Ikigai (生き甲斐, pronounced [ikigai]) is a Japanese concept that means "a reason for being". The word refers to having a direction or purpose in life, that which makes one's life worthwhile, and towards which an individual takes spontaneous and willing actions giving them satisfaction and a sense of meaning to life. Hello, dears! I was thinking to do a blog post with the books I read during this lock-down for a while, but after contemplating some more, I decided that this book deserves its own article! There is no better time to read this short and enjoyable book that I promise you won't put down until you finish it! It is called Ikigai: the Japanese secret to a long and happy life (the Romanian version here ) and it shows us how the Japanese life looks like compared to ours. And trust me, you will be shocked by some differences. I don't want to spoil it, but they eat on average 18 fruits and veggies per day!! I barely manage to eat the 5-a-day so no wonder they live a long and happy life!
Criticism & Review This book got some criticism for two reasons. Firstly, because people read this book expecting to offer them a purpose in life. Although Ikigai means 'a reason for being,' this book is not magical and it cannot tell you what to do with your life. Instead, the authors interviewed many Japanese people who share their practices and who are content with their lives and found their Ikigai. Secondly, this is a brief book that scratches the surface of intricate philosophies that build the Japanese culture. It is not an academic read, but a book for everyone, simplified and concise. You can look at it as an introductory book that explains different philosophies only so you can understand where these people are coming from. In my opinion, this book feels like when you are on holiday and you take a walk in the evening and peek through people's windows to see how they live. I love that this book is not a 'how-to' lecture and it doesn't give you advice. Ikigai is very straight forward and practical, narrating from a perspective that will make you feel good about yourself, even if you're at the beginning of the journey. Unlike other self-help books, Ikigai is a study of real-life examples and it comes across as authentic and helpful.
Favourite quotes from the book
'Treat everybody like they are your brothers, even if you just met them.' 'It is important that the brain is exposed to change, even if the level of anxiety rises when you get out of your comfort zone.' 'We need to learn how to stop the autopilot that guides us, that put us in a continuous loop.'