figure out weights to use by trial and error. This should prevent injuries or wasted time.

The other part of choosing weights is to monitor progress. Every time to you finish a set with 7 reps, next time increase weight by 10% or 10lb.

Rest Days

I never knew importance of rest days until I read it in this book. Basically, your muscle grow during rest period. I used to workout everyday & not really gain any muscle.

Cat Vomit abs workout

You basically exhale as deeply as you can, hold for 10 seconds and then inhale. Repeat 10 times.

Do not drink calories

Not drinking calories is easy. Sweet stuff is disgusting anyways.

Bike Shed Effect

This is one of the best advice in the book. Basically, if you say you are building a nuclear power plant, no will tell you how to build it. If you tell them, you are building a bike shed, everyone will tell you how to do it even if they never build it.

Same thing happen when working out & eating healthy. Everyone thinks they know the best way of eating & working out. Ignore them.

I really enjoy this book & learned many more ideas. Highly recommended.

Learning: Implicit vs Explicit

I just read “The Art of Failure” by Malcom Gladwell, a short article in “What the Dog Saw.”

Do you know there are two types of learning? Explicit is when you are learning something new by taking instruction. For example, taking tennis lessons, initially you will learn different strokes, when to use them, etc.

At the same time you are learning subconsciously. This is Implicit learning. A different part  of your brain is involved in implicit learning. Implicit learning will make tennis your second nature. Only way to learn implicitly is by experience, in other words, by playing a lot of tennis. Once you learn something implicitly, you can turn off thinking while doing it. Or once you gain enough experience in tennis, you will just play, your movements will be smooth & you wont think about which stroke to use .

What really interests me is that when you are under pressure or stress, your brain will turnoff subconscious. So everything you learned subconsciously or implicitly wont be available for you now that you need it most. Your brain cannot afford any mistake, so it goes back to your first tennis lessons. Your brain wants to be in 100% control. Explicit system takes over and you will think about every little detail. For example, playing tennis in a tournament or taking an exam. When this happens most people don’t do well or they choke.

Win a little everyday or lose a little everyday

Just read Malcolm Gladwell’s article on Nasim Taleb in What the Dog Saw.

It basically talked about 2 different investing strategies & psychology behind them. Most people prefer to win a little everyday even if their investing strategy exposes them to lose everything in a day. Nasim Taleb has figured out how to make money by losing a little everyday but making a fortunate in a day. He is basically making a bet on the world being a lot more unpredictable than predictable.

The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives by Leonard Mlodinow

It was a good book. As a math geek, I knew most of concept or theories presented in book but never applied those concepts in real life. It def. changed my views on many subjects in life. Some parts of book were too boring. I had to struggle to keep reading a few pages. Don’t get me wrong explaining a math formula in plain English is no easy task. But I would have loved to see a formula written in one line, instead of reading a paragraph. I loved the first & the last chapters. This book will help you realize that most things in life are not what they seem. Success has a lot to do with luck. Yes hard work is important but so does the factors beyond our control. Basically if you want to succeed, you have to be ready for many failures. My favorite quote from the book was by Thomas Watson, “If you want to succeed, you have to double your failure rate.”

Get it from The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives