Review: Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life

Quick review for a quick read. I definitely like the concept of “ikigai” and looked forward to learning more about the concept based on the description this book gave. However, upon finishing this – I felt that some of the advice was helpful, but very generalized and unfocused in this book. You get tidbits of insight on Japanese culture here, but it’s more in the eyes of the authors experiencing the culture than it is direct voicing from the culture itself. That’s a problem when you’re trying to directly center on aspects which are unique to a specific culture – it shouldn’t be told through a lens that’s summarized and doesn’t give a true backstory. I felt many of the concepts here were helpful ones from a health perspective, but it still wasn’t concrete enough for me to feel like it was supported by research, experience, or cultural insights. It’s a quick read and doesn’t take much time at all to get through, but I would encourage others to – if you’re going to pick this up – seek out other narratives that explain the concept of “ikigai” – this only scratches a small surface, and the experience is a bit unfulfilling at the potential opportunities the narrative could’ve used to dig deeper.

Overall score: 2.5/5 stars.


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