The book is nothing short of brilliant. If you expect this to be one of the “standard” self-help books, you are in for a surprise. It’s so refreshingly different and fascinating to read. It’s packed with wisdom and I fount it to be so relevant to the issues we all face in our everyday lives.
Dubbed a “Japanese phenomenon,” the book is the creation of two authors. Ishimo Kishimi is a philosopher, a Director of the Japanese Society of Adlerian psychology and a former counselor. Fumitake Koga is an award-winning writer and author who is also a follower of the teachings of big minds as Adler, Jung and Freud.
Written as a dialogue between a “Philosopher” ( a wise old man who teaches that “the world is simple and that happiness is within reach of every men, instantly “) and a “Youth” (a young man who lacks self-esteem and who “found the world a chaotic mass of contradictions”), it keeps you on your mental toes all the time, prompting you to follow carefully the journey of the two protagonists.
Over the course of 5 nights, both discuss the perennial topics of happiness, self-esteem, self-acceptance, inferiority, and freedom.
The Youth is sceptical and challenges the Philosopher’s repeating idea that making our life better is completely within our control. The Philosopher’s views are largely based on the school of Alfred Adler—the Austrian psychotherapist who is perhaps most famous for developing the notion of the Inferiority Complex, which is a lack of self-esteem, paired with the needs for comparison and constant validation from others.
Other noteworthy and enticing advice that the Philosopher reveals in the book is:
*Everyone can change and choose their lifestyle. People don’t because they don’t want to.
*The past doesn’t shape your future. No matter what happened to us up to this point, it should “have no baring at all on how you life from now on.”
*The reason some of us dislike themselves is because this “fabricated” emotion usually masks something deeper—namely, fear—of failure, od success, of not meeting expectations, of rejection, of being hurt.
*Life is not a competition. “It’s enough to just keep moving. It is in trying to progress past who one is now that there is value.”
*There is no need to be recognised by others and we shouldn’t seek it. It makes you unfree.
*Don’t live according to the expectations of others.
*Exist in the present.
*We can only be aware of our true worth when we feel “I am of use to someone.”
Overall, the book is a delightful, although not easy read. It makes you think, ruminate about the things that are not going great in your own own life, and teaches us how to make it better for ourselves.
And above all, it guides us how to find the courage to be ourselves, to not live according to the world’s expectations, but how to find our own piece of happiness and self-appreciation.