"The Courage To Be Disliked" by Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga

Review by Borodutch

"The Courage To Be Disliked" is a Japanese analysis of the work of a 19th-century European psychologist with a pinch of Ancient Greece philosophy. Such a mixture is already reason enough to read it! However, although Adlerian psychology (the book's topic) is opposed to Freudian and Jungian schools, it suffers from similar issues — primarily, lack of research and falsifiability.

Despite these criticisms, the book presents an interesting perspective on self-acceptance and personal responsibility. The authors suggest that people's unhappiness stems from the fear of not being accepted, which leads them to seek validation from others. The book argues that the solution to this problem is to break free from this fear and embrace the freedom of being oneself, even if others may not like it.

Overall, "The Courage To Be Disliked" is a thought-provoking read that encourages readers to take a step back and re-evaluate their priorities and values. Whether or not one agrees with the book's central ideas, it provides a new perspective on happiness and the importance of self-acceptance.

Damn, the two AI-generated paragraphs above are great yet so generic. Not sure if I'll be able to exploit ChatGPT for the book reviews fully.

The authors analyzed years of Adler's work and presented the main findings as a dialogue between a student and a philosopher. Why not a psychologist? That's because the findings are genuinely more about philosophy rather than psychology. It can be both a good thing and a bad thing about such a book.

I like how the authors turn upside down the Freudian "trauma" concept and the natural cause-and-effect relationship. Instead of saying, "your past determines your present (and hence your future)," Adler claimed that people decide who they are in every moment of their lives. On the other hand, Adler said that people don't get angry because of something but to achieve a goal — whether to gain attention or retaliate against something they didn't like or anything else.

The main ideas from the book closely interconnect with Taoism, Stoicism, Mimetic Theory, and even the advice from "Talking to Crazy"! Even though I take everything from Adler (and his "disciples") with a grain of salt, I can't ignore how nicely it fits into my existing world picture.

The concept of "all problems are interpersonal problems" rings true when you think enough about it. Would you be worried about anything beyond the essentials if there were no people around you? I doubt it. Adler did too.

However, most of the ideas in the book apply to healthy individuals without any neurological issues — whether physical or mental. But so do the ones from the most philosophies! One might think that "all problems with them are in their heads" — this is not true in some cases. If you suspect mental issues that degrade your everyday life, seek help immediately.

Considering that the book is relatively short, I can't see how reading it can hurt — but I do see how much value one can extract from it. I recommend reading "The Courage To Be Disliked" to virtually anyone.