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Sarah Knight’s “The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**K”: The Good Life and Work Book Review.

Julie’s Verdict: Scientific underpinning 0/10| Usefulness 6/10 | Worth reading for some light hearted advice and a few smiles.

Available from Amazon from £0.99 (for the Kindle Version).

Sarah Knight | “The Life-Changing  Magic of Not Giving a F**K”
Sarah Knight | “The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**K”

Gallup recently surveyed more than 7,500 full-time employees about burnout.  23 percent of those workers said they felt burned out more often than not.  An additional 44 percent reported feeling burned out sometimes. This seems like a shockingly high figure, but in some professions, especially in human service sectors (such as health care and teaching) the experience of burnout is particularly prevalent and figures are reported as being much higher.

Having had my own experience of burnout recently, lots of people have been ready to recommend strategies for coping, the most popular of which has been ‘why don’t you just take some time off work.’ Having previously confessed I suffer with severe Imposter Syndrome, this was never going to be an option for me – ‘what would people think if they knew I couldn’t cope!’

Other recommendations, included doing yoga or practicing mindfulness, the thought of which only added to my stress level, as when would I have time to fit it into my schedule? Then someone recommended Sarah Knight’s, The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**K and though I was reluctant to add another book to my reading list pile, I read the précis on the back cover and decided this was a book that might help me with my problem. Its promise of advice on “how to stop spending time you don’t have with people you don’t like doing things you don’t want to do” sounded just like what I might need.


Who should read “The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**K” by Sarah Knight?

Knight’s writing style is light-hearted and humorous, if you can stand all the f**ks, which are numerous on every page.

You should read this book if you:

  • Are struggling with all the f**ks you currently have to give about 1001 things in your life.

  • Can’t stop saying ‘yes’ to every darned thing anyone ever asks you to do.

  • Regularly spend time, energy and money on things you don’t like doing with people you really don’t care about that much.

I will also make the point this book is clearly targeted to a female audience, many of the anecdotes would probably not resonate with men, though the principles would still apply.


Overview of “The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**K”

Knight advocates some golden rules to reduce the number of f**ks you are required to give on a daily basis. These include:

  • The NotSorry Method – you have the right to politely disagree with or not share someone else’s opinions. Stop caring so much about what other people think.

  • Make a f**k budget. We only have a finite amount of time, energy and money, so only spend them when the result is greater happiness for you.

  • Sort your f**ks into categories (things, work, friends, family), make a list for each and decide what you are no longer going to give your f**ks to. This is a very effective way of detecting those things which you spend time, energy and money on that are not bringing you joy.

  • Once you have your list, take a thick black marker and start scoring through those which you are going to eliminate from your f**k budget. Though the book is generally light on science, this can be likened to visualisation techniques, which psychologists often recommend.

In chapter 3, Knight talks about the holy trinity of time, energy and money and how you can have more of them by ceasing to give so many f**ks. After making my things lists I created the following Venn diagram which immediately highlights areas where I should be able to make some savings.

Sarah Knight’s “The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**K”
Sarah Knight’s “The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**K”

My biggest take away from Sarah Knight’s " The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**K "

Stop caring so much about what other people think and spend your time, energy and money on the things you really care about. You only get to spend them once after all.


What could be better about Sarah Knight’s " The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**K"

This is worth a read for some light hearted and effective advice. However, there is no obvious scientific underpinning (which is something I am prone to look for). Also, though there are exercises in the book to help you work out your priorities in terms of what you should and should not give your f**ks to, it is light on detail when it comes to how you actually stop giving them.

Although the key message of the book has had an impact in terms of my acknowledging I give way too many f**ks about way too many things, it has not really provided me with a satisfying solution to reduce them in number. Unlike our Productivity Labs which use powerful blend of guided discovery and design-thinking, the outcome of which are meaningful micro-experiments that enable you to be more productive, giving you more time and energy for a good life.


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