Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life

Book Review

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✨ Rating: 3.5/5

🤔 First Thoughts

These were my first thoughts as I picked this book up:
I chose this book because it is centered around Japanese culture and I’ve always wanted to learn more about Japanese people. The book back cover also explains what Ikigai is with one simple illustration. I was drawn by that illustration.
By reading this book, I want to learn what ‘Ikigai’ actually means. And, how few people seem to find their purpose easily more than others. I want to understand and find my own purpose and meaning in my life.
After I finish this book, I want to feel like I’m ready and equipped to find meaning in my life.

🕧 Halfway Impressions

As I continue to read this book, these are my thoughts about my journey so far:
What I'm loving about this book: - Why Okinawans have a long & healthy life. Also, I love how authors break down the reasons into simple digestible short paragraphs. - It’s packed with a lot of info and makes me ponder over many important concepts of life.
My challenges/difficulties with this book: - The chapters feel like they’re disconnected and jump from one point to another. - The chapters content feels like a review or opinion of authors rather than reading original content by the authors.
Do I want to continue reading or put it down for now? - I definitely want to finish this book.

✨ Top 3 Highlights

My top 3 highlights from this book:
1️⃣ I learned a lot about Logotherapy. Existential frustration or crisis is not a bad thing. In fact, it can be a catalyst for change. It means you’re trying to find meaning and purpose in your life. The main reason behind such a crisis is because we do things we are told to do, or what others are doing, rather than what we want to do.
2️⃣ I learned 3 important strategies that might help me in future. Strategy 1: Choose a task that adds to your skillset. It should be challenging but shouldn’t be too difficult that you turn away from it. It should be interesting to you to pursue it further. Strategy 2: Have a clear, concrete objective. A compass (clear objective/destination) is often more important and useful than a map (details and step-by-step instructions). Strategy 3: Avoid multitasking. It does more harm than good. It breaks your flow. Do one thing with concentration and try to aim for the “flow”. For example, when you’re trying to write an outline for a blog, if you’re distracted by notifications or other tabs, try to write it on a piece of paper. Limit exposure to things that distract you.
3️⃣ I learned that we need to be something more than resilient. The right word is “Antifragile”. Coined by Nicholas Taleb. Step 1: Create more options Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. For example, have multiple income streams instead of depending only on one salary. Step 2: Bet conservatively in certain areas and take many small risks in others For example, when investing, follow the 50-30-20 principle. Invest 50% of your money in large-cap funds, 30% in mid-cap funds, 20% in small-cap funds. Of that 20%, invest in several small-cap assets instead of just 1 or 2 assets. Step 3: Get rid of things that make you fragile In an ideal world, this is possible. But, we live in an imperfect and constantly changing world. So, list down all the things that make you fragile. Get rid of at least 50% of these things. That’s a great start compared to nothing!

❝ Favorite Quotes

Some of my favorite quotes from this book:
Our ikigai is different for all of us, but one thing we have in common is that we are all searching for meaning. When we spend our days feeling connected to what is meaningful to us, we live more fully; when we lose the connection, we feel despair.
❝Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better.
❝Hello, solitude. How are you today? Come, sit with me, and I will care for you.

⭐ Most Important Takeaway

For me, the most important takeaway from this book is:
Find your Ikigai. When you’re going through an existential crisis, know that it is OKAY and ask yourself if what you do brings joy and meaning to your life.

💭 Feelings After Completing This Book

After completing this book, these are my feelings:
I feel like I’m equipped better to deal with whenever I’m going through an existential crisis in my life. There are lots of paragraphs that made me relate to what the author was talking about.

📘 My Summary

If I had to summarize this book into 3-4 points:
  1. To find your Ikigai, it should be something you love to do, it should be something you’re good at, it should financially support you, and something the world needs.
  1. Diet and physical activity play an important role in having a fulfilling and happy life more than you can imagine.
  1. This book takes a deep dive into Japanese and Asian culture. Especially of Okinawans culture.

📝 My Notes

While reading this book, these are some of the thoughts I had:
  1. I felt like everyone should be aware of their Ikigai. We are not taught about this in our school but I think it’s very important for every individual to have a meaning and purpose in their life. They should be aware of whether what they do brings them happiness or despair. That’s the only way to live your best life.
  1. Living and learning about other cultures is important. I’ve always admired Japanese culture and especially anime movies and TV series. This book proved me right about why one should watch at least 1 anime movie in their life.
  1. I want to visit Japan and live in Okinawa for a while.


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