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G&F Book Club: Chapter 2

G&F's book club covered Mark Manson's The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck in the second meeting, this time organized by Taylor.



Why The Subtle Art?

The Subtle Art is a book that is focused on helping people prioritize their problems, understanding their values, and understanding what is going to make them (un)happy. Manson looks at life from the somewhat cynical position that life is a never ending series of problems, and we are unable to care about every single problem in the world without getting worn down. However, we can find problems that we enjoy or find satisfaction in solving, and we can then focus on and care more about those problems, not the ones that don't actually matter in the long run.

“What determines your success isn't 'What do you want to enjoy?' The relevant question is 'What pain do you want to sustain?'"- M. Manson, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

The Takeaways

Everyone generally enjoyed the book, including Manson's entertaining writing and anecdotes. His specific writing style was a little overplayed by the end of the book, but it is in the name of the book! The Subtle Art did seem to be more of an introductory book into self help and self assessment than others, and offered few actual tools for self learning. It seemed to be more of an engaging narrative of what Manson has uncovered through his varied life, summarized for the readers to take away lessons from.


This book, while more entertainment focused than the previous (7 Habits of Highly Effective People), still echoed some of the same viewpoints. Both discussed focusing and prioritizing on things that are within your control and trying to minimize your concerns with the remaining items. Another key point was that the problems we choose to solve are based on the values we have. This echoed 7 Habits in terms of evaluating and determining our principles in life and evaluating our choices against them continually. We all have problems in life, but if we can find problems that align with our values, we will be happier and more satisfied in general when we solve them.


Manson also focused on becoming an expert at specific items, and being ok with being average at most things. Humans as a whole society have specialized, such as into structural, mechanical, electrical, and site engineering and architecture, but we do so even at a small business level, with separate positions for drafting, design, and leadership based on skill and experience. This translates to our personal lives as well, where we all have abilities in some areas and not in others. The key focus was to recognize that we should try to become an expert in what we choose, such as structural engineering, rather than trying to be an expert at everything and failing at all of them.


The allocation of fault and responsibility was an interesting discussion point as well. We often become responsible for things in our life, whether those things are our fault or not. This is something that is very useful to remember when striving for successful teamwork; a decision outside of our control may cause a problem for our designs, which is not our "fault", but it is still our responsibility as professionals to provide useful and beneficial solutions.


G&F Book Club: Chapter 3

The next book we will be taking a look at will be Jeff Sutherland's Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time. This book is focused on the project management system of the Scrum pioneered by Jeff Sutherland, Ken Schwaber, and Mike Beedle, which is aimed at improving productivity, improving happiness and satisfaction, and providing better product outcomes. Dylan will be taking a lead on the discussion points for Chapter 3 in December to see what we may be able to bring forward in our structural engineering practice!


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