Subtle art of not giving a f* (Summary and reflection)

It took me exactly a week to finish this book and initially I thought that this book was not something that I would be interested in. However, I decided to change it up and give this book a go and I must say that I don’t regret it at all despite it is not a “financial” book as it has allowed me to take a deeper reflection in my life and my actions thus far.

Brief summary and reflection

Backwards law: The pursuit of positive experience is itself a negative experience and acceptance of negative experience is itself a positive experience.

  • This made me ponder on how many times I have been in a negative experience be it school or relationship and still try to look to find a hint of positivity within it instead of accepting that it was a negative experience and move on from it
  • The author gave an example that if you desperately want to be happy then the lonelier you will feel.
  • What I have learnt from this is to accept all the negative experience, look back on what has already happened and see how I can learn from it to be a better human being.

Worried about what others think about you or are you always worried about how much money you have left?

  • The issue here is that you don’t have better things to worry about.
  • This made me dive deeper into my thoughts, have you ever had this experience where you talked to someone and the next time you see them, they act like they have never met you?
  • This made me think what have I done wrong? What I could have done better?
  • The endless thoughts sometimes eats you up and this part made me realised that it is maybe I don’t have anything better to worry about.
  • My strategy: the next time endless negative thoughts pop ups, I will ask myself if this affects my future career, loved ones, studies, or investment goals. If it does not, then this is not something that I should place to much emphasis on.

Negative emotions help us as they are signals for you do something and if you are training yourself to ignore it them, you are limiting yourself. (I see it as limitations to personal growth)

  • These negative emotions are signals that we have challenges that we need to overcome.
  • How many times have you experience a negative emotion and brush it off only for it to resurface again and the cycle continues.
  • Reflection: Next time when I experience negative emotion, cool if off, look at it again when I am calmer and ask myself if this is something that I need to work on? Is it affecting my loved ones, career, studies, and investment? If no, then I will find try to find another problem to worry about.  

Happiness comes from solving problems

  • This is important as not all problems are worth solving and that’s why it is important to have goals and ask yourself if the problem you are solving brings you closer to that goal? If not, why are you doing it?

You are not special, nobody is!

  • Many times, people feel that they are awesome and the rest are incomparable to them hence they deserve some sort of special treatment without working for it which is a form of entitlement.
  • On the flip side, there are people who feel that their negative circumstances are worse off than everyone else and expects everyone to give them special treatment
  • Reflection: Sometimes when I get really good grades or when I made a really good investment, I would feel as though I am on top of the world. But the reality is, I need to be more objective and look at my past failures as well and tell myself that I am not that special after all.
  • Reflection: This is really important as it helps me to stay grounded and down to earth.

We should all struggle for something to make life meaningful

  • The author gave an example of how a Japanese soldier fought for 20 or 30 years past WW2 thinking that it was still going on and when he returned to back home, he realised that the Japan he was fighting for has changed.
  • He begun to question himself that all these years what has he been fighting for?
  • Reflection: If your struggles aligns with your values and goals then yes it is worth the struggle, if not, why should you bother?


  • It is not your fault then something negative happened, but it is absolutely your responsibility to determine how you would respond to it
  • Reflection: Sometimes or rather most of the time, life is unfair. It is important to not feel entitled to anything and be responsible for your own actions.

If you don’t know what to do, just do something!

  • Do something when you don’t know anything is key and I can relate to this as many times during exams where the clock is ticking, I don’t really have the luxury of taking my time to process through things so the only thing I can do is to keep thinking and keep working on the problem and usually eventually something will pop out!  

Importance of saying no

  • I feel that this is especially important, and this applies to me. Sometimes in the face of peer pressure you will do things that you may regret in the future.
  • I absolutely dislike it when people pressure you to pay for something for their own benefit. This always hits me hard and yes this is something that I choose to care about because it will affect my investment targets.
  • But however, I have still gotten swayed away a few times and did it anyway. This is still something that I need to work on. Saying no to things that I am uncomfortable with, and I believe that I am slowly improving in this aspect will continue to do so.
  • But having said that, it is always important to learn to relax your finances on people who are worth it, and I never had an issue with being generous with close ones. So, like the previous point, you have got to pick your struggles.

Commitment itself is freedom

  • Wait what? Is it truly freedom when you can’t freely roam around and explore other choices?
  • To a certain extent, yes! Let me put it into context, if you were to commit your life to someone special, you don’t have to care about who to date, what is your type of partner and etc. All you need to do is to focus on one which is also a form of freedom.

That’s the end of all the summary and it is definitely not as brief as I would like it to be but I believe that this is a good summary. Hopefully when I look back at this a few years from now, I would have made some significant improvements on myself.

Once again, thank you for sticking till the end. Stay safe!

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