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About the Authors
Ichiro Kishimi was born in Kyoto, where he still lives, in 1956. He has aspired to become a philosopher since his days in high school. Since 1989, while specialising in Classical Western philosophy, with a special focus on Platonic philosophy, he has researched Adlerian psychology; he writes and lectures on the subject, and provides counselling for “youths” in psychiatric clinics as a certified counsellor and consultant for the Japanese Society of Adlerian Psychology.
Fumitake Koga, an award-winning professional writer and author, was born in 1973. He has released numerous bestselling works of business-related and general non-fiction. He encountered Adlerian psychology in his late twenties, and was deeply affected by its conventional wisdom-defying ideas. Thereafter, Koga made numerous visits to Ichiro Kishimi in Kyoto, gleaned from him the essence of Adlerian psychology, and took down the notes for the classical “dialogue format” method of Greek philosophy that is used in this book.
About the Book
In this fable-style book, the core concepts of Adlerian psychology are explored and applied to everyday scenarios. It’s a huge bestseller in Asia, with over 3 million copies sold. The book is all about being the person you really want to be – by being less concerned with the opinions of others, your doubts or your past experiences. As more and more people seem to be paralysed in the limbo-land between their truest self and assumptions of others, this book provides refreshing alternative mindset and views. If you suffer with the need to please others, imposter syndrome, the joy-thief of comparison or a tendency to attribute your current situation to your previous experiences then this will provide a challenging and worthwhile perspective.
BIG IDEA 1 (2:56) - Denying determinism. This is the concept of denying trauma - even from awful life events - and recognising your have the choice on how to respond to it. For instance, just because something bad happened to you it doesn’t mean that your life will be bad as a result of it. We often see this in our own lives, or those around us today, but by denying the idea of determinism, we realize that our past does not determine our future.
In some cases, we behave in a certain way to achieve a goal or live according to other people’s view. One of the biggest points shared in this book is that most of us lack the courage to be happy - because it requires change. This is why some people choose to live a miserable or unhappy life because being happy requires challenging changes.
BIG IDEA 2 (6:24) - Own your tasks. Each one of us has our own tasks and we should not interfere with other people’s tasks. These three tasks are work, friendship and love. One of the most important ideas here is not looking for or seeking recognition from others - just focusing on your own tasks and our contribution to others/society.
If we need other people to interfere with us, recognize us or celebrate our achievement, we are worried about what other people think about us and not who we truly want to be.
This idea comes down to freedom, or the courage to be disliked. This is about not needing other people’s recognition, reward or validation to feel like we have contributed. Focus on your own tasks - work, love and friendships.
BIG IDEA 3 (7:33) - All problems are all interpersonal relationship problems. Most interpersonal relationship problems (think comparison, jealousy, imposter syndrome, regret etc) are solved by first accepting yourself as you are. When we do not accept ourselves, sometimes this is used as an excuse to dislike or make assumptions about what others think.
The great idea here is that YOU are the only who is worried about you! If we think about it, when we are only worried about ourselves, we can do more of what we really want to do. One great quote shared in the book is “We cannot alter objective facts but subjective interpretations can be altered as one likes.” Most of the things around us are purely subjective, so if someone does not like something, it’s their opinion and doesn’t matter.
The book is very clear that is not about doing things that would purposely hurt others, but that the subjective opinions of others aren’t as important and defining as we often make them out to be.
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