When I first saw this title in stores, The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck by Sarah Knight, I was surprised – who in their right mind would go against Marie Kondo’s revolutionary ways?! Once I read the back cover and understood what this book was actually all about, I became very intrigued. It in fact was not going against Kondo’s word, but applying her simplification techniques to our lives and relationships, instead of physical items. I loved this idea, and was eager to get started reading – who doesn’t need a little help spending their time and energy more wisely!
As you can tell, I really thought I would love this book. I’m all about self-improvement and new ways to make the most out of our lives. But when I first started reading, I had a hard time getting into it. My mind kept wandering and I felt like nothing concrete was being said. I hoped that the more I read, the more I would understand what Sarah Knight was trying to say. I really wanted to like this book, so I vowed not to give up.
Unfortunately, it just got worse and worse. I went from not really understanding what was being said, to hating it all. Knight says this book shows you “how to stop spending time you don’t have with people you don’t like doing things you don’t want to do,” and she mentions constantly that there are ways to do this without being an asshole, but most pieces of advice she gave sounded very asshole-y to me. For example, the concept of personal policies. She recommends creating personal policies for yourself to use when something comes up that you don’t give a f*ck about. She gives the situation of donating to Kickstarter campaigns and charities that her friends/acquaintances ask her to donate to. Knight’s response is something along the lines of “I have a personal policy against donating to Kickstarter campaigns, because if I donate to one, I feel like I have to donate to them all…” blah blah blah. Now, the idea of a response like this is fine, and I do agree that it’s a good way to not waste money on causes you don’t care about. But the literal quote that she recommends using (“I have a personal policy against…”) sounds extremely rude and conceited to me.
Knight’s main purpose with this book is to save everyone time, energy, and money. I absolutely agree with the need for that, but I don’t love her method in general. Her advice basically comes down to saying “no” to many things in your life, including conference calls, nights out with friends and baby showers. She focuses on turning down these things while staying polite and honest, but I think her definition of polite is different than mine. Also, it’s a lot harder than she makes it out to be to turn down friend’s parties and say you aren’t available to be in on a conference call at work. Also, it sounds like more people are probably getting their feelings hurt by the things she says than she might think.
I recognize that there may also be the fact that I’m a lot younger than Knight, therefore I’m at the point in my life where saying “yes” more brings me lots of joy. It’s possible that she has spent more of her life being burnt out and working in a corporate job, and is over it all, but I’m younger and still excited for so many opportunities. Maybe this book would resonate more with an older audience, or people with kids and crazy jobs and more obligations. There is one redeeming quote near the end of the book when the author says “…in the heat of the moment, you might find yourself giving an unexpected fuck and it might even bring you joy.” I think Knight might need to take this advice herself more often – not all weddings and karaoke nights are the same, and creating “personal policies” against all of these things sounds very sheltered and shelf-important to me.
Overall, I’m glad I got through this book, if only to have taken a more critical look at how I’m spending my time, money and energy, and become more aware of it. I also will now consider my “f*cks” as physical things, and thing about how and where I’m spending them a little more often.
P.S. Yes, this is a library book… I get most of my books from the library! It’s a great way to save money and the earth at the same time, and I’ve never come across a title they didn’t have 🙂