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Publisher's Summary

Bring meaning and joy to all your days with this internationally best-selling guide to the Japanese concept of ikigai - the happiness of always being busy - as revealed by the daily habits of the world's longest-living people.

"Only staying active will make you want to live a hundred years." (Japanese proverb)

According to the Japanese, everyone has an ikigai - a reason for living. And according to the residents of the Japanese village with the world's longest-living people, finding it is the key to a happier and longer life. Having a strong sense of ikigai - the place where passion, mission, vocation, and profession intersect - means that each day is infused with meaning. It's the reason we get up in the morning. It's also the reason many Japanese never really retire (in fact there's no word in Japanese that means retire in the sense it does in English): They remain active and work at what they enjoy, because they've found a real purpose in life - the happiness of always being busy. In researching this book, the authors interviewed the residents of the Japanese village with the highest percentage of 100-year-olds - one of the world's Blue Zones. Ikigai reveals the secrets to their longevity and happiness: how they eat, how they move, how they work, how they foster collaboration and community, and - their best-kept secret - how they find the ikigai that brings satisfaction to their lives. And it provides practical tools to help you discover your own ikigai. Because who doesn't want to find happiness in every day?

©2017 Héctor García and Francesc Miralles (P)2017 Gildan Media LLC

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Not insightful but inspirational

At the very end of the book, the author provides the 10 rules of ikigai:
1. Stay active; don't retire.
2. Take it slow. Leave urgency behind.
3. Don't fill your stomach (be about 80% full).
4. Surround yourself with good friends.
5. Get in shape; exercise.
6. Smile.
7. Reconnect with nature.
8. Give thanks to nature, friends, family, etc. every day.
9. Live in the moment. Don't dwell on the past.
10. Follow your ikigai (your purpose in life).

The book lacks focus, especially in the beginning. The author frequently inserts information about blue zones (areas where the world's longest-lived people are located). This is already covered by Dan Buettner in his book "The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who've Lived the Longest." The author also compares different psychiatric therapies and refers often to Viktor Frankl's logotherapy -- discovery and pursuit of what we personally find meaningful. It's hard to tell when the author is providing information from someone else's research/book or actually giving insights into the Japanese secret to a long and happy life. The parts that are enjoyable are the stories of people who find meaning and fulfillment in what they do... way into their 70s and 80s.

32 of 32 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Doesn't help you find your ikigai

What would have made Ikigai better?

A much longer discussion of how to find one's ikigai and live it out and much less on longevity research. Or changing the description to fully highlight how 90% of the book is longevity research.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

The performance was generic and formal, which is often typical of nonfiction books. It was fine for what it was and there were no problems with the performace. There was nothing I particularly disliked, but besides being a fine performance, there was nothing I liked either.

Any additional comments?

The description of this book claims that

"Ikigai reveals the secrets to their longevity and happiness: ... and - their best-kept secret - how they find the ikigai that brings satisfaction to their lives. And it provides practical tools to help you discover your own ikigai. Because who doesn't want to find happiness in every day?"

Unfortunately, the book provides very little guidance on how to find your ikigai. Most of the book discusses how to life a long life. I wasn't interested in living to 100+; I was interested in finding my ikigai. A book titled ikigai caused me to think it would help me find it, but instead, there is a small section on finding it. That section is heavily based on the book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. Essentially, the entire how to on ikigai is SPOILER [to find what activites cause you to have flow and then build a life around those things]. Yet, there's a contradiction in this how to [SPOILER] since the book spends time explaining how to create flow. So is it something inherent or something we create?].

If you are interested in longevity research and tips on how to live longer, many of which are just statements from people who have lived a long time, then this book will be a great choice for you. If, instead, you are looking for a book to give you secrets to happiness, you won't really find that here. Yes, there are some small tips throughout the book, but they are things many other books cover in much more detail and depth. Nearly any book on mindfulness or meditation is better than this book for cultivating happiness. Besides flow, all the happiness advice was around living a more mindful life. The best thing I can say about this book is that is is short and is well put together. But I do not recommend it to most readers of these types of books.

30 of 32 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Ikigai Leads to the True Purpose Driven Life

I've worked in the fields of Resilience and Mindfulness since 2011, and of all the works and studies I've read, to date this one has been the most enlightening. Ikigai is beyond bouncing back in the face of adversity. It is the mindset that moves one from "fight or flight" to "flow and go". This book helped me to see that I am in my purpose. To García and Miralles: ¡Gracias!

38 of 44 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Pretty Good

I've read Flow and Mans Search for Meaning years ago so it was nice to get a reminder but I didn't expect them to be so integral to the explanation of Ikigai. Wish it was a little more original. Great if you've never heard of them before.

18 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Mor
  • Azur, Israel
  • 02-26-18

Misleading newage nonsense (mostly)

The beginning sounds interesting and promising, but the book is actually trying to sell an idea to people who want to live very long lives, invest them in work, and focusing the evidence around Japan's culture (omitting to mention that due to workoholisem it has one of the highest suicide rates in the world).

The book puts a lot of focus on long loves (rather than happy lives), and even tries to sell immortality (if you just live long enough)

I think the ideas of flow and ikigai presented in the book are very interesting, but should probably be separated from this book and investigated separately, and taken into context (which, IMO, is not done here)

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Added beyond the value I had expected

Thanks. forever thanks. I started my Ikigai journey a long time ago without knowing and now I am fully conscient about it

16 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Valuable life lessons!

Research by authors is incredible. Should be required reading for high schoolers looking for their “purpose”!

9 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Not as advertised

Not a guide to find meaning in life. Rather, a practical guide to healthy living. Good for what it is, just not as advertised.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Very Little Practical Information

According to this short book, the Japanese concept of ikigai --the happiness of always being busy-- will lead to having a long, happy, and purposeful life.

This book lacks in many areas How to find one's ikigai is not discussed, and the focus is on living extremely long lives. Impractical suggestions are offered, such as (having found one's ikigai) changing jobs to one that fulfills, flows, and increases ikigai. Working at a job one loves would be wonderful for all, yet it most often is impossible.

A lot of this book is taken up with information from studies by other people; the research done by the authors is mostly given as quotes from interviews with super-centenarians on Okinawa. This advice was mainly diet, exercise, ikigai, and friendships. A large portion of the book is taken up with giving diet and exercise information.

Learning the brief bits about ikigai was interesting, but overall, very little practical guidance was given and reading the book felt like a waste of time. I honestly would not have finished it had it not been so short, and had I not purchased it.

A note on the narrator: Walter Dixon's style is dry and not very engaging.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Well Worth While, Calming Listen

The narrator sounds like he's almost whispering, sharing a delicious secret! The book is well-organized, maybe not long enough, or we will be wanting to pursue aspects of food, exercise or lifestyle that are only touched on in the book. The descriptions of movement need pictures -- or in-person lessons. There was no mention of gluten-free or keeping a sharp mind, only happiness in old age. It sounded like the old people were doing a lot of crafts, which is fine, but in some cultures crafts are hardly well paid. Most of us are NOT designated national treasures with our pots and cross-stitched kiss the cook pictures. I'm retired now and love to knit and sew and do seed beadwork. That said, I went to a lot of horrible, boring, uncomfortable jobs. I learned that gratitude helps, as well as accepting a challenge, like inputting the damned document super fast and getting out by Wednesday instead of lingering in a toxic place. Looking back, I realize I did use my crafts for a second income, as the book recommends. My beadwork sold in a boutique on Haight Street. My knitting at Obiko, a boutique on Sutter Street. The hourly average for this work was $6; however, I truly enjoyed the work and was proud of it. The people in the book sound grateful. And the book tells of cooking for a living, with love. I don't see that happening in American fast food. I do know a sweet Japanese man who owned two successful New Age vegetarian restaurants in Bay Area California. I guess that was love. Akiko, his partner, told me he loved to go into someone's kitchen and make a meal from what he found. Oh, dear! And I'm remembering a Spanish-born janitor who worked in San Francisco office buildings and was buying a house, a happy grateful family man. It's possible if we can get off social media and stop comparing and competing. Several times the book suggests just relaxing about the future, things we can't control anyway, just calm down. . . . I will listen to this and take notes several times more. Yesterday I was stressed over an impending HUD housing inspection, anxious and riding off in all directions. This wonderful book with its special narration really helped me calm down as I knitted on a pretty pullover. Of course it helps to have a circle of friends, a tradition of simple food served in many small dishes, reasons to take walks, and a good strong constitution. Muchisimas gracias, merci, and a big thank you, guys!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful