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The French Art of Not Giving a F*ck The simple secret to true happiness, the French way

The author believes that we have become so bogged down in our search for happiness that we are creating and obeying more and more rules. At first, it would seem (by the title), that we should not bother about any regulations, but should be free and content. However, when we examine the chapters in the book, one realizes that Fabrice has cleverly interwoven strategies for peace and harmony, but discards the rules. There are fifteen chapters in the book, each one starting with F**K. So we have F**k Meditating, F**k Obeying, F**K Being Wise, until the last chapter which is a bit of an eye opener, F**k disciplining your kids.

 The author is concerned that our obsession with performance is poisoning the world. He believes that the current mantra of society is Profitability and Usefulness. And so, even for the simple art of meditation, which he practices regularly, there are no hard and fast rules. His advice is, “You meditate only when you stop trying to meditate.” So, recognising that you are uptight and giving yourself a break, seems to be his way. Meditation is to be seen as a form of Freedom rather than rules and protocols. The author goes on to describe what his thoughts are as he meditates.

 As we pass through the chapters, other pieces of advice are suggested. Why blindly follow rules? Are we just followers, who anticipate orders? Is our main aim not to make any ripples? Interestingly, Fabrice says that we think, “Wisdom is a destination, not a path.” Buddha, Christ and Nelson Mandela were all very human in the way that they responded to life. That is with passion, anger and a desire to promote social change. The getting of wisdom seems cold and disconnected and far from the warmth of reality. Taking a risk is very dangerous for those who seek to be perfect, and coming to terms with the idea of the “best possible “idea, is one we could all think about.

 The final chapter is about disciplining your children. Fabrice acknowledges that children need to grow up learning and obeying rules. As parents, we need to be respectful and benevolent, and engage with our children when a situation arises. “Help them to confront their own life, rather than torturing them to fit yours.”

 Taking time to appreciate nature, and reflect on things that please you, such as music and art, is a way to happiness, as is the ability to have a childlike appreciation of the world around you, without constraints. The author is a Doctor of Philosophy, and the founder of the Western School of Meditation. There are a great many interesting thoughts and ideas in this book, and once the shock value has worn off, many of the ideas are worth exploring. The further readings to support his proposals are interesting, and worth following up.

AuthorFabrice Midal
PublisherAllen and Unwin
DistributorAllen and Unwin
ReleasedDecember 2017