Yecheilyah’s Book Reviews – The Courage to be Disliked by Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga

Title: The Courage to be Disliked: The Japanese Phenomenon that Shows You How to Change Your Life and Achieve Real Happiness
Author: Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga
Publisher: Atria Books
Published: May 8, 2018
Page: 289

Written by Japanese writer Fumitake Koga and philosopher Ichiro Kishimi, in The Courage to be Disliked, an older man who adheres to Adlerian psychology and Greek philosophy has a conversation about life with a young man who is frustrated with life and thinks it’s unfair. Their discussion is built on the question of whether we choose to be happy. The dialogue-based style makes me think of modern-day interactions between young people and older generations and our own inner dialogues about life. (Neither person is named throughout the book.)

The young person’s argument that the world is confusing is an example of their discussion. The philosopher responds by asserting that we make the world complex, not that everything is complicated. He contends that life is subjective, and because we each see the world differently, it’s impossible to share our world with anyone else. The philosopher’s responses are simple, leaving you to wonder why you hadn’t considered it that way. I also appreciated how the young man’s genuine inquiries allowed the author to instruct through the philosopher.

The main takeaway from Kishimi and Koga is that unhappy people wind up living other people’s lives by chasing approval. They give up their own hopes, dreams, and aspirations in favor of conforming to others’ expectations. An example would be a young person who wants to be an author deciding to instead go to medical school to please his parents, whose wish is for him to be a doctor.

He must muster up the courage to deal with his parents’ disapproval of his decision to follow his literary ambitions.

Over the course of five discussions, the philosopher explains to his student how each of us can choose our own path in life, free from the constraints of the past and the expectations of others.

While I can’t entirely agree with the part about how trauma, according to Adlerian psychology, does not exist (and the dialogue style throughout the book does not particularly appeal to me), it is still a terrific inspirational read if you are interested in philosophy and psychology or want to know why people believe the way they do. The discussion will inspire you to evaluate life from a unique angle, possibly one you haven’t thought about before.


Strong Introduction: 4/5
Authenticity / Believable: 4/5
Organization: 3/5
Thought Provoking: 4/5
Solid Conclusion: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

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The Courage to be Disliked

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Stay tuned for our next dope read, part two in Christa’s Sculptor series.

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