The Courage to be Disliked – Book Review

This is the first book that I’ve finished in 2020, and damn, is it a game-changer. I have to go into detail with this review, as there are a few things that are controversial that I would like to discuss! However, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I’m excited to talk about it! 


: The Courage to Be Disliked: How to free yourself, change your life and achieve real happiness
Author(s): Ichiro Kishimi, Fumitake Koga
Edition: Hardback
Language: English
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Pages: 288
Genre: Self-help, Philosophy, Non-fiction

Blurb (Goodreads)

The Japanese phenomenon that teaches us the simple, yet profound lessons required to liberate our real selves and find lasting happiness.

The Courage to be Disliked shows you how to unlock the power within yourself to become your best and truest self, change your future and find lasting happiness. Using the theories of Alfred Adler, one of the three giants of 19th century psychology alongside Freud and Jung, the authors explain how we are all free to determine our own future free of the shackles of past experiences, doubts and the expectations of others. It’s a philosophy that’s profoundly 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.

Three million copies sold worldwide.

“Unless one is unconcerned by other people’s judgments, has no fear of being disliked by other people, and pays the cost that one might never be recognized, one will never be able to follow through in one’s own way of living. That is to say, one will not be able to be free.”

Thoughts & Discussion

As you might have seen from my Instagram or other social media, this book has made quite the impression. It’s so different from anything I’ve experienced. I haven’t really read or studied philosophy before, but this book has got me intrigued and interested in learning. The Courage to be Disliked is being sold as a self-help book, but I wouldn’t really call it that. It’s mainly a dialogue between a frustrated and dissatisfied student and a hermit-like philosopher, who seems to have cut himself off from the rest of the world. The student approached the philosopher to try and understand more about his philosophical beliefs, and the two men engage in intense dialogues, which we are reading. It’s interesting, to say the least, as this is not a format that I am used to, but it was also very absorbing. There were moments when I couldn’t put the book down, and days when the pages I had read couldn’t leave my mind. As I said, it was absorbing, but at times it was difficult to read. There were pages and dialogues which struck a chord, and, in those moments, I had to put the book down and let myself absorb what I had read. The book took a while for me to read because of this. However, I’m glad to say that I did, no matter how difficult or uncomfortable it was at times.

This was a book I needed to read, and I’m glad that I found it in my local bookstore when I did. It was a little Christmas gift to myself, and it’s the best one I’ve given to myself, thus far.

The main lessons from this book were:

1. Your past does not need to define your present; you can choose to change your outlook at any moment.

2. The choices we make and the traumas that we let ourselves live with (and by that, I mean affect our present and future in unhealthy ways) are often excuses to hold ourselves back. 

This was by far one of the controversial points of the book, as the philosopher stated that trauma doesn’t exist. However, upon further explanation, I took that statement to mean that the Freudian view of trauma is denied, that the actions of the past have a strong influence on the actions of the present, as well as the future. It’s the commonly believed aetiological view that affects the way that we view the world around us. This was a huge shock to me when I first read it, but after letting it sit, I know that from my own ‘traumas’, they were difficult events, but I know that they don’t define me, and they shouldn’t influence my future and hold me back. Comfort and easiness are okay, but not if they harm me in the long run.

3. By focusing too much on my own worries, I shut out the people around me.

4. All problems are inter-relationship problems, even the ones you have with yourself.

5. If we view people as friends, not competition, or enemies, the world will be a better and more welcoming place.

6. ‘Having one’s own refuge’ and ‘community feeling’ are the same; we live to be ourselves and to serve the community in some way or another, to help make a change in any way. With this, we will be happy.

7. What is holding us back is a lack of courage. We are not courageous enough to be ourselves and to understand that other people’s opinions and thoughts of us are not our ‘tasks’, it is the task of others.

I wish that I could write more about this book – be a bit more eloquent, and more descriptive. But I know that my experience will be different from yours. So I hope that you approach this book with an open mind, and an eagerness for change, because this book will open you up and change the way you see the world, especially if you’re an overthinker and worrier like me.

Favorite quotes

“Your unhappiness cannot be blamed on your past or your environment. And it isn’t that you lack competence. You just lack courage. One might say you are lacking in the courage to be happy.”

“One has to stand on one’s own two feet and take one’s own steps forward with the tasks of interpersonal relations. One needs to think not, What will this person give me? but rather, What can I give to this person? That is commitment to the community.”

“None of us live in an objective world, but instead in a subjective world that we ourselves have given meaning to. The world you see is different from the one I see, and it’s impossible to share your world with anyone else.”

“A way of living in which one is constantly troubled by how one is seen by others is a self-centered lifestyle in which one’s sole concern is with the “I.”

“Loneliness is having other people and society and community around you, and having a deep sense of being excluded from them.”

“You are the only one who can change yourself.”

“No matter what has occurred in your life up to this point, it should have no bearing at all on how you live from now on.’ That you, living in the here and now, are the one who determines your own life.”

My Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Thank you so much for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it. What do you think about these types of books? Would you want to read this book? And would you recommend any books similar to this? Please let me know below!


Do you have an interest you’d like to tell others about? Or an opinion you’d like to share with the world? From politics to culture and sports, message us if you would like your articles published!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s