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The Courage to be Disliked

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A single book can change your life. Already an enormous bestseller in Asia, with more than 3 million copies sold, The Courage to be Disliked demonstrates how to unlock the power within yourself to be the person you truly want to be. Using the theories of Alfred Adler, one of the three giants of 19th century psychology alongside Freud and Jung, it follows an illuminating conversation between a philosopher and a young man. The philosopher explains to his pupil how each of us is able to determine our own lives, free of the shackles of past experiences, doubts and the expectations of others. It's a way of thinking that's deeply liberating, allowing us to develop the courage to change, and to ignore the limitations that we and those around us can place on ourselves. The result is a book that is both highly accessible and profound in its importance. Millions have already read and benefited from its wisdom. Now that The Courage to be Disliked has been published for the first time in English, so can you.

288 pages, Paperback

First published December 12, 2013

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About the author

Ichiro Kishimi

39 books598 followers
Ichiro KISHIMI Philosopher, Adlerian psychologist and translator of English and German languages. Born in 1956.

M.A.in philosophy from Kyoto University. Director of the Japanese Society of Adlerian psychology. Former counselor at Maeda Clinic in Kyoto and has taught philosophy and ancient Greek at various institutions such as Kyoto University of Education and Nara Women's University.

He presently teaches educational psychology and clinical psychology at Meiji School of Oriental Medicine in Suita, Osaka. Kishimi now has his own private counseling office in Kameoka, Kyoto, and devotes his time to giving lectures on Adlerian Psychology and child education.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 6,988 reviews
Profile Image for Jen - The Tolkien Gal.
458 reviews4,462 followers
May 8, 2023
What do we say to the god of self-help books?

Not today. Maybe tomorrow.

But this, this isn't a self-help book. And fuck it, I'm going to be brutally honest on Goodreads because you are all wonderful people. And we all need to stop hiding how we feel and have a discussion.

Disclaimer No book is a one-size-helps-all. Don't see any self-help or psychologically-directed book as the Holy Grail of "my life is now going to change." You know why? You decide to change. You did the work. The book might help, but you're the one in charge here.

I've been in a very dark place for about a year. I used to be fit, top of my class, constantly reading and balancing my time so well that I could spend time with family and friends. Suddenly I was stricken with intense pain, malaise and slowly losing a will to go on.

Image result for lofi raining gif

Auto immune diseases ain't fun.

It was a gradual descent that I only noticed once I realised I had been in bed for three days straight. Only now, about a year later, have I said Why? Why have I let my pain consume me and twist me into a husk of a human being? Me, an extrovert, is too afraid to go outside to buy milk and bread.

The Courage to Be Disliked is an extremely logic-oriented look at happiness and life. The book is structured as a dialogue between a philosopher and a youth. What I find wonderful is that in this dialogue, there is advice, but there is a story in this book. That is why you can't bunch this book in with The Secret or How to Make Friends and Power blah blah blah

The youth struggles to accept or understand the concepts that the philosopher presents, which is so relatable. The philosopher doesn't just tell you what to think, but creates a dialogue wherein the youth argues back and seeks to gain understanding.

The Courage to Be Disliked is not a rule book. It does not preach that x + yc = happiness. Rather, it says, why rely on x + yc to create happiness when it is an inherent choice within yourself?

There is a lot that goes on in this book, but to me, the biggest revelation were

1)All problems are interpersonal relationship problems.
2)Relationships should be horizontal and not vertical.
3)A community creates a sense of belonging; but only if you accept yourself.

1)Think of it this way; you are the only person left on earth. What does money represent? Nothing. At best you can use it as toilet paper or kindling for a fire. Without people, there are no problems - however, without others we are then nothing.

2)This has helped me a lot. A vertical relationship is one that goes along a hierarchy as sorts, where we see people as either above or below us; whereas a horizontal relationship is that of equals. If you create a horizontal relationship with one person, you will automatically have it with others.The philosopher explains that we should not compliment or insult anyone but only give them affirmations - sounds ridiculous, right? Hell yes. I thought, Kishimi, you're crazy. That's breaking the foundation of society.

But hey, nothing to lose. I tried it. Instead of saying to my closest friend "hey, your hair looks nice", I said "thank you for having me over. I appreciate it. You are a good friend."

And when I think about it, when someone appreciates you the feeling of happiness lasts so much longer than merely being told you are pretty/smart/strong/muscular/clever etc. And this leads to Kishimi's last point - community.

3) If we appreciate each other and learn from one another, we have a sense of belonging and community. However, we need to learn to like ourselves first. If we are constantly insecure, we will engage in vertical relationships (2) where we believe everyone is above us. If we do not believe in ourselves, how will we solve interpersonal conflicts (1)?

RuPaul says it best:

Image result for if you cant love yourself gif

Can I get an amen up in here?

None if this is easy. Kishimi says himself that it takes years to accept yourself for who you are. But you have nothing to lose by trying. This isn't a self-help book. You know what it is?

Image result for nudge out of the door gif

Important edit So in the comments, Christina kindly pointed out some difficulties when associating with a community. I think I didn't clarify what Kishimi means by "community". In the book, the philosopher and youth are a community within themselves. A community is a group of people, however small. But if you feel that you are inferior to them, you may still feel out of place and not be yourself. "Community" can refer to your workplace, your friend circle, your town or the world. By learning to respect yourself you can also understand which community is toxic or at odds with your own morality and which you can comfortably be with.

2021 edit: I can't believe this silly little review as reached so many people. Thank you so much to everyone <3

2023 edit: I can't believe the traction this review has received. Thank you all so much. Sometimes my only GR updates are people liking this review. A great thanks to all of you since it was a pouring out of my soul to write the review.
Profile Image for Heather!.
43 reviews53 followers
May 21, 2019
I don't know if I can get through all of this. I've never reviewed a book before I finished it, but I feel it's warranted here.

First, the title is a bait and switch as it is all about Western Adlerian psychology, not anything Japanese.

It's outdated. It's almost incoherent if you know anything about psychological or biological research of the last 80 years. Adler has the excuse of not knowing about that because he's dead. The authors of this book do not.

So far, the book is a circular argument: people choose their emotions to justify their goals. And people choose their goals because of fear. Y'all, fear is an emotion.

This book isn't deep or presenting anything I haven't heard a million times in pop psychology that's rampant in the west. It is victim blaming and presents all the ideas that our society uses to justify injustice. If this book accurately portrays Adler, it's not a surprise that Adler was a white man and that Dale Carniege loved him.

People born with nervous systems better adept at handling modern life/trauma and naturally skilled in self regulation will continue to find ways to pretend that we live in a meritocracy to justify their priviledged position in society.

The same people who expouse these ideas have no problem using modern science and behaviorism in social engineering to exploit the fact that you don't have as much free will as you're made to believe.

If you want some Eastern philosophy that teaches you how to not give a shit if people like you, I'd recommend Buddhism. It holds up to modern science much better than this.
1 review26 followers
February 10, 2017
This book was really famous in Japan, it became number one on the bestseller list in 2014. After then, it translated in Korean and it stayed on bestseller list for 33 weeks in Korea. At first time I heard this news, I doubt about this book. Because I had some biases about best sellers. But my professor just recommended this book to me, and I read it. And this book was totally different from other best sellers.

This book talks about 'Courage'. It says we need courage to be hated. Because people nowdays are too concentrated on other's opinion and don't want to be hated. And then they don't have enough time to focus on their real selves. Also, they don't know how wonderful they are. That's why we need courage to be hated.
Maybe some people think it’s strange. Because in common sense, we don’t want to be hated and just hold ourselves up to standards of others. At first time I thought like that, too. But when I finished this book, I realized that I am a main character of my life. More interesting, this book is based on psychologist, Adler. Adler was a contemporary of Freud and Jung. But he claimed the other side of Freud and Jung. Freud and Jung focused on result, while Adler focused on process and purpose. It means Freud and Jung believe that past effect future, the Trauma Theory. In contrast, Adler says past is just past and it has no effect to future. We only need to focus on now and present. So that’s why we should concentrate on our own selves.
I totally agree with Adler. Because sometimes Trauma Theory make people just stuck in their past and self-justification themselves. Whatever happened over the past of year is history. It is just a PAST. So what we have to do is focusing on HERE NOW and ourselves. That’s why we need courage to be hated.

Before I read this book, I worried about other’s opinions about me. And It was so tired life. After I finished this book, I can totally concentrate on myself, and I don’t care about other’s judgements about me. That is not my field, but other’s field. I really want to thank this book, and now I understand why this stayed so long in best seller in Japan and Korea. I hope this book translated in English, so other people can read this book.
Profile Image for Bridget.
Author 0 books93 followers
July 23, 2018
Victim blaming. “Trauma does not exist” “People CHOOSE to be unhappy”. This is the worst book I have ever read. So glad it was a give away. I’ll be regifting it to file 13.
Profile Image for Reba.
28 reviews12 followers
December 27, 2017
I found the tone of this book contrived and condescending, with poorly written dialogue (although hard to know how much of that is due to the translation).

The worst faults for me, however, were the offensive, compassionaless, victim-blaming ideas such as 'trauma does not exist' (a heading of a sub-chapter), expanded on to state that a person suffering from agorophobia is choosing to do so to treated as special by their parents. Second worst would be the poor logic used to 'prove' these ideas.

Profile Image for Krystal.
1,652 reviews383 followers
July 30, 2021
Inspiring, thought-provoking and deeper than a Taylor Swift song.

'All you can do with regard to your own life is choose the best path that you believe in. On the other hand, what kind of judgement do people pass on that choice? That is the task of other people, and is not a matter you can do anything about.'

This quote kinda sums up the book. It's about returning the focus to only what you can affect, and living your own life a moment at a time.

There are some ideas here that are familiar to me but I really enjoyed the way they were approached. Yes, you need to have the courage to be who you believe you should be, with no influence from the opinions of others. This book discusses how that becomes possible. It's not something you can change instantly, despite what this book suggests. You need to be open, and work constantly to remind yourself of practising task separation etc. You need to continue working at these habits until they become second nature. Like anything, changing your mindset requires practice.

Okay. Let's talk about the ugly stuff.

There are some really tough ideas here; one in particular being, 'trauma does not exist'. This is quite damaging if you take it at surface level, but once you understand the Alderian psychological viewpoint they are communicating, it becomes a little clearer. It's not about victim blaming or anything similar - it's about how a person responds to traumatic events. And yes, it is really tough to comprehend, but the notion is that people who let their life be defined by traumatic events in their past are holding onto it for some subconscious purpose. I think when you contemplate it further, it goes a way to explaining why some people are broken by trauma, where others become stronger. But the whole overall concept is about living life in the moment so it makes sense that they are discarding past events. If you're offended easily, this is one section that's going to put you off completely. But if you're open-minded, let the book explain itself and it might actually help you with overcoming trauma.

This book is quite easy to read, which is uncommon for a book that deals with some pretty heavy material. The format of the Youth vs Philosopher in conversation means that objections you might have are likely to be addressed. There were some objections that I thought were a bit ridiculous, so I guess how you feel about the format will depend on how skeptical you are.

I wouldn't necessarily call this a hippie book, but it's very in line with the 'mindfulness' trend that's been taking over the world lately. Its simplicity will help it reach a wider audience and it's quite logical. It gets a little confusing in parts but overall there are some great nuggets of wisdom contained within its text.

I really enjoyed reading this, but could only do so at certain times because if you don't quite process a sentence you lose track easily. So make sure your mind is open when you read it and you should take away a lot of new ideas.
Profile Image for Krishna Chaitanya.
68 reviews121 followers
December 9, 2020
Teleology: The study of the purpose of the given phenomenon, rather than it's cause.

The past events does not define our present or future. People are not driven by past causes, but move toward goals that they themselves set.

Ever wonder what makes you angry?

The first thing that pops in my mind is, people get angry because of others or any external triggers, but in reality, people fabricate anger such that they can make the other person to submit. Anger is a means to achieve a goal. Anger is a tool that can be taken out as needed.
This book teaches that there are better tools of communication than anger.

Do you feel inferior to others?
Inferiority Complex is just an excuse, e.g., I'm not well educated, so, I cannot succeed in any job. If one is stuck in inferiority complex, they want to use their misfortune to their advantage and develop Superiority complex, boasting their achievements and misfortunes.
Where as, a feeling of inferiority is healthy and can be used as a launch pad to achieve their goals. e.g., I'm not well educated, I need to work hard and improve.

In an argument, the other person hurling personal insults at you?
If so, then that person is challenging to a power struggle, meaning, he wants to win an argument at any cost, even though the fault is on his side. Keep in mind that, if you won the argument, the dispute doesn't end there, the other person goes to revenge stage.
Remember that admitting fault is not defeat. To prevent an interpersonal relationship from reaching revenge stage, when one is challenged to a power struggle, one must never allow oneself to be taken in.

All problems are interpersonal relationship problems.
Problems are inevitable and cannot avoid them. But, you can bravely face them by adjusting your behaviour. There are two objectives for this behaviour:
i) To be self-reliant
ii) To live in harmony with society
The objectives for psychology that supports these behaviours are:
i) The consciousness that I have the ability.
ii) The consciousness that People are my comrades.

This book is a revelation of harsh truths, difficult to accept but a necessity to grow.
Profile Image for Kristine.
326 reviews3 followers
February 18, 2019
For a start, readers should know that there is no "Japanese phenomenon" here. This is psychobabble based on Alfred Adler's teachings written by Japanese authors. Framing this book as a "Japanese phenomenon" misleads the reader, and is an outright misrepresentation by the authors.

This book is loosely based on Socrates' teachings (I'm being generous here) and the Adlerian School of Psychotherapy, born out the same movement (the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society) that gave us Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, which happened in Greece and Austria respectively. Not Japan.

The conversational format of this book is, at best, a distraction and detracts from any beneficial advice the reader may discern. The manner in which the authors employ the conversation format alienates and humiliates the reader by equating them to a temperamental, and bratty "youth" who continually objects and resists the teachings of the Adlerian School. There are ways to execute the conversational format without alienating your readers or objectors, without resorting to humiliation to make your point; the authors executed this poorly.

There is an insidious theme of submission throughout the book and Adler's system of victim blaming is obvious and the author's promotion and advancement of this tactic is negligent. That being said, one shouldn't be surprised by these trends given that Adler was, among other things, a known homophobe and socialist. Not really comrade material, but you aren't supposed to care about that, are you?
Profile Image for Kalyn Nicholson.
Author 3 books9,529 followers
June 18, 2020
I have goosebumps finishing this book. So many strong pieces of wisdom within these pages that not only had me rethink many of the conclusions I have on life but also allowed me to put new truths into action and feel the weight in the validity of these teachings.
I will re-read this for many years to come.
Profile Image for Shauna Birkett.
232 reviews3 followers
January 9, 2019
While I can acknowledge that this book added value to my life, I had *serious* issues with several points of this "phenomenon" which is ultimately why I am giving it only one star.

I'd like to start by saying that I listened to this on Audible and that was a pleasant experience - as it's written as a dialogue between two people, it is read in that style. If you are going to pick this up, I highly recommend the audio version.

I found myself yelling in my car at the old philosopher several times, agreeing with the young man. But that did prompt me to reflect on the points being made and helped me come to some new conclusions. I especially liked the points made about contributions to others, confidence v. trust, and tasks that are yours or someone else's.

I think it's negligent and dangerous of a doctrine to boldly and consistently deny or trivialize some very serious issues. To say that trauma does not exist is to deny a ton of scientific evidence to the contrary - whether or not Adler believed it exists, our body reacts to it subconsciously *because it does exist*. The victim blaming here alienates anyone that has experienced trauma in their lives, but I guess according to this book the past doesn't matter either so we shouldn't even be thinking about it. I also vehemently disagree with the assessment of self harm in this book. The ideology of this book completely ignores and even negates mental and behavioral disorders and it's clear that Adler had no grasp on them at all.

The book also negates that some people are born with more privilege than others and that is just not true. In theory I understand what Adler was saying but he's also a white man. Again, I think this is a blissfully ignorant viewpoint.
Profile Image for Vui Lên.
Author 1 book2,468 followers
April 19, 2020
Đọc lại lần 2 để làm booktalk cho mấy bạn.

Đọc lần hai thấy thậm chí còn xuất sắc hơn lần một. Dù lần này thì có tới 40% quan điểm của sách mình không còn đồng ý. Nhưng dù sao những quan điểm về mối quan hệ hàng ngang, hàng dọc, bản chất ý nghĩa cuộc đời vẫn rất là xuất sắc.

Cuốn sách này dùng những cuộc hội thoại của chàng trai trẻ và triết gia để đơn giả hóa kiến thức tâm lí của Alfred Adler, một trong 3 cây đại thụ trong làng tâm lý học. Cái hay của nó là những câu hỏi, những câu trả lời đều thực tế, dễ hiểu và có thể phục được đa số độc giả.

Cuốn sách rất hay để bạn hiểu được vai trò của mình với chính mình và với những mối quan hệ xung quanh.
Profile Image for Driver.
566 reviews3 followers
June 9, 2019
Apparently "there is no trauma" because you simply just choose to be traumatized and it's really just up to you whether you want to magically snap your finger and get out of this damn trauma rut.
So why dontcha already, huh?!
Okay. Not that I'm a huge fan of Adler anyway but this is brazenly taking out of context the man's writings too.
This book read a lot like other pseudo-scientific books like this whole law of attraction stuff that's been running rampant in the past 10+ years. Ironically these are the same principles Scientology and cults in general employ: If you're not content, it's your fault. Negative feelings are bad. You must be happy and do your own, unique thing 24/7 and 100%.
From a psychological standpoint this is a complete nightmare concocted out of misunderstood psychological and esoteric garbage theories wildly patched together and ending up as something even more frightening than Ed Gein's human skin suit.
It's a no from me.
Profile Image for Alessandra Nigro.
3 reviews6 followers
June 9, 2018
I rarely leave reviews here on Goodreads, but this book has the potential to change lives.
It introduces the reader to so many new concepts, yet in such an approachable way, that every chapter ends with an aha-moment.
Read this book if you're into personal development, if you want to completely change your opinion about happiness.
Read it if you are struggling with your introvert personality, if you have trauma to overcome and relationships to heal (especially with your parents).
Profile Image for Giang Le.
15 reviews18 followers
January 21, 2020
I tried to like this book, I really did. I unlearned all of my predisposition and tried to embrace the school of Adlerian psychology that this book preached, but to no avail. To be fair, I completely agree with many of the ideas proposed in this book about how to live your life healthier, like the separation of tasks and that you shouldn't care about how everyone around you think of you, but that's only because I have always considered them to be common sense instead of some profound, radical ideas that Adler and his students came up with. But however I tried, I cannot bring myself to reconcile with Adlerian teleology (attribution of goal) and its complete disregard for aetiology (attribution of cause). It doesn't matter that teleology is counter-intuitive; upon closer inspection most things in life tend to be so. The problem is that it is utterly senseless. You cannot seriously tell me that however I feel about other people is not because of their impression on me but instead because of my own pre-established conception of them, tell me to dismiss causes entirely, that every problem I encounter is because I choose to be in such situation, and then expect to be taken seriously. This reeks of either the kind of victim blaming mentality that justifies assault, or the kind of misguided self-reliance that blame the homeless for being lazy while the 1% earn millions per second for merely existing. By extension of Adlerian logic, trauma doesn't exist, toxic behaviours don't exist, and every problem can be solved by just looking into yourself instead of, you know, the actual problem. Maybe I'm just stupid, but this alone is enough to unravel the entire philosophy of Adlerian psychology for me, and to make it difficult for me to indulge any further into this rabbit hole. The condescending tone doesn't help, either, though I did enjoy the format of a Socratic dialogue. I won't say the book is a 1/5 because I did enjoy parts of it, but holy fuck it came really close.
32 reviews17 followers
July 31, 2018
This book is insulting to the field of psychology and to humanity in general. The premise is that abuse and trauma just need to be forgotten and people just need to move on because they're choosing to be traumatized.

If you don't enjoy critical thinking and just want to brainwashed then this book is for you.
Profile Image for J & J .
190 reviews59 followers
November 12, 2018
I didn't like the "play" format of this book. For me, it would have been much more effective in a traditional non-fiction style.
Profile Image for Lumashel.
6 reviews3 followers
January 12, 2019
My words would be worthless so I just quote:"It is similar with the shock experienced by someone who, after many years of being nearsighted, puts on glasses for the first time"
Profile Image for Emma Sea.
2,190 reviews1,079 followers
June 11, 2018
TLDR: bought a dead tree copy for my daughter. If I leave her with any useful legacy I'd like it to be introducing her to this book.


So, it's not that I'm not a fan of the Socratic Method, it's just that the particular format of this book is tiresome. It's written as a dialogue over 5 sessions between The Philosopher and The Youth, and 90% of my irritation is because of the Youth is written as both extremely abrasive in manner, and dense as a plank.

However the contents of the book are excellent, and covers a lot of things I've been thinking for a while. Like, the way we frame education is completely screwed up. As kids, at least 75% of the time we carry out tasks because we want the praise of the teacher for a job well done, not because we are interested in the task or want to learn about a topic. So it's great to have a framework to hang these thoughts on, and I'm grateful to authors for introducing me to Adlerian psychology.

The section on labour and community makes this an exceedingly useful accompaniment to any book deconstructing classical capitalism (and especially Bullshit Jobs: A Theory)

Despite the style of writing I do rec this book.
Profile Image for Stephie.
375 reviews17 followers
November 25, 2018
Got halfway through and had to give up. The book is set out as a Socratic discussion, but I didn’t like that. It felt condescending rather than interesting.

I don’t think I agree with many of Alfred Adler’s ideas as represented in this book, particularly his views on trauma, which he says “does not exist”. Maybe that’s a helpful way of thinking for some people, but it doesn’t sit well with me. His ideas might be more nuanced, but if they are, I don’t think the book did much to convey that. It was all a bit too simple and very “self-help”.

I suppose when I saw this was written by a philosopher and framed as a Socratic discussion I thought I’d be getting something quite different.
Profile Image for Nguyên ngộ ngộ.
197 reviews218 followers
July 26, 2018
Review 1:
ui za...sách viết theo lối SONG THOẠI cực hay luôngggg
thông điệp ko mới nha, ko mới nha, nói về những thứ self-help nói đầy luôn: HOÀN CẢNH, BIỆN HỘ, TỰ DO LỰA CHỌN...nhưng cách đối thoại để lòi ra tận cùng của LOGIC thì cực đã luôn nhá

Đọc phê.

Review 2.
nếu đọc ko "vô" cuốn 7 thói quen của Stephen R.Covey,
hãy chuyển qua đọc cuốn này.
đối thoại để đẩy logic tới tận cùng!

Review 3:
má ơi, ngẫm nghĩ lại, cuốn sách này hay nhất là ở chỗ, tác giả giải thích được TỰ DO, TỰ TI, TỰ TÔN, TỰ TIN, HẠNH PHÚC, Ý NGHĨA ĐỜI...chỉ trên 1 tiền đề duy nhất.
Chỉ tựa vào 1 "điểm" duy nhất để lý giải: "MỌI PHIỀN MUỘN ĐỀU BẮT ĐẦU TƯ QUAN HỆ GIỮA NGƯỜI VỚI NGƯỜI"
Những cái khác tác giả đẻ ra đâu tầm 10 keywords để đắp vào tiền đề.
1 tiền đề
10 keywords mới diễn giải
Những ví dụ gần gũi để lập luận.
Lối viết song thoại đặc sắc
-> làm nên cuốn sách toẹt vời này
Profile Image for Hamad.
1,048 reviews1,381 followers
October 2, 2022
This Review ✍️ Blog 📖 Twitter 🐦 Instagram 📷 Support me

“Do Not Live to Satisfy the Expectations of Others”

Actual Rating: 1.5 Stars
July's non-fiction book of the month.

I came upon this book on a post while I was going through my social media and I liked the name and decided to read it at one point and the experience was not as good as I wanted it to be. The book discusses Adlerian psychology and it is written as a conversation between a young man and a philosopher and that’s where things started going wrong.

I think the book could have been a million times better if it was written normally and not like a conversation/ debate because it was so cringy, over the top and no one talk like that in real life. The author kept going around and around the same concept without expanding it well which made this tiresome to go through.

There was a point very early in the book where the authors were trying to explore the main idea in the book by giving a medical example. They said that suppose you are with fever and cold and when you went to the doctor he told you the reason for that was because you weren’t dressed well when you went out. That would make you unsatisfied because you want to get rid of the symptoms by any measures necessary. At that -very early- point I knew it would be a tough ride because actually knowing the cause is very important thing in medicine and we always try to find the root cause and treat it rather than treat symptoms. The authors rely on this philosophy that the past does not matter and I have to disagree. There was a lot of talk about how trauma does not exist and about victim blaming that did not click well with me and with many people from all the reviews that I have seen.

I can’t deny that there were some interesting ideas that made me stop and think about them and then there are some outdated things that I did study in neuroscience but once again, the way the info was presented made it even harder to digest and accept.

Summary: Unfortunately this was not life-changing or even as intriguing as I wanted it to be. There are two main problems: The first one is that the philosophy itself is outdated and denies many important things that science proved (Always team science here) and the second one is that it was written in the most condescending way ever which make it even harder to go through. Overall, I don’t recommend this book for anyone willing to learn more about this Adlerian psychology.
Profile Image for Sandhya Chandramohan.
86 reviews42 followers
January 1, 2019
Alfred Adler is the relatively unknown 3rd giant of psychology after the likes of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung but with arguably the most ground-breaking work of any. Adlerian psychology feels counter-intuitive at first glance in many ways, but one powerful idea after another it makes it's case, creating one of the strongest, most foolproof frameworks ever for thinking. I don't think I will ever go back to being the same person again, now that I have read this book.

Adlerian psychology is opposed to Freudian psychology in the sense that it is non-deterministic and asserts that, people act to achieve certain goals instead of being creatures who are driven by causes in their past. No matter what has occurred in your life up to this point, it should have no bearing at all on how you live life from now on. Your past does not determine your future, what you do right now in this instant, is what matters. One of the core ideas that it lays forward is the fact that, all problems are interpersonal relationship problems. People, either consciously or sub-consciously resort to crutches such as anxiety, self-deprecation, people-pleasing behaviour as an insurance against fear of rejection, fear of being disliked. He also asserts that, if there is competition at the core of a person’s interpersonal relationships, he will not be able to escape interpersonal relationship problems. Because at the end of a competition, there are always winners and losers. Adler sets forth a thought framework called 'Separation of tasks' to set you on the path to mastering your interpersonal relationships and finding the courage to be disliked and consequently be free and happy.

Written in the form of a dialogue between a philosopher and his disciple in the Socratic tradition of discourse, it's a very compelling read, that I simply could not put down. Adlerian psychology also known as "Individual psychology" is a very empowering scheme of thought at the very least. I can not recommend this book enough.
Profile Image for Amber .
344 reviews104 followers
April 3, 2021
Sometimes a book comes into your life at the precise moment that you need it. For me, this is one of those books. This does not mean that I completely agree with all of the ideas that were explored (particularly in relation to the rather flippant and simplistic explanations of self-harm or the fact that its discussions failed to address psychosomatic disorders as a potential exception to some of the arguments). However, this book provided so many light bulb moments to me and related to my current life struggles in such a specific way that it would almost make me believe in fate.

My only real problem with this book was that it repeatedly talks about how it is going to provide practical steps for putting the theory into practice and I don't think it did that enough (it actually talked about how it was going to do that more than it actually did).

I know a lot of readers may dislike the interview format but personally I thought that this technique made some very complex ideas a lot more accessible. You may read this as the authors telling you that everything is in your control (trust me, I have read enough self-help books including that and it is infuriating) but I actually feel like this wasn't what they were trying to do at all, perhaps they could have made that a little clearer. I also believe that a lot of readers will dislike this book for reasons that the book itself indirectly explains. It tells some difficult truths and you will feel vulnerable, defensive, and potentially angry whilst reading this but as the book itself states, 'You must not use the power of anger to look away.'

Don't let anger and complacency prevent you from hearing what you need to hear. Try to have the courage to be disliked, the courage to grow, and the courage to be happy.
Profile Image for Hope.
205 reviews8 followers
August 1, 2019
Find my full review here: https://bound2books.co/2019/08/02/wha...

I bought The Courage to Be Disliked because I was curious to learn more about what the book had to offer. There has been an explosion of self-help literature in the 21st Century, and it probably has something to do with our chronic feelings of loneliness, burnout, and fear of not fitting into society. Japanese ways of thinking have also become extremely popular due to the rise of Marie Kondo. So this book seemed to hit all the right buzzwords for today’s society. Yet, this book fell short. Very short.

This book, first written in Japanese by Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga is a dialogue between a ‘Philosopher’ and a ‘Youth’. The two discuss Adlerian philosophy in comparison to Freudian notions of psychology and philosophy. The dialogue, I assume, is supposed to imitate the Adlerian discussions he had in cafés around Europe. However, it sounds like two Japanese robots had their dialogue recorded and then translated by Google Translate. Needless to say, the conversation in the book had the same flow as a low-fibre diet.

The Courage to Be Disliked is particularly frustrating if you have studied philosophy and/or psychology at length. Not because the authors say something that isn’t true, but more that they leave things extremely vague, unexplained, and sometimes wholly superficial. This is where I feel the book does a disservice to its audience. There is a part of me that hopes this is due to the horrible translation. However, I fear it is the way the book has been written. So rather than write the book off as terrible, I wanted to unpack some of the points made in the book and hopefully try to frame them in a more positive light.

Wrong: Deny trauma

One of the first things the book talks about is that everyone should deny trauma. It says that people use past trauma for selfish reasons. Like you had a bad relationship with your mother, so you can’t have relationships with women now that you are older. This, according to the authors, would be an example of using trauma as an excuse for your present troubles.

Denying trauma is just devastating and an extremely slippery slope.

“I don’t want to work, so I’ll create an awful boss, or I don’t want to acknowledge my incapable self, so I’ll create an awful boss.” p130

As someone who has experienced abusive work environments in the past as well as exploitative relationships, the sentiment as quoted above is awful.

“I brought out the memory of being hit because I don’t want my relationship with my father to get better.” p148

Denying people’s traumas is what rape culture and other horrible societ,al ideals are built on, and this almost made me throw the book across the room. So what should we do with trauma?

Denying trauma helps no one. Suppressing our past experiences can and often do lead to more mental and physical health issues later on in life. It isn’t that we shouldn’t believe that trauma exists, but rather, that we should not let our past traumas control our present or future entirely. Of course, we shouldn’t let those who have hurt us win by letting that trauma control our lives, but we also should not deny trauma. We should learn to live with it. This is what I hope the two authors meant when they talked about denying trauma, but their discussion of it is so bad that it doesn’t actually help anyone, in my opinion.

Dealing with trauma is like weightlifting. Without any previous experience, you are suddenly given 100kg weight to lift. At first, you cannot even lift the weight a centimetre off the ground. Your muscles shake, you start to sweat, and you will inevitably fail. However, with time and the right help and training, you begin to lift that weight every day until you can carry it around without even noticing it. Although, some days when you’re feeling off and not quite yourself that weight will feel heavy again and you might even need to put it down to rest a bit. But on other days, you will be running like the wind towards your bright, amazing future, and that weight will feel like a feather in your hair.

Wrong: Reject power structures

Now, I know what you might be thinking here. Surely getting rid of power structures and creating a more equal and less competitive society will be better for everyone involved, right? However, to ignore or reject power structures is to deny the society we live in today completely. It is naive and utopian at best. We should strive to create horizontal rather than vertical relationships, as the authors suggest. Although there are many ways to think about power dynamics.

The relationships we have with each other are on a smaller scale than other relationships involving power. These are close interpersonal relationships between small groups of people. Within these relationships, we can look at creating equality and level power dynamics. We can reject competitiveness and lift each other up. Although, when we start to look at society and the structures of power and the discourses of power these structures create, we soon have a different problem.

Michel Foucault, a French philosopher, literary critic, and historian is perhaps the most well-known for talking about discourses and power structures. People who fall outside the scope of ‘society norms’—read LGBTQIA+, women, POC, disabled people, non-Christians, etc.—do not have access to the same power, control, or agency over their lives. I wonder if this gross oversight on power structures is due to Japan’s relatively homogenous society with very few non-Japanese people living there. However, it still doesn’t excuse discussions about women, disabled people, gender rights, or sexuality.

Right-ish: know your task

The only saving grace of this book for me was the authors’ discussions on tasks, sort of. It is important to remember what is our task or what we are capable of controlling. Our boss getting angry with us is one thing. However, it is not our task to control our boss’ anger. Knowing what you can and cannot control is extremely important. It is also essential to know when you need to step up to do something and when you need to stay in your lane. Worrying about how other people perceive you is not your task, nor is it your task to make everyone around you contented.

The part that gets a bit questionable here is that tasks are also built on larger societal structures. One has to only think of how gendered our societies are to realise that knowing your task might reinforce gender stereotypes. Men could easily think, cooking is not my task; being emotional is not my task; cleaning the house is not my task. Similarly, women can also think, being strong is not my task; owning my sexuality is not my task; getting a career is not my task.

As you can see, the aforementioned topics require more discussions than what the book offers its readers. It is extremely worrying that many people will read this book without enough context to understand the full picture. The Courage to Be Disliked is a bit like a pipe dream. It asks us to do things to better ourselves but completely disregards the actual world we live in.

Utopian or delusional? Have you read any self-help books that you felt didn’t quite meet the mark? As always, share the reading love.
Profile Image for Tonkica.
648 reviews122 followers
October 21, 2021

Jedan filozof i jedan pisac udružili su znanje i u ovoj nam knjizi u obliku dijaloga između Mladića i Filozofa, pokušali odgovoriti na puno životnih pitanja. Ideje se oslanjaju na teorije Alfreda Adlera velikana psihologije 19. stoljeća, manje poznatog od Freuda i Jounga, ali ne i manje utjecajnog. U dinamičnom razgovoru postavljaju se i promišljaju razna svakodnevna pitanja, ali i ona koja se uvijek pitamo.

Cijeli osvrt pronađite ovdje: https://knjige-u-svom-filmu.webador.c...
Profile Image for Nishant Nikhil.
22 reviews29 followers
December 31, 2018
The content of this book is amazing.
I remember me discussing with Himanshu, Abhishek and Ankit, a lot of things which are related to the book. This book gave words to those musings and structured a lot of mental models for me. It made me wonder about a lot of experiences I had and am having. One advice: start acting the way this book suggests at least for the time span of the read.
Few lessons:
- Your past doesn't determine you, it is how you make of it.
- Don't rush for answers, arrive at them. (*****)
- Everyone desires for the "pursuit of superiority", shouldn't be against others but your own self.
- Do the separation of tasks.
- Don't strive for recognition from others.
- Make horizontal relationships, there's no such thing as a junior or a senior in friendship.
- Self acceptance
- confidence in others
- contribution to others


- PHILOSOPHER: Yes. I have a young friend who dreams of becoming a novelist, but he never seems to be able to complete his work. According to him, his job keeps him too busy, and he can never find enough time to write novels, and that’s why he can’t complete work and enter it for writing awards. But is that the real reason? No! It’s actually that he wants to leave the possibility of “I can do it if I try” open, by not committing to anything. He doesn’t want to expose his work to criticism, and he certainly doesn’t want to face the reality that he might produce an inferior piece of writing and face rejection. He wants to live inside that realm of possibilities, where he can say that he could do it if he only had the time, or that he could write if he just had the proper environment, and that he really does have the talent for it. In another five or ten years, he will probably start using other excuses like “I’m not young anymore” or “I’ve got a family to think about now.”

- PHILOSOPHER: There is nothing particularly wrong with the feeling of inferiority itself. You understand this point now, right? As Adler says, the feeling of inferiority can be a trigger for striving and growth. For instance, if one had a feeling of inferiority with regard to one’s education, and resolved to oneself, I’m not well educated, so I’ll just have to try harder than anyone else, that would be a desirable direction. The inferiority complex, on the other hand, refers to a condition of having begun to use one’s feeling of inferiority as a kind of excuse. So one thinks to oneself, I’m not well educated, so I can’t succeed, or I’m not good-looking, so I can’t get married.

- PHILOSOPHER: Yes. Even if you are avoiding your life tasks and clinging to your life-lies, it isn’t because you are steeped in evil. It is not an issue to be condemned from a moralistic standpoint. It is only an issue of courage.

- One has to get recognition, or one will suffer. If one doesn’t get recognition from others and from one’s parents, one won’t have confidence. Can such a life be healthy? So one could think, God is watching, so accumulate good deeds. But that and the nihilist view that “there is no God, so all evil deeds are permitted” are two sides of the same coin. Even supposing that God did not exist, and that we could not gain recognition from God, we would still have to live this life. Indeed, it is in order to overcome the nihilism of a godless world that it is necessary to deny recognition from other people.

-You are worried about other people looking at you. You are worried about being judged by other people. That is why you are constantly craving recognition from others. Now, why are you worried about other people looking at you, anyway? Adlerian psychology has an easy answer. You haven’t done the separation of tasks yet. You assume that even things that should be other people’s tasks are your own. Remember the words of the grandmother: “You’re the only one who’s worried how you look.” Her remark drives right to the heart of the separation of tasks. What other people think when they see your face—that is the task of other people and is not something you have any control over.

- YOUTH: What’s unpleasant is the feeling that from the words “Good job!” one is being talked down to.
PHILOSOPHER: Exactly. In the act of praise, there is the aspect of it being “the passing of judgment by a person of ability on a person of no ability.” A mother praises her child who has helped her prepare dinner, saying, “You’re such a good helper!” But when her husband does the same things, you can be sure she won’t be telling him, “You’re such a good helper!”
YOUTH: Ha-ha, you are right about that.
PHILOSOPHER: In other words, the mother who praises the child by saying things like “You’re such a good helper!” or “Good job!” or “Well, aren’t you something!” is unconsciously creating a hierarchical relationship and seeing the child as beneath her.

- PHILOSOPHER: And there are also times when someone deceives you, and you get used that way. But look at it from the standpoint of someone who has been taken advantage of. There are people who will continue to believe in you unconditionally even if you are the one who has taken advantage of them. People who will have confidence in you no matter how they are treated. Would you be able to betray such a person again and again?

- In such a situation, normally one would think, Why won’t they give me a hand? or Why do I have to do all the work? Even if I do not hear the words “thank you” from my family while I am cleaning up, I want them to think that I am of use to the family. Instead of thinking about what others can do for me, I want to think about, and put into practice, what I can do for other people. Just by having that feeling of contribution, the reality right in front of me will take on a completely different hue. In fact, if I am grumbling to myself as I wash the dishes, I am probably not much fun to be around, so everyone just wants to keep their distance. On the other hand, if I’m humming away to myself and washing the dishes in good spirits, the children might come and give me a hand. At the very least, I’d be creating an atmosphere in which it is easier for them to offer their help.

- PHILOSOPHER: What kind of goal is the act of going on a journey? Suppose you are going on a journey to Egypt. Would you try to arrive at the Great Pyramid of Giza as efficiently and quickly as possible, and then head straight back home by the shortest route? One would not call that a “journey.” You should be on a journey the moment you step outside your home, and all the moments on the way to your destination should be a journey. Of course, there might be circumstances that prevent you from making it to the pyramid, but that does not mean you didn’t go on a journey. This is “energeial life.”
Profile Image for عزام.
475 reviews554 followers
February 27, 2022
يعرف المهتمّون بعلم النفس أطروحات فرويد ويونج
لكن من يعرف أطروحات ثالث العمالقة ألفريد إدلر؟
مع أنّه أقربهم للدين والأخلاق والاتجاهات الحديثة
وعلى بعض أفكاره نهضت اختزالات التنمية البشرية
وعلى رأسها الروّاد مثل ديل كارنيجي وستيفن كوفي
يزعم المؤلّفان بأنّ الكتاب خلاصة لأهمّ أفكار إدلر
صاغاه على شكل محاورة عميقة بين شابّ وفيلسوف
بأسلوب مبسّط وممتع وعمليّ وترجمة لا بأس بها
تمنّيت لو تحدّى الشابّ أفكار الفيلسوف لتوضيحها
ميزته الأهمّ أنّه لا يرمي كلّ شيء على الماضي
بل -بشكل أدقّ- لا يرمي أيّ شيء على الماضي
وينقلك من التفكير التبريريّ والتفسيريّ والتسبيبيّ
إلى التفكير في ا��لحظة الآن وإمكاناتك المتاحة
فحياتك السابقة لا تستطيع تقرير أيّ لحظة قادمة
ومن ذلك إنكاره الوجيه لفكرة الصدمات النفسيّة
أو عقد الطفولة المتراكمة وباقي شعوذات فرويد
يخبرك أن تطفئ النور على الماضي والمستقبل
وتركّز كلّ انتباهك فقط إلى اللحظة الحاضرة
لترقص على إيقاع اللحظة دون وجهة مقصودة
وهذا يربك عشّاق المظلوميّة المتّكئين على الماضي
ويجعل البعض يؤوّلها -خطأً- بأنّها لوم للضحية
والناس؟ يبيّن الكتاب كيفيّة الاستقلال والاستغناء عنهم
مع مرافقتهم والثقة بهم ونفعهم والتناغم معهم ومع الوجود
والنظر للعلاقات كلّها بشكل أفقيّ متجاور لا عاموديّ طبقيّ
والتفريق بين مهامّك ومهامّ الآخرين، فأن ترفق بهم مهمّتك
لكن أن يرفقوا هم بك فهذي مهمّتهم التي لا تنشغل بها
من أفكار الكتاب أنّ شهواتنا النفسيّة والجسديّة = طبيعيّة
مثل قوّة الجاذبيّة، التي تدحرج الحجارة لأسفل المنحدر
لكنّنا لسنا حجارة، بل كائنات قادرة على الصمود في وجه الغرائز
ونستطيع تسلّق المنحدر.. أمّا ضعيف الإيمان
سيتفاجأ بأنّه قد تدحرج وتكسّر حتّى صار
كرة صغيرة دائريّة ملساء قابعة في القاع
-فهل تكون هي ذاتك التي تعقد عليها الآمال؟-

ويوافق الكتاب عبارات السلف التي تواطأت
على أنّ الإنسان لا يبغض الآخرين بسبب قصورهم
بل بسبب علّة فيه تجعله يقرّر تركهم فيبدأ بملاحظة قصورهم
لا بأس في الترك، لكن مع كبح جماح النزعة نحو إساءة الظنّ
وترجيح التأويلات الفاسدة والتجسّس على المعايب
نعم، عنوان الكتاب له دلالة ضعيفة على المحتوى
Profile Image for Dean Ryan Martin.
205 reviews39 followers
July 31, 2022
"It's that you are disliked by someone. It is a proof that you are exercising your freedom and living in freedom, and a sign that you are living in accordance with your own principles (page 144)."


Yay: This book is uniquely written. It is formatted in an insightful easy-to-read dialogue between a Youth and a Philosopher. Their dialogue is not the casual conversation people do in everyday life. It is a high-quality conversation in which the Youth is not ashamed to show his vulnerability.

Their dialogue lasted for five nights (chapters). Before the first night, there is a brief introduction describing the Youth. Then, the Youth begins to have a conversation with the Philosopher.

Nay: This is not your usual non-fiction book. This is not the book for you if you expect a light romantic story. Some people might dislike it. Some might find it interesting. I, on the otherhand, love every page and every moment of the talk. It takes courage to understand what the Philosopher is discussing with the Youth. It even takes time to accept it.

Substance & Content: 4 stars!!!

Nay: There are disagreements between the Youth and the Philosopher. Disagreement is an essential part of their dialogue. The Youth gets angry and confused but the Philosopher has a way of turning those unhealthy emotions into healthy insights the Youth needs to consider applying to his life.

Yay: The dialogue between the Youth and Philosopher goes deep. It contains insights that are antitheses to normal social thinking (Adlerian Psychology). There are plenty of great lessons to learn in every page worth highlighting.

This is the kind of conversation that focuses on courage and freedom. This conversation can make you feel uncomfortable at first, but once you learn why to, when to and how to have an open-mind, this book serves as your therapy to having an improved vibrant mindset regardless of your age, gender and social status in life.
Profile Image for Thao Nguyen.
111 reviews25 followers
February 25, 2018
Mình mua cuốn sách này trong thời điểm cuối năm, bản thân vừa mới nhận ra một vài mối quan hệ không được tốt đẹp như mình nghĩ, người khác ghét mình, thiếu định hướng về tương lai và cảm thấy mọi thứ thật vô vọng và vô nghĩa.

Mình sẽ xếp cuốn sách này vào những cuốn sách phải đọc lại ít nhất 2 lần/năm cùng với cuốn 6 tỉ đường đến hạnh phúc. Nó đã giúp mình rất nhiều trong việc cân bằng mọi thứ, và khi đọc xong, bạn sẽ cảm thấy rằng "Đúng thật, cuộc đời thật đơn giản".

Sống hết mình với người khác là nhiệm vụ của mình, ghét mình là nhiệm vụ của họ. Mình chỉ cần làm tốt nhiệm vụ của mình mà thôi, không cần phải buồn rầu vì nhiệm vụ của người khác.

Và điều tâm đắc nhất trong cuốn sách này đó chính là "sống cống hiến cho người khác". Mình cũng như bao bạn trẻ khác, đã từng rơi vào tình huống hoang mang, không có mục tiêu của cuộc đời, không biết mình muốn gì. Và cuốn sách này đã cho tôi được một câu trả lời khiến tôi thỏa mãn: "Cậu đang hoang mang trước cuộc đời mình. Tại sao cậu lại hoang mang? Đó là vì cậu đang muốn chọn "tự do" nghĩa là chọn con đường không sợ bị người khác ghét, không phải sống cuộc đời của người khác. Cho dù cậu trải qua những khoảnh khắc như thế nào, cho dù có người ghét cậu, chỉ cần cậu không đánh mất ngôi sao dẫn đường là "cống hiến cho người khác", thì cậu sẽ không lạc lối và làm gì cũng được".
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