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[flagged] The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Book Rooted in Buddhism? (rabbitholesummaries.com)
57 points by burritofanatic 9 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 48 comments

Short dumb article.

"As of this writing, Manson’s book is currently Amazon’s second best non-fiction most read"

I guess the author gets a kick back for everyone that buys this book based off the link.

It's taken me ten years to realize that amazon.com is nothing but a crappy marketing machine selling you stuff you have no need for. If you want something interesting, buy from a local bookstore (or hardware store or whatever else amazon.com is destroying). It's essentially destroying our ability to exist without it.

N.B. I say this about amazon.com specifically. AWS is great. Provides something that didn't exist before, and great competition for Microsoft, Google, and whomever else is now in that market.

I just don't like how amazon.com killed local.

There's a mom and pop hardware store in my town that has a sign hanging in their window: "Cash only. No refunds - we are not Home Depot".

Guess where I go to buy my hardware?

I shop where it's convenient for me to shop. Whether that's Home Depot or Amazon. If the local stores want my business they need to make it worth my while. If Amazon puts local stores out of business because they offer superior service, so be it.

I've always been shocked that retail works as well as it does in America with such weak consumer laws. Writing "no refunds" in Australia makes no difference to your consumer rights [1]

1: https://www.accc.gov.au/consumers/consumer-rights-guarantees...

Maybe in the last year I've become a bit anti-establishment. But seriously, I think of all this stuff now as something verging on "addiction". Amazon pushing their junk, google pushing their whatever that collects your data, big oil pushing "power".... Convenience is one thing, but I find myself frequently questioning now, at what cost?

You are on to something, but I think it needs more refinement and analysis.

To me, it seems the root of your concern is whether there are dangerous or negative long-term effects on society caused by this immense centralization of activity and power that we see with Amazon and other tech giants.

I don't think that personally subsidizing local merchants does much, though. Once the problem is better understood, there are likely better approaches.

IMHO I think one problem is ecommerce in general creating more convenient ways for us to spend money, first by optimizing our purchases on the web (Amazon 1-Click), bringing this optimizations back to brick & mortar (Amazon Go) and who knows what else.

But is increasing the quantity and frequency of consumer spending really necessary? These tactics may help businesses meet their end-of-quarter goals but along the way more people are drowning in debt and shit they don’t need.

It's not Amazons fault that consumers purchase things they don't need or can't really afford. I really dislike how everything is always someone's else fault. I'm fat because Mc'ds made me that way. I am broke because the evil corporations keep making me buy stuff.

If you want to live a minimal life (and you really should) more power to you but if the smiths wont to live pay check to pay check drowning in debt that's their problem.

I am not trying to come off argumentative to your statement but business offer services that people want. If they don't they go out of business. Responsibility is SOLELY on the individual not the people offering good's and services.

OBVIOUSLY i am talking about business acting in a lawful manner and only talking about discretionary spending.

And the weird thing is, even with all this new easy way of buying stuff you don't need, wages have been stagnant for the last 15 years. Something isn't adding up.

There's eBay to sell their shit.

There was a shortage of everything when I was a kid (not in US), so having everything in abundance is a huge plus for me.

"Society" can do whatever it wants. I just feel better when buying something is a conscious effort. Not click-click-click-sold. But it took me several years to recognize this. I think if more people sat and thought about it, they'd come to the same conclusion. Not everyone, but many.

There are also place like Frager's Hardware in DC [0]. They're really crammed full of stuff and cluttered. But you can walk in and ask for essentially anything and they'll come out of a back room with a box full of it.

The Mom and Pop stores need to emulate that to keep up... which takes a lot of time and effort (e.g., "Locally owned and operated since 1920.")

[0] http://www.fragersdc.com/

I first became aware of these sorts of books through airport bookstores. There is a rack of bestsellers in each one that I have been to (I don't fly often). Easy reads, many of them written by reporters and a well fitting impulse buy for people who may have nothing to do but sit and wait for hours. As the sales ratchet up, Amazon will do the same as these bookstores. Premium eyeball space gets allocated to these books.

The books may or may not be junk. Your assessment of them is based on other objects which share certain characteristics. The books you feel are high quality share the characteristics of "book" but that doesn't mean they are in the same category to be judged together. If these books were instead called "magazines" (which have similar characteristics) then we wouldn't be comparing them to the higher quality books.

The internet enabled Amazon and it has also supercharged my ability to do further research to distinguish between good books and trash. I also prefer buying things shipped from out of sight warehouses rather than chains of big box stores.

Has Amazon really changed anything? Of every output from this world, probably most things are junk and a small percentage is valuable. The things I create is probably the same. Only rarely do I come up with something amazing. Note: we probably have to restrict this to idea space. The Iphone represents a huge ball of outputs from the army of people who are involved in creating them, but the idea space which created the Iphone was probably a drop in the ocean of bad ideas.

> I just don't like how amazon.com killed local.

If it hadn't been Amazon it would have been InsertOtherNameHere. Amazon didn't kill local, consumers did. Capitalism sometimes sucks for those who swim against the main stream.

That's exactly what I'm saying. What ever happened to going against the stream?

Well at least you have enough self-awareness to realize your opinions aren't widely shared. I for one will keep shopping on Amazon :)

Very true. I would also say it's more that technology reached a sophistication level where Amazon is possible. Of course, having an open marketplace is a prerequisite.

Protecting the environment used to be quite against the capitalist mainstream and even today getting anything done is like pulling teeth. We absolutely need people swimming against the stream or we'll pay the price. Of course, I'm a hypocrite for not doing anything myself.

Well yeah, but that's another topic entirely. Especially that Amazon is probably more eco friendly than local retail.

All of these topics are related because they all tie into the problems caused by increased consumption that is encouraged by the mainstream way of living.

To take the example you've just mentioned, while Amazon may be more eco-friendly per transaction, as a whole it encourages much more consumption through the convenience the service brings. Somewhat similar to the Jevons paradox.

The point is that the cost of the mainstream tends to be distributed in a long term and systemic way, (for instance Amazon becoming an extraordinarily powerful monopoly, or the environment slowly reaching a critical threshold) which makes preventing them necessary but extremely difficult to do. Not to mention that the advantages of our system are also undeniable and more visible.

> I just don't like how amazon.com killed local.

I have a love/hate relationship with this statement.

As a citizen, I don't like all of the local jobs that get lost when Amazon/Walmart/etc. wipe out local stores.

As a consumer, most local stores in small towns invoke an ire that could power a small sun. A local auto dealer accidentally smashed the back passenger door window while doing a repair. Okay, shrug, shit happens. Fine, I'll be back to pick up the car tomorrow afternoon then.

"Um, we can't that window until late next week."

Huhwut? I'm getting kind of angry at this point because I'm almost certain that isn't true. However, I inquire, probably a bit brusquely, as to what the issue is. And receive some excuse about it being out of stock in the warehouses. Um, are you sure? Because my next step is to call the warehouse.

"Well, it's in stock in the warehouse, but we'd have to pay a $20 fee to get it couriered any faster than our normal inventory shipment."

Of course, at this moment I went non-linear. And pulled $20 out of my wallet and growled "Get ... the damn ... part. TOMORROW!"

Unfortunately, this is the kind of consumer non-service I now expect from any business in a small town.

Crazy, I kinda regret this whole thread, because this is absolutely true. Still though, perhaps the unappealingness of this is a silver lining, in that it disincentivizes buying stuff. Granted it's a stretch. Far more palatable to hippie barefooters (like myself) than to workaday parents that just have to get their kids to daycare in the morning (like myself in a couple hours).

Yeah, definitely worth an up vote. However, I'm afraid that bookstore / hardware store is selling you crap you don't need either.

Very good point! :) But at least there's a pretense of human interaction. Though really it often turns out to be real. An actual person that likes the book, that you can interact with. Or a clerk that says "Dude you're only going to use this one time ever; I'll lend it to you." It happens.

I'll do what I want. Fuck off.

How rude.



I'm sure buying my $30 inflatable raft at Bob's Outdoor instead of Amazon will save my "soul." That's what I've been doing wrong all this time.

Not to get all Buddhist or whatever on you, but yeah, I think the experience of going out and at least putting in the minimal effort of picking something out in a physical store and carting it home, increases your appreciation of that item. Letting yourself be whatevered by Amazon's whatevering algorithms and click-click-click, is this even the life that you thought you wanted, or is it just Amazon trying to sell you stuff?

Hmm, my experience doesn't tally with this "clickety-click and done" business.

Living in London, I tend to follow one of two patterns. Either go to a part of town known for some large department stores, eventually navigate to the right bit, and pick the option that's most appealing from the smallish selection on offer. Assuming they have anything to choose from... There's a famous place that I now refer to as "Never Knowingly Stocked".

With the Amazon option, I've already tried several search terms to get an idea of what's available. I look at sales rank, and click on the link for "best sellers in category". I have a few browser tabs open for different product options. I read reviews... three stars first, then work my way up. (I seldom bother with the one-star reviews, because you have to filter out the batteries-upside-down no-hopers). I usually have a tape measure handy if I want to double-check dimensions. When the choice has been whittled down to two or three alternatives in their own browser tabs, I'll have a quick look on YouTube to see if there are any reviews, and to get a feel for how it operates in practice. Finally, I might have a quick check on eBay to see if a cheaper price or quicker delivery is possible.

If anything I think I'm putting more effort in, spending a similar amount of time as the trek to Oxford Street would take, but arguably sourcing better stuff.

Well, at least Bob's Outdoor wouldn't bombard your browser with "Come check out more of our rafts!" ads for the next month.

You got a laugh out of me 8-)

> I guess the author gets a kick back for everyone that buys this book based off the link.

They're also selling their own "Rabbit Hole Summary" of it, which I'm guess is like a Cliffnotes version. But if it's as terribly written as this article...

Thoughts on how to find people who will pay for curation, and also convince them that paying a higher price for any given item as a "discovery fee" is something they want to support?

Other than the obvious convenience that Amazon has delivered on, what the demise of local stores tells me is that the vast majority of the population is perfectly happy buying the default vanilla options. They aren't looking for a novel, intriguing, unexpected thing. They're happy just reading NYT Bestsellers, so if we want unique things to thrive/survive, the people who care about those things are going to have to go out of their way to support people who can deliver on that.

There are actually more high-curation specialty stores than there ever have been, but they're almost all online. I've seen online stores that only sell wall sconces, wax seals (the kind medieval kings used to use), coping saws, and all other kinds of weird concepts that can only exist in e-commerce. As far as books, it's easier than ever to distribute a niche book, although the marketing costs to stand out above the noise are higher than previously, since so much gets published.

I read a few pages of this book. It reads as though it was written by a 15 year old. I'm shocked by it success - it felt like a collection of youtube comments that had been corrected for punctuation and spelling and ordered into chapters.

i just heard him doing the podcast rounds. this guy has spent the last ten years being a "content creator" churning out thousands of words a day aimed at the mass market. You're shocked that it has mass market success? He's done his 10,000 hours. It doesn't cater to you but that's almost by design.

To play devil's advocate: couldn't simple writing be seen as "good UX?"

I haven't thought about this much, but I'm sure copywriters, (etc.) have.

I don't think that the OP meant that it was so nice and simple that it was a breeze to read. I think OP meant that it felt like a bunch of r/im13andthisisdeep posts.

Your comment triggered me to google around for a sample. All I can say is that I wish more youtube comments were written like this.

Sample here: https://www.overdrive.com/media/2534908/the-subtle-art-of-no... (click "read a sample" on the left)

I read the entire book and was disappointed as well. Little content (even taking into account the low number of pages), and very non-profound. I'm amazed at its success as well.

My heuristic for this kind of thing is: Subject is "how to be happy" and "is for sale" then "complete bullshit". By selling something you are, by definition, giving a fuck, so how can anyone take this seriously? I think some people have some really good advice for being happy and I don't think those people have any interest in putting that advice behind a paywall. Problem is, it's harder to find because they don't have an advertising agent.

I'm sorry but how is this relevant? How does this interest a hacker? I am of the opinion that this submission does not belong on the frontpage of Hacker News. The submission guideline says: "anything that gratifies one's intellectual curiosity." The title of the submission satisfies this claim. For me -- and reading the comments for others as well -- that's where it stops.

My issue is with the content. The book is summarized within 2 paragraphs which I personally don't find too interesting, but OK, maybe other people do.

But when I read something like this:

> Buddhism is hardly mainstream in Western culture – most would think of Asian monks or those who Kung-fu while wearing robes. Buddhism is a lot of things, but one way of looking at it is to see it as a belief system for contentment.

And I think of the HN crowd and how many people here have some idea about meditation or Buddhism I just find the article below mediocre at best.

It then gives a very very very -- 1 paragraph or 2 -- short primer on Buddhism and then does 2 other paragraphs tying in how Buddhism corresponds to the book.

Paragraphs like: > What’s insightful about Manson’s treatment is his ability to tie in the issues with practical psychology, and biology as it relates to survival. This is apparent when he makes the argument that emotions are overrated.

Manson may have written it insightful, but the author of the blog post doesn't show me how it is insightful. Buddhism itself -- especially modern texts -- are in fact already practical psychology, (pseudo-)biology and survival. This is nothing new.

I find that there's very little meat here. If I may suggest a more interesting thing about Buddhism, survival and biology, then read Chade-Meng Tans blog and buy the book Search Inside Yourself. Here is a simple example blog post: http://chademeng.com/me/how-the-dalai-lama-surprised-me-agai...

Note: I'm just voicing my opinion. I'm not asking for the content to be removed, I'd have flagged it otherwise but I respect the submission and the idea that my view of what should or should not be posted on HN differs from other people their views.

P.S. I personally find the blog of the person who submitted it more interesting: http://www.williamha.com/ -- I mean no harm, I'm just genuinely surprised and maybe I'm venting a little, my apologies.

It's on the front page because it got voted there by the audience of readers on hacker news, thus it is relevant. QED.

True, that is how it got to the front page. But the guidelines aren't read by everyone and, even if they were, no one is perfect and even the most abiding of HN users will forget the ideals occasionally, especially when drinking alcoholic beverages. If this forum doesn't have constraints, what's the point?

This seems well within "anything that gratifies one's intellectual curiosity".

Did anyone notice this submission is from a blog with exactly one article? No author, no additional info on the page.

Hosted on bluehost, amazon affiliate id wilha-20... great that this bubbles up.

Apart from that: I read the book earlier this year and had some good laughs. Nothing new, but really well written. I think this is what people need these days. Better this than have them watch/read another "The Secret".

I bought this book, the author became famous after writing 1 famous blog post, about "Giving less f*cks". Now he has turned this into an entire book and it reads more like a self-help therapeutic diary from a troubled soul than anything else.

I don't know why it's getting so much traction, it's really quite poor in content, writing style (and skill) and full with filler material.

It could not be any lamer.

He has a bunch high-level-also-book-publishing-friends, who are helping out with a massive amount of marketing, it seems.

It's a great example of a poor product, marketed the heck out of it.

Shameless Plug: For those, who'd like to read summaries I made https://summarybrew.com

If anyone does visit, please let me know of your experience.

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