Men's Health

THE SHADY PAST AND BRIGHT FUTURE OF SELF-HELP’S NEW SUPERSTAR

THERE ARE a lot of reasons to listen to Mark Manson. He has the unvarnished wisdom of a bartender in a fishing town, for one thing. With his 2016 mega best seller, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Manson set out to contradict everything all the other self-help books were saying: “If other self-help books say you’re special, I’m going to write a chapter called ‘You’re Not Special.’ If other self-help books tell you to believe in yourself, I’m going to tell you not to believe in yourself. If other self-help books tell you, ‘Just say yes,’ I’m going to write a chapter that says, ‘Just say no.’”

The Subtle Art has sold more than 6 million copies, and Manson’s recent follow-up, Everything Is F*cked, was on the best-seller list for 13 weeks. His blog, MarkManson.net, boasts more than a million monthly readers, with half a million paid subscribers.

Still, Manson has an aura of approachability. It could be his soft, friendly-looking features, or the way he seems comfortable in every chair, even when he’s onstage. It could be the swearing. At first, I think the fucks sound a little forced, in the context of his latest books’ titles—like a kid who swears because he knows it’s going to get a rise out of his mom. But the curse words become more frequent when Manson is talking passionately about something and less frequent when he’s considering every word. He’s just a swearer.

In his books, Manson, 35, flays himself: in particular, draws heavily on his personal highs and lows. Some moments are funny, and some are unexpectedly gutting, as when he describes his friend Josh’s drowning when Manson was a teenager. “Josh’s death marks the clearest before/after point I can identify

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