cover image Everything Is F*cked: A Book About Hope

Everything Is F*cked: A Book About Hope

Mark Manson. Harper, $26.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-06-288843-3

Manson follows up his bestseller The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck with this equally irreverent and inspiring work on hopefulness. “Our psyche needs hope the way a fish needs water,” he opines, adding that “hopelessness is the root of all anxiety, mental illness and depression.” In order to build and maintain hope, he writes, three things are required: a sense of control, belief in the value of something, and community. Manson argues that each person has a thinking brain (one that is conscientious, accurate, and impartial), as well as a feeling brain (one based on emotion), and that one’s emotions are truly in control of everything. Learning how to navigate the relationship between emotional response and action, he says, is the key. He believes that people have been conditioned to feel anxious by the pace of progress, but that if a sense of control can be re-formed, then hope will come. As a (rather tongue-in-cheek) example, he suggests that readers start their own religion, a practice involving large amounts of control, strong values, and a community. After spending the first half of his book explaining the importance of hope, Manson uses the second half to explore the horror of a world without hope, where people feel disconnected and undervalued, and terror attacks and the threat of climate change are but two worrisome global trends. This smart work should appeal to any anxious reader looking to cultivate strategies for optimism. (May)