I found an extraordinary travel companion in “The Courage to Be Disliked” by Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga, Embarking on a journey to Hyderabad for the Mega Live Surgery workshop by MAA ENT Hospital. This book, a gift from my Amazon Audible subscription, unfolds as a captivating dialogue between a philosopher and a young man. Together, they explore deep concepts of individual happiness, personal freedom, and the courage it takes to live true to oneself. Herein lies a detailed analysis of the profound lessons and transformative ideas presented in the book, encompassing its key themes and the impact it may have on its readers.

Freedom from the Opinions of Others

One of the book’s pivotal messages is the liberation from the weight of others’ judgments. It compellingly argues that anchoring our self-worth to external validations not only constricts our existence but also diverts us from pursuing genuine personal satisfaction. This resonated with me deeply, as it underscored the often overlooked truth about the pursuit of happiness – it is an inward journey, unshackled from societal approval.

The Past Does Not Determine the Future

“The Courage to Be Disliked” challenges the deterministic view that past traumas and experiences inevitably shape our future. Instead, it champions the empowering belief in our capacity to reinterpret our histories and make choices that carve paths toward happier futures. This principle is liberating, offering a fresh perspective on personal growth and the unbounded potential for change.

The Goal of Community Feeling

A striking aspect of the book is its emphasis on the importance of community and belonging. It posits that true happiness extends beyond self-centered pursuits to include the welfare of others. The narrative beautifully illustrates how selfless contributions not only enrich the lives of recipients but also bring profound satisfaction and a sense of connection to the giver, reinforcing the idea that our well-being is inextricably linked to the well-being of our community.

Separation of Tasks

The book introduces the concept of task separation, a practical approach to maintaining healthy relationships and personal autonomy. It teaches readers to discern between what is within their control and what falls under others’ purview. This lesson in boundary-setting is crucial for personal development and for fostering respect and understanding in various relationships.

The Courage to Be Happy

At the heart of the book lies the bold assertion that true happiness demands the courage to face change and potential disapproval. The fear of criticism, it argues, is a formidable barrier to pursuing what genuinely brings us joy. The narrative champions the bravery required to make choices that are authentically ours, presenting it as the true essence of freedom and happiness.


Another significant theme is the journey towards self-acceptance. The dialogue delves into the struggle many face in accepting their flaws and imperfections, proposing that embracing ourselves wholly is the first step towards genuine happiness. This segment of the book serves as a powerful reminder of the liberating power of self-love and the positive changes that stem from it.

Contribution to Society

Drawing from Adlerian psychology, the authors discuss how contributing to society’s welfare can be a profound source of happiness. The book encourages acts of kindness and emphasizes the joy derived from making meaningful contributions to the community, highlighting the dual benefit of enhancing both personal satisfaction and societal well-being.

Living in the Here and Now

Lastly, “The Courage to Be Disliked” advocates for a present-focused life, suggesting that dwelling on the past or fretting about the future detracts from the quality of our present experiences. It encourages readers to engage fully with the present moment, an approach that promises a more fulfilling and engaged existence.

Concluding words

“The Courage to Be Disliked” is more than just a book; it is a philosophical guide to rediscovering happiness and freedom in our lives. By challenging conventional beliefs about happiness, self-worth, and societal approval, Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga invite readers to embark on a transformative journey. Their narrative encourages us to live authentically, embrace the present, and find joy in the well-being of others, presenting a compelling argument for a life unchained from the fear of disapproval.

Prof. Dr. Prahlada N. B
3rd March 2024

Leave a reply