May 18, 2023

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

 Last year, I read "The Courage to be Disliked" - a powerful book that left a lasting impact. The same authors have come up with a sequel of sorts with the title "The Courage to be Happy". 

As I read through it, I can't help but wonder how it draws on the conversations that the philosopher and the youth engaged in the first book. Highly recommend that you read both books in the same sequence to gain maximum benefit.

Coming to the sequel, the philosopher and the youth meet after 3 years. The youth seems frustrated with the challenges he faced in applying Adlerian psychology and is looking for answers. The conversation begins with really harsh questions (to the point it gets nasty sometimes) by the youth and patient, assertive answers by the philosopher.

Their ensuing long conversation shares nuggets of wisdom and new perspectives, especially for people who play the role of educators or parents. The book is divided into 5 sections, each having 2-3 key takeaways buried deep inside.

It starts by declaring that the objective of education is self-reliance. To meet this objective, one needs to start with respect - accept the person (student) as is without setting any conditions. Respect is contagious and eventually leads to developing "social feeling" - having concern for other people's concerns.

The triangular representation of our psyche with the two angles "that bad person" and "poor me" is an eye-opener that showcases how we end up in one of the two angles whenever there is a challenge. The author suggests we look at our challenge from a third angle (not revealing it!).

As the conversation progresses, they revisit why reward and punishment are problematic. The 5 stages of problem behavior are quite relatable.

The chapter on moving from competition to cooperation is another gem. I was nodding big time as I had been raised to be a competitive person.

We choose our lifestyle at a very early age based on the objective of "how I can be loved". It is rooted in the survival strategies of our childhood, which continues into adulthood and determines the lifestyle we adopt now. This point was such an eye-opener for me.

I'd rather name this book "The Courage to Believe" as trust/having confidence/believing in yourself and others seem to be the essence of this book.

Lots of valuable takeaways in the sequel too. You'll enjoy this one if you have read and liked "The Courage to be Disliked".

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