Mar 22, 2022

Book Review: The Courage to be disliked by Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga

 I first came across this book in one of Ankur Warikoo's book recommendation videos on Youtube. The title piqued my curiosity and I ordered this book a few weeks back. Over the last weekend, I was engrossed in this brilliant writing, that dispels many of our commonly held notions and beliefs about life.

"The courage to be disliked" has a narrative style, similar to that of Mitch Albom's Tuesdays with Morrie. It is written in a dialogue format, between a young man and a philosopher, who engage in a conversation for five nights. This provides a perfect foundation to anticipate and answer questions that would run in a reader's mind. I could resonate with the young man's questions at multiple points throughout the book.

Statements like "People fabricate anger", "Desire for recognition makes you unfree", "Do not rebuke or praise" etc seem unbelievable at first sight, but as the philosopher slowly explains and answers the young man's follow-up questions, the reader gains a lot of clarity on how these make a lot of sense. Some of the lessons from this book are applicable across multiple aspects of our life - work/career, parenting, goal setting, relationships, community, etc.

I felt mind-blown with some of the examples and the following lessons. For eg,

  • how we give meaning to our experiences and use our past to our advantage
  • the role of horizontal relationships (we are equal, but not same)
  • how praising someone puts us on a pedestal, thereby enforcing a vertical relationship
  • how our desire for recognition robs us of our freedom
  • the importance of separating one's tasks

The principles outlined in this book are based on Adlerian psychology, put forth by Alfred Adler. It opened my eyes to a new line of thinking. Felt like a new room door has been opened in my mind🙂

As always, a few favorite quotes from the book!

We are not determined by our experiences, but the meaning we give them is self-determining.

All problems are interpersonal relationship problems.

If one really has confidence in oneself, then one doesn't feel the need to boast.

Wishing so hard to be recognised will lead to a life of following expectations held by other people who want you to be "this kind of person". 

All interpersonal relationship troubles are caused by intruding on other people's tasks or having one's own tasks intruded on.

Freedom is being disliked by other people. 

In the act of praise, there is the aspect of it being "the passing of judgment by a person of ability on a person of no ability". 

If one is shining a bright spotlight on here and now, one cannot see the past or the future anymore.

Adding this to my favorite list of books. If you love self-help, philosophy, or psychology, I highly recommend this one.

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