Books, NFTs And The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck | Interview w/ Mark Manson

January 15, 2022

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Today’s episode is an interview with @MarkManson, the #1 NY Times Bestselling author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. In this episode, we talk about Mark’s success as a writer, the relationship between books & NFTs, our experiences with Web2 and Web3, and our vision about the NFT Market. Enjoy!

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this is the gary vee audio experience

The incarnation. What is good? We are back on the podcast 2022, I'm really not planning on doing too many interviews or episode, I'm kind of, I'm focused on the friends and banner X. I think the speaking the books, even the content, I'm down to the lowest levels this week in seven or eight years. But when I get an opportunity to do a show where I think, um, all of you who are listening are going to really enjoy the combo or have wanted to see the combo. Um, I've definitely heard through my, um, through my navigating of the world that people wanted Mark and I to interact or how would be jam. Um, and I'm really excited that he's on the show, so I'm gonna let him introduce himself and how he likes to speak about himself. Uh, I'm curious myself and then we'll get into a little bit of like book life because he's a beast and then maybe just shoot the ship on a bunch of different stuff. So Mark, how are you?

I'm great man. It's great to be here. I can't believe we've actually never talked before.

The amount of, you know, there's people like you and there's probably 15 other people over the last decade that, you know how like, it's almost like a neighbor you have, you've never talked about your head nod. You know, like I've always felt that I had these kind of like people that ran in similar circles shared friends and it was just sheer serendipity that we weren't at the same conference at the same event that you know, that that if we met seven years ago at a South by Southwest, we would talk 13 times a year versus not once for seven, you know, like it's one of those kind of things, it's actually when Kobe Bryant passed, I actually promised myself to slightly do a better job, I've done a little bit of a better job with it, but I'm such a mad scientist in my lab, my family, which is my real life and then professionally, my, my laboratory and my crew around my laboratory, cheer and cheer and root for everybody on the outside, but spend so little time on it. So I find myself in these predicaments where but but I I want to be a little more thoughtful because I definitely feel like I've always loved the way people talked about you and that no, you that know me, so I'm happy we're here.

Yeah, me too, man, thanks. Um so quick, quick intro um I'm actually From the blogging world, I started blogging in 07. Actually discovered you back in like 09 2010 basically blew my career up going viral on facebook and twitter back in the day, back when you kind of could go viral on facebook twitter um grew a massive audience, millions of readers each month parlayed that into a publishing deal. Books did super well have sold about 15 million books

numbers. How many have you written?

Uh 4, 1 self published, and then three conventionally published. Mhm. Um The last one was I did uh co wrote Will smith's memoir with him and came out a couple months ago, and what

was the experience, what was experiencing in co writing?

You know, i with him, it was great. Um I don't really aspire to be a memoirist or or a ghost writer or anything like that, it's just

he was just he was cool enough and that was the whole thing was cool enough to do.

He he and I really hit it off and I think he did

you did you come across brad Haugen in his world and he's on the production, did he did that name? I think he works with some of the contents, a good friend of mine anyway, keep going.

Um But yeah, I mean, he he and I like he was in the right spot in his career to do the book, what I would call correctly, you know, which is like actually open up and actually get into kind of, the ugly parts of his life and then I think he and I just like on a personal level, our our skills and personalities complemented each other really well, so that ended up and I mean I'm a nineties kid, so

I get suckered into things all the time. Yeah, but

honestly, I mean it was such a great experience, but it's funny because I mean now now that that book is done so well, you know, I've talked to my agent, she's like, you know, other celebrity is gonna want to do stuff and and people are gonna reach out and like, you know, I don't I don't know, actually, like, I don't know if that's something I really want to focus on.

So it sounds horrible

if I think if you don't have the right person or if there's not a good chemistry, I think it would be horrible.

Yeah, It's kind of like the way I think about Vader media, like clients, like, it actually is hard when I talk about eating ship. I don't think people really understand, like, like, having, when you're creative, having somebody to cooks in the kitchen is incredibly challenging. It's not that it's horrible. I use that as a slang term for a man that you want to say serendipitous and the person wants to say, you know, by chance, like, you know, I I love my art of being a content producer and being a businessman and have absolutely with my father, my brother, you know, especially when it's family, like that had challenges when, you know, I knew what I wanted to do was right, but I wanted to be empathetic or have compromising capabilities or, you know, and

and it's and it's there obviously there were moments where it's like, there were certain things that I felt should be in the book, or certain directions. I thought certain chapters should go and it's at the end of the day, it's his book book, you know, so

it's good for you to have like some, because some people, some people with no leverage and juice aren't great at having that humility. You came in with some real front facing consumer leverage. You're, you know, obviously the reason so many people have brought you up to me is because I say the word fuck so much and you obviously, you know, it's such a

dumb dumb reason for people to associate us,

but it's incredibly fair actually. I've got more than a couple of people asked me through the years, probably five, which is a lot. If you think about it, hey, are you pissed? He wrote that book. Like I'm like, no, I'm pumped. He wrote that book. I was like, I'm like, you know, um, not from like that more like they just really think there was a lot of crossover of beliefs and then obviously the word funk, I think actually just to go right into it because there's so many marketing branding concept people, you have two books with that in it. I'm sorry, I have a cough everybody. Um, sorry if this hurts the podcast a little bit. Do you think like the brilliance of what tim Ferriss did. I met Tim around that time as well. We were all kind of running around those, you know, and he ran google adwords to figure out which title would work.

Yeah. You know obviously, you know, Ryan holiday and others, I watch how people navigate. Do you think the that in the title had real impact, no impact, some impact,

real impact for sure. I mean, so that book, you know, you mentioned that tim Ferriss thing running adwords to figure out four hour work week. A lot of subtle art was very much market tested through blogs. So there

you knew what was working?

Absolutely. And that that that title. So I originally started writing that book with a different title and then I wrote an article called the subtle art of not giving a fun and it went fucking bananas and I was like, oh shit, okay, maybe this should be the book, right? Um so there there are a lot of sections in that book that grew out of viral blog posts. You know, it's like, I know this works, I know this like gets people

Yeah. Um let me ask you a question. Um I want the for the people listening, what is the one, 2, 3 sentence recap of the subtle art of not giving a funk. The 2016 book that went bananas

basically. It's I always joke that that it's a book about values. But you know, if I, if I told people it was a book about values, nobody would read it. So you gotta put in the title and kind of trick people into

it. But I mean, I mean you just you you do realize you just completely in two sentences recapped my entire career. I would argue for human two seconds. Here's the thing, the amount of ship I eat

here. Here's the thing man. And and I think you you and I landed in the spot for the same reason because you you and I live and breathe and eat and sleep the the online social media world and what you quickly discover when you're in that world is that there's an infinite amount of stuff out there. And so if you don't figure out, like if you don't discover values to sort that stuff, if you don't figure out the principles of like this is what matters to me, this is what's important to me and this is just crap that I'm gonna ignore. You're gonna drown. And I I quickly just, you know, coming from a self help angle, um I quickly discovered that a lot of my generation's problems, a lot of the anxiety and depression and stress that my generation goes through. It comes from just not figuring out what those values are, what what are the sorting mechanisms in your

life And then when you don't have your own, you're grabbing onto people's totally grabbing two others, you're completely succumbing to um outside affirmation and the second you are living for outside affirmation, it's game over. You know, it's funny, I remember seeing the book in the in the airports because I'm always in the airports right? And and it grabbed me to like every other human and I remember feeling a huge, you know, I do to my community famously talked about how little I read, but I remember feeling an incredible kinship just entitled I also believe so much of the world's problems is headline reading and making assumptions, so which is like I selfishly asked you that question right now for my own self, but I really do believe that getting into a comfort zone of understanding the following, do the people that know me the best, like me. Mhm and do the people that know me the least have a chance of liking you're not liking me is a very simple framework that can help. I mean I every day I get accused of things that are not true, get negativity thrown at me and I'm pretty positive communicate like I'm trying to, you know, but I have a style that I think rubs people the conviction and the confidence and the, you know, the competitiveness, like I get it, I understand why it lands like that. I also think like Alpha male energy timing is a little awkward and I'm empathetic to that those are macro trends, but everything that makes it palpable, that not giving a fun, of course I care, but it's it's having a structure of understanding No, no, but but do the people that know me like me and then as you get further away, does it still stay as good? Like strangers thinking that I'm a charlatan makes sense. 13 2nd clip on the video, you know, You know, but my mom thinking that that's devastating and I think there's a lot to that that I think a lot about,

well it's also just the world that we live in now, right? Like it's, we're exposed to so many other people all the time and so many other people are exposed to us that it's, it's unreasonable to think that everybody who comes across he was gonna like you.

But I think, but I think there's a bigger thing that I love your thoughts on this. I think we're also in the explosion of popular culture judgment and and pushing away as fast as we can any level of accountability. So judging is on fire and accountability. Everyone's running away from pointing fingers. Super fun popularized point grabbing thumbs devastating nobody wants to do it thoughts

Absolutely. I want one thing I wrote about when the pandemic started was like, I feel like people have this addiction to like moral righteousness. Like it's it's actually becoming a problem. Like I think we should become not less moral, but like more Amoral, like like withhold judgment on like what is actually good and evil

because it's because you're the judge when you're the judge and the jury it's a game of opinions outside of the things that most common sense nice human beings can agree on. I don't think anybody is on the side of murder.

Yeah, of course. But it's I think you know, it's so easy to pass judgment like moral judgment on people or groups of people today and there's so little repercussions and I think that that is like we've just kind of we've got this like crack addiction to moral righteousness as a

culture. Well it makes you feel better consequences. Yeah, I think to your point man, we're gonna really nerd out on this. I think it's it's an indicator of more collective unhappiness because I think we're in a bigger game of outside validation because when you're unhappy, the trigger of tearing somebody else's building down is an endorphin and maybe not a dwarf, maybe I'm using is a hit emotionally for you that helps you prop up in the short term. Yeah. And so, you know, it speaks to, you know, it's funny, people will blame technology, social media, things of that nature. But I think it really starts to your point back to what you did in 16, it starts on values like if parents raise their Children and and I'm a capitalist and I'm an entrepreneur, but but I love the game, I'm not in it for the Lambo or the watch and if you're teaching your kids that like it's all about those things like we're gonna aspire to get a Mercedes Benz or you know, You don't, you got to lose £15 because you don't look good or like all these different things, everything you're doing to reinforce that the outside world's judgment matters. I'm I'm the greatest beneficiary of a mother who built me the reverse. Nothing else mattered. But what happened in our four walls and are we nice to people and to each other and call it a day?

Yeah, for sure man, I actually, I want to ask you a quick question very briefly at the beginning that you're backing off on content and uh, you are somebody who's created a prodigious amount of content over the years. Um, and I've also been backing off on content over the last year or two. I'm curious to hear why

the friends, I probably won't deliver on my hyperbole in the beginning here. It's that a new thing came in to my life and you only have so many hours family, you know, matters most then professionally, which is my great hobby. I got to allocate a little piece to my dad's business because I love him too much. So I gotta keep a little eye on wine library, wine text and then I have a behemoth of a company over 1000 employees globally. You know, Mexico city London, a pack, L a new york Maynard X is now a big dog that's a lot of work on the Active Ceo and I'm like an active Ceo, like a Ceo ceo. So that takes up a ton of time. The only other thing that took a time before it was Gary Be right. Speaking of books, content with the Friends coming along. It's a really tricky one because not only do I have to be the ceo operator, it's a big company and you're dabbling with N. F. T. S.

I want to ask you about that cause I saw that somewhere. Um um that's become a huge company jesus christ. It's kind of even hard for me to like wrap my head around. But I also have to build its not like Vader media where I didn't have to build the brand. I just had to build a company. I mean I could have but I built in a B. Two B. Environment. It was a whole unique strategy. The friends I have to build patient panda, empathy elephant, you know, curious coyote, like I have conviction conqueror. I have like real work to be done. Call it, you know, Dc.

Comics marvel Disney transformers. He man. So I'm a great storyteller market, I believe that but I have to put that energy now into patient panda and and you know an empathy elephant and you know, adventurous astronaut not into Gary V. Yeah, here's a good analogy. I've got to become more walt. Disney than mickey mouse. I've got to become more vince McMahon than hulk Hogan and the reason I use vince McMahon and walt. Disney is you still kind they still were pop culture and like you knew who they were, they wanted the C. E. O. S. Of like G.

E. You know, you knew who they were but they weren't at the front of the lights. What what, tell me what's going on in your NFC stuff because we've seen that a little bit in the social sphere.

So I'm kind of I'm I'm a bit behind the curve to you but you know, I discovered N. F. T. S. Last year basically like dropped everything. You know it starts started neglecting everything in my my

my are you are you like are you are you like me that way? Like like blogging when you first saw it you're like this social like you've got that kind of, you've been lucky to be born with that innate kind of you know, something's happening

and it it kills me a little bit because it's it's you know, now I've got like a team of people. I've got like an online business. You know, we were selling courses were doing all this stuff and like I feel bad now and now now it's like you know back in the day I could just drop everything and be like hell yeah, N. F. T. S. Now I'm

like welcome, welcome to my life all my three my 3 30 meeting is with you know like a toy retailer trying to do a huge deal for the holidays. And my 3 45 is like we have this problem with the client, our project manager is not, you know, you're like oh man this is not, yeah it's hard.

So I'll use this opportunity. So this is this is this is exclusive and this is the first time

I don't get a lot of gets, I'm excited.

So I'm going to bring subtle art. We're gonna fractionalized subtle art and bring it to the N. F. T. Space. We're gonna carve it up into 1000 individual quotes. And um the way the way copyright agreements work with publishers is that the publisher has his listens to the full book, but if it's just a quote or if it's just a paragraph or section, the author can do whatever they want with it. So what we're doing is we're carving up the book into individual quotes and paragraphs and then I'm basically going to uh give creative commons license to those individual quotes for whoever.

Um So if you buy the N. F. T. You get the quote and then you could quote unquote, do what you want with the

do whatever you want,

you're buying it from you,

I can't give the copyright of giving the all sorts of stuff,

but you're getting the creative commons rights kind of like flicker was back in the day when everyone's like whoa,

it's I'm not gonna mess with you. Um So yeah, super excited.

Right? So when I buy a bunch of your most famous quotes. Yeah, and then make hoodies and sell and make tons of revenue, you won't send me a letter. No, and you're gonna be like why is gary able to sell more hoodies of my quote than we were?

I wouldn't ask that about you,


but but some, some random kid

on the street, so this, this is cool, I gotta get when when are you doing this?

Uh looking at late, february, early March,

we'll keep an eye on this. Where should people follow you? Look what's your twitter, because I'm sure that would be the best place to for this audience to

twitter is I am Mark Manson,

I am got it. What in our 10 minutes here, what what other things should entrepreneurs go getters kind of, what are some other things that we can help people with or what do you, anywhere you want to take this? Like a fun story working with will um an insight to what's working with you on content right now because a lot of I think we have enough crossover net where you take it, this audience will like, so whatever you want.

Well, I'll say this, I asked you the content question because I mean for me it's been a combination of discovering web three, like it's I mean I I've I've been in the crypto for many, many years, but it always seemed it was like to Ponzi ish

years ago, it was all currency right? Like I really understand the Bitcoin thesis and I'm still long Bitcoin because I think the brand is too strong and N. F. T. S. Are so much more consumer what you and I do it's not

currency. It's this last year or two it's like oh ship they're actually building stuff like let

me let me give you an example. Yeah N. F. T. Project gets pumped and it completely fails. Yeah like it went up to 4000 apiece and then in the N. F. T. Winter there 88 bucks I in 2026 I'm gonna buy 8000 of them and the I. P. And refurbish it. No different than what I did with K.

Swiss or what happens with brands all the time with a ship coin from 2017. It pumps, we have the ship winter it's dead. There's still an asset with N. F. T. S. And a narrative that makes it very very different than coins and I think that I'm really excited about when we get to that part of the story.

Well if you think about it, I mean like there's so many books throughout history that blew up after the author died. You know

Like. Yeah can you give us two or 3 because I'm not educated. That's it. I love that

ship were like so like scarlet letter Nathaniel hawthorne like is that true? Yeah or like Moby dick like fucking Herman Melville like died broke and alone like and then Moby Dick became the great american novel after he died you know so it's this sort of stuff happens in publishing and I'm super excited about N. F. T. S in the publishing world as well because it solves a lot of the issue is the actual problem like practical problems the publishing industry has and it's crazy too because like doing this,

are you currently I'm sorry to interrupt. Are you currently in a book deal? Yes. How many more do you owe them one? Yeah. I my last book that just came out the one I sold a trillion of because I did an end of teething um I'm a free agent and I'm in the weirdest spot. I've had an incredible one with harpercollins. Who do you work with?


You don't you don't work, you don't work with Hollis, do you?

Uh No, I don't

know my publishers Hollis at harper business, she's amazing. I find myself in a crazy predicament. I'm super happy there. Yeah comfortable

what can they offer you? That's the thing, it's like what can they offer you

and and and I want them to write because I don't want I'm doing plenty of my own stuff. I'd like to have a couple of places where have some partnerships but the economics are too extreme if my next book is an N. F. T. And you get the book.

Yeah it's crazy and it's it was fascinating to me as well because like when I first approached harper about this this N. F. T. Project, I expected tons of push back you know and and I expected them to kind of flip out and I have to do damage control and to my surprise like there, I wouldn't say they're on board, but there are open, they're very open and curious like they're they're watching very closely.

Well listen, they saw you know, one of their authors sell 1.2 million books in a in a day and you and I know what that means, I mean you know, I'm not I'm not the you know, I've done really well, you've done really well. Those are just uncomfortable numbers.

Crazy numbers,

That's that's crazy. And those are moments in time, I think right now we're in Internet stock 99. That's the one thing while everybody's listening just a quick did that, it's just like a disclaimer, I always want to say we are the N. F. T. Thing is real, it'll be here forever in a big way, so learn it. The individual N. Ft projects, 99% of them are in beanie babies mode. Super hyped, they're gonna crash, you know what else was in beanie babies mode. Internet stocks in 99 that's what happened but Amazon and Ebay were there at seven bucks a share. You could have bought them, you could about amazon for seven bucks a share before all these splits they had. It's insane.

So um nonetheless go ahead. You were finishing a thought but I was curious if you're debating as a prominent you know author like do you sign a book deal or do you do it yourself now with N. F. T. Land?

Yeah I I honestly I I don't know I mean we'll see how this launch goes, we'll see how the market goes. I mean like you said it's it's there's definitely a bubble right now so like we'll have to see how things shake out. But I could totally see and like 23 years from now it being a very very difficult question uh answer. Um but what I was gonna say before that is like I feel like I'm also in this weird like no man's land because I'm so excited about Web three stuff but it also feels like it's still very frothy and new and not completely consolidated or figured figured out yet. Meanwhile like on the web to side unlike the traditional social media and blogging everything, everything just feels like I don't want to say dead but like saturated right Like it's our ally is so

Brother It's, it's the tail as long as time, the reason you and I you know seven And you did blogging? The reason you found me in '09 was I would say the most frustrated I was in my career in my entire career was 2005 to 2009 because I couldn't write, I still care. I can't write for a lick. Yeah. And I saw blogging coming and I'm like, you know, and I had one on kind of e commerce and search and I'm an email for sure and I was like, this is gonna be huge. And I knew that I was like on the sidelines with like my helmet in my hand and literally the second, you know, the second, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm late. I got my time around 0320604206 because the second youtube came, I was on it so blistering fast. That's why my wine thing worked so well because I was like, okay, I can use the new thing and then obviously social, the new thing and then every app on social, but you're right, like it's going to take the next Tiktok To do anything in Web two. But even that is gonna be a slight alteration of what we've seen since oh five, Web three is like crazy new world, which is what we were learning about the internet back in the day.

Yeah, it's web to, it just feels like you're taking the same playbook and applying it to new platforms over and over and in

africa, it's a real art. Like knowing after the art of Tiktok versus instagram is a real art. But to your point you're still making a short form piece of content in video form

100%. And, and it's after 12 years or whatever. Like it, You know, it kind of, you kind of just keep getting the same thing over and over. Whereas like Web three, it just feels like We're in like three D

chess. No, it's like finding America, you know, like, like you thought it was just europe and wait a minute. That's really like that. It's our version of that final thoughts. Give me, you know, I don't, I feel like we might have to do this again because I want to extract what are some hot takes from a social commentator. What are you seeing out there? What should people think about what is a good, what are some good takeaways? Hegang? Hegang keep, keep an eye on this. Whether it's literal like O T. T. Shows or like pop culture or common emotional themes you're seeing and just like takes,

I feel like, I feel like there's, there's kind of like a great moderation coming. Like, I feel like a lot of what felt so unstable with social media and just the news media in general throughout the 20 tens. I feel like it was a lack of education on the user's end of like, people don't understand how social media feeds affect their, their moods, their information consumption the way they think the beliefs that they adopt and I think the general public's knowledge of how these things work is catching up to like where you and I were 5, 10 years ago and I think as that happens, we're already seeing it now. Um, people are just learning better, learning to, to, to turn off all the noise and bullshit. They're learning to back off, not hit the reply button so fast. Um, and I, I see a kind of a new boom of like independent voices happening right now. I'm like so bearish on traditional east coast media right now. It's crazy. Um,

what is it, like, what does that mean?

Like new york times Washington, you know, ship like that. It's just, I, I just think there, it's just a sinking ship.

Yeah. I mean, I think all traditional media needs a different model. They do, they do it. It's not even about for everybody listening. It's not a left or right thing. It's funny when you said a great moderation. I've been using a purple heart. I've been falling in love with the color purple. I've been, I've been spending so much time and it's too bad. My favorite color is green, but I'm gonna figure this out. I am completely convinced that what's about to happen is purple. You and I, we need to really actually become friends.

Were clearly very similar in a lot of ways. I'm sure very different others and those are the fun parts, but the world is so red and blue and the answer is purple and it's, and some people and, and sometimes it's dark purple, sometimes it's very light purple, but like it's so clear that we will die. And this is not even like from politics, like, you know, like socialism or storming the capitol. It just becomes societal, it becomes like operational, it becomes your day to day life.

It's, it's everything. It's not just, I mean it's most visible in politics, right? But like, but it's everywhere. It's everywhere. Like I'm, I'm a big gamer. I see in the gaming community, it's like the loudest, most insane 2% of gamers are the ones that you hear about all the time. You know, it's like, it's like the fucking crazy sports people are the ones you hear all the time, you know? And

it's like, it's our own fault for loving rubbernecking.

Yeah. Well, and it's, I feel, I hope slash feel that people are, they're smartening up to this and I think this is why you're seeing like substack takeoff, you're seeing like, uh, you know, there was a chart recently, like joe Rogan's numbers compared to all like the, um, what do you call it, cable news shows or whatever and it's like, you know, his audience is as big as like the five biggest cable news shows combined, you know,

and it's like, I mean people are 700,000 years old that watch cable news. Like we have to understand that by the way, I think ageism is a problem. I'm not shipping on 50 60 70 80 90 on, I'm almost 50. Fuck you know you're old. I'm shipping on the concept that the world is evolving. That I have unlimited friends who are 71 years old. Who know what stub stack is and like read like all sorts of different things and are just like and I have very interesting friends who are willing to watch both Fox and CNN and this and that. And it's not even about like the politics anymore, it's just the formats.

So so here's a thought for you. I'll leave you with this thought. You know when I was a kid I used to make fun of my parents because like we get like a VCR and my parents didn't know how to program the VCR and like my brother and I would figure it out right. And we would like make fun of my parents like Oh I'm so bad with technology. It was like a funny thing in the 90s to be an older person who was bad with technology. I think now it's potentially like a social problem.

And also I think we we judge them so negatively and then the N. F. T. Thing fires me up because all my 2030 and 40 year old friends became their parents overnight because like I don't want to learn this. It's a jpeg like watching 27 year olds say it's a fat watching 36 year olds say like I can't figure out a non custodial wallet. Like I don't want to coin me. Like they're scared of this the way parents were scared of putting credit cards Into a computer. Like literally watching 20 and 30 year olds over the last 12 months become their 65 year old parents has been one of the most joyous things for me because I let them I trap them, I let them because these are my friends. I let them, I let them, I'm like, that's the ship. Used to make fun of your mom for

Yeah, totally, man, totally.

Technology. We'll talk brother, congrats on all your success. We will cross paths again. Thanks for being on the show.

Thanks man.