F*ck Martha Stewart” 11 Lessons from the Movie “Fight Club”

by Admin · 15 comments


Tyler Durden: “We’re consumers. We are by-products of a lifestyle obsession. Murder, crime, poverty, these things don’t concern me. What concerns me are celebrity magazines, television with 500 channels, some guy’s name on my underwear. Rogaine, Viagra, Olestra.”

Narrator: “Martha Stewart. “

Tyler Durden: “F*ck Martha Stewart. Martha’s polishing the brass on the Titanic. It’s all going down, man. So f*ck off with your sofa units and Strinne green stripe patterns. “

The movie fight club is filled with memorable quotes like this one…But embedded in the movie are also some great lessons that can be applied to everyday life.

1. Listen to people…Don’t just wait for your turn to talk

There is a scene in fight club where Edward Norton’s character talks about his rational for attending group therapy sessions for people with cancer or other illnesses.  He says “When people think you’re dying, they really, really listen to you, instead of just (waiting for their turn to speak)”  (The sentence is finished by another character in the film.)  The point being.. people DO realize that you are not paying attention when they are talking to you.  Shut off the cell phone or blackberry, do not glance around the room for someone more interesting.  Stand there, make eye contact, and really listen to what someone is saying.

2. We are victims of consumerism

“The things you own end up owning you. Right. We are consumers. We’re the bi-products of a lifestyle obsession”  We do not NEED all the things we think we need, and NEWSFLASH! when we get the things we think we need…they probably aren’t making us any happier.

3. Do something for someone else

There is a scene in the movie where Tyler Durden takes a young store clerk behind the store and puts a gun to his head.  He scares the shit out of the young guy, then he asks him what he wants to do with his life.  He ends up saying that he would like to be a veterinarian.  Tyler then tells him he is keeping his license and he is going to check in on the young man, if he isn’t on his way to becoming a veterinarian in a few weeks…Tyler will kill him.  A bit drastic agreed, but as Tyler Durden explains…”Tomorrow will be the most beautiful day of Raymond K. Hessel’s life. His breakfast will taste better than any meal you and I have ever tasted. ”  You can bet that Raymond also probably enrolled in school…We should try to have an impact on someone else’s life.  Maybe a big life altering impact (but perhaps a little more subtle than a gun.)

Fight Club4. Steer clear of major corporations

The small gang aka the “fight club” has a major problem with corporations.  A good deal of their energy is spent trying to bring down these massively powerful corporations.  While this approach they take is rather primitive, it does reinforce a good point.  Corporations are becoming too powerful.  Everywhere you look you see nothing but chain restaurants, chain gas stations, and chain retail stores.  Forget the few dollars you will save at the chain…Give the mom and pop shop a try.  Chances are, you will get better tasting food, better quality products, and better service.

5. Seize the Day

“This is your life and it’s ending one minute at a time.”  This quote is a somewhat negative way to look at life, but the idea behind it is to live for the moment.  Don’t put off till tomorrow, what you could do today.

6. Do that thing that you have always wanted to do

Tyler Durden is threatening to intentionally crash his car, while doing this he asks the passengers in the car what is the one thing they would regret they hadn’t done before they died…two of the men have immediate answers “paint a self-portrait”, “build a house”.  Figure out the answer to this question, then go do it.

7. Accept things outside of your control

“I say never be complete, I say stop being perfect, I say let… lets evolve, let the chips fall where they may.”  We do not have to do/have everything.  Accept your life.  Be proud of it.

8. Challenge the status quo

The question is raised…Why do they have oxygen masks on a plane?  The response…”Oxygen gets you high. In a catastrophic emergency, you’re taking giant panicked breaths. Suddenly you become euphoric, docile. You accept your fate. It’s all right here. Emergency water landing – 600 miles an hour. Blank faces, calm as Hindu cows.”  This is obviously not the rationale explained by the flight crew, and definitely not the commonly held belief.  But…when you think about it…it seems like it could be possible.  Approach all situations creatively, the solution may not be what is obvious and apparent.

9. Persistence is key

Tyler tells Edward Norton’s character, “All right, if the applicant is young, tell him he’s too young. Old, too old. Fat, too fat. If the applicant then waits for three days without food, shelter, or encouragement he may then enter and begin his training.”  Sometimes we are tested by people or situations.  Be persistent, don’t let “quitter” define you.

10. Not everyone is a winner

The current generation that is being raised is a generation where every kid on the team is the “MVP”, everyone is picked for every team, everyone is special.  The real world is not like this.  There are winners and losers, and the people that learn from their losses are the ones who end up winners.  Much of what happens in life is a result of the hard work you put in, and the “luck” that you create.

11. Live your LIFE!

“If you are reading this then this warning is for you. Every word you read of this useless fine print is another second off your life. Don’t you have other things to do? Is your life so empty that you honestly can’t think of a better way to spend these moments? Or are you so impressed with authority that you give respect and credence to all that claim it? Do you read everything you’re supposed to read? Do you think every thing you’re supposed to think? Buy what you’re told to want? Get out of your apartment. Meet a member of the opposite sex. Stop the excessive shopping and masturbation. Quit your job. Start a fight. Prove you’re alive. If you don’t claim your humanity you will become a statistic. You have been warned”

If you haven’t read it or watched it…it’s okay to be a consumer for a couple minutes to Read the Book or Watch the Movie

Be sure to check out our other “11 Lessons” series: Office Space, The Shawshank Redemption

Photo Credits: deep-focus.com


{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

rye November 12, 2009 at 2:33 am

where does it say # 11 in the movie, ive seen it many times but i dont remember this line

nick February 4, 2010 at 7:48 am

its right after the fbi warning at the beginning of the movie

andi February 27, 2010 at 7:24 pm

Hey, nice list, but here’s what I’d add (although it’s already mentioned)

You can’t control everything

Where Tyler puts that acid on Ed’s hand (and creates a scar):
stay with the pain -> be present, although it might be fu*ked up, “enjoy it” :)

luth July 20, 2010 at 9:33 pm

smart analysis. i like all, especially #7

hem gurung September 10, 2010 at 1:12 pm

its nice to c thid

zenny December 18, 2010 at 4:09 am

vvvv i think its in the book vvvvv

steve January 19, 2011 at 4:06 am

I’d like to add.
“Losing all hope was freedom.”
Realize that life has no inherent purpose or goal, that you need no merit for your own existence. You are free to do anything you wish. So fuck society’s message that your life’s purpose is to gain more and more useless material possessions to make yourself complete and realize that you don’t need to be and never can be.

And in the car: “Quit trying to control everything and JUST LET GO!”

In the book it kind of has a different literal meaning, but Tyler is using it to reinforce his message that not everything can or needs to be controlled.

ryan May 30, 2011 at 3:07 am

It’s obviously from the book, man..

Tone March 12, 2012 at 1:01 am

Hi! My name is Tone, and I am a filmstudent at University of Southampton. I am currently writing my dissertation on ‘Fight Club’ and I was wondering if I could get permission to use your blog as part of my research? I am having a closer look at the reception of the film. Your name will not be used at all in the dissertation, I will be referring to my subjects by using character A,B,C etc. Your blog will be useful for me in analyzing the reception of the film, and I would really appreciate it.

Kind Regards,

Joe April 3, 2012 at 9:50 pm


Kika6242 April 8, 2013 at 3:26 pm

I really enjoyed this analysis. Number 7 is also a point many of us have trouble dealing with.

Fight club fans have to check this out! Fight Club: 1 Man1 Movie 1 Minute http://bit.ly/10NDho8

Henry June 30, 2013 at 5:13 pm

This movie really changed my life, or at least my perception of life.

Jerker (Energetic and Productive) August 20, 2015 at 7:55 am

Old post, but recently revisited the movie and had some kind of Fight Club moment with myself recently when a hard drive went bad and I lost a bunch of stuff – and had this bitterweet feeling of both sadness for losing work but also the freedom of no longer being able to be attached to too much of the past!

I think the movie really shows the problems both with living a boring, “default” lifestyle, but also with taking the opposite too extreme. Of course a lot of the manic-dramatic things that happen towards the end are used to make the story interesting, both in how the book is written and how the movie is made.

The biggest takeaway is of course to stop aiming for perfection like it is one day going to arrive and then make you happy. And after all these years from 1999 when the movie came out it is even more relevant because the whole corporate job thing is working out for less and less people, and that trend will probably continue.

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