Book review: 『嫌われる勇気』 by Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga


Title: 『嫌われる勇気』 (きらわれるゆうき)
Authors: Ichiro KISHIMI (岸見一郎) and Fumitake KOGA (古賀史健)
Published by ダイヤモンド社
294 pages

This book is a huge best-seller in Japan, and I bought it mainly out of curiosity. Ichiro Kishimi is a philosopher who has researched, translated, written or given lectures about Alfred Adler at numerous occasions. Fumitake Koga is an author who has been greatly inspired by Adlerian psychology and has had several conversations with Kishimi on Adler’s theories.


First of all, let me say that I was very surprised by this book, I did not expect it to be so good and have such solid content. I am not a big reader of self-help books, and while I do enjoy reading about productivity from time to time, I usually stay away from psychology. I thought that 『嫌われる勇気』 would be a collection of superficial thoughts about accepting oneself and how to find happiness, so I was very surprised by the depth of the book.

I didn’t know much about the psychology of Alfred Adler before and to be honest, this is not a topic that interests me. I remember studying a little bit of Freud at school, but it was not for me. After reading the book, I did try to read what I could find on Internet about Adler’s theories, but I found it annoying and just could not find any interest in what I was reading. So why was 『嫌われる勇気』 so engrossing?

The only answer I can find is that the authors did a remarkably good job at synthetizing and relaying Adler psychology in a way that is accessible and feels extremely concrete. What you read are not psychological concepts, but rather concrete examples of how this works, and how you can change the way you see things in order to free yourself from restraining beliefs.

The book adopts the form of a conversation between a sceptical young man and a philosopher. I was afraid that the conversation would simply be the philosopher talking and talking with occasional interjections by the sceptical interlocutor, but there is an excellent balance between the two fictional characters.

Overall, I am impressed by how the book manages to have such a deep content and to be so easy to read and so accessible. I do feel that I need to re-read it to get the most out of it, or that I should have taken notes along the way. I feel that this is not the book that will “change your life” after reading, but a book that requires some work on your part, if you really want to apply it to your life. Personally, as I said, this is not my usual type of read, and I am not very interested in psychology, so while I found this to be a good book, I don’t think that I am ready for a second read.

Overall, I loved reading this book, and I found that a lot of its content was interesting and worth thinking about. However, I am not that interested in applying it to myself, so this book did not “change my life”, but I did learn a lot about Adlerian psychology.

English translation: The book has been translated into English under the title The Courage to be Disliked, but I could not find the name of the translator(s) anywhere on the Internet. I downloaded the sample on my Kindle, but no translators there either. They mention the name of some agencies, but I don’t know if they are related to translation or not. Very frustrating…

Audiobook: There is an audio version of the book available on

Book review: 『運転者』by Yasushi Kitagawa


Title: 『運転者』 (うんてんしゃ)
Author: Yasushi KITAGAWA (喜多川 泰)
Published by Discover (ディスカヴァー)
239 pages

Yasushi Kitagawa is a popular writer of fiction. His works are translated in several Asian countries and all his books have amazing reviews on Amazon. He also has a beautiful website that includes a blog updated every day and even an online shop where you can buy Kitagawa coffee…


『運転者』 is a light philosophical book that is likely to help you change your perception of life.

Our protagonist, Shuichi, works for an assurance company, a stressful job where the number of sales determines next month’s salary. With his aging mother living alone and his daughter refusing to go to school, Shuichi is on the verge of a breakdown when he meets a mysterious taxi driver.

I loved the book right from the beginning, because I liked the protagonist and found it easy to identify with him. However, 『運転者』 is not as much a great fictional story as a philosophical reflection on our life and how much our attitude alone can change things. This is the kind of book that people read because the message it contains will have an impact on their own life rather than to be engrossed in a fictional story.

To be honest, I am certainly not the best public for this kind of book. At first, I loved the story, but at times, I found the book looked more like a self-help book than a work of fiction. The reader can take everything that the taxi driver tells Shuichi as life advice, but personally, instead of having things told to me by a character, I prefer have them implied by the story itself.

The taxi driver’s life lessons are certainly the reason why so many readers loved this book. And I loved it too, even though I sometimes found some discussions a little long, and at some point even a little moralising. Overall, I found that reading this book is likely to give you courage during difficult times in your life, it can help you change things, or on the contrary, give you enough energy to go on with what you are doing. In any case, the book teaches you precious things. To be honest, I personally do not completely agree nor embrace the vision of life described in 『運転者』, but I think that I am the exception here, and that most people will find this book very useful and motivating.

Overall, I enjoyed reading this book. It is a short novel, it is easy to read, I had sympathy for the protagonist and though I remained a little sceptical regarding the core of its message, I would easily recommend it to anyone who feels disheartened and stressed out.

Book review: 『アウトプット大全』by Shion KABASAWA

About the book

Title: 学びを結果に変える アウトプット大全.
English title: The Power of Output: How to Change Learning to Outcome.
Author: Shion KABASAWA 樺沢紫苑
Published by Sanctuary Books

Shion KABASAWA is a psychiatrist, author, youtuber and critic. He is very active on Twitter, YouTube and his blog. Following the publication of 『アウトプット大全』 in 2018, he wrote “The Power of Input: How to Maximize Learning” this year.


『アウトプット大全』 is about the importance of output and how it can make your learning process more efficient and help you to grow and get better results.

The book is divided into five chapters:

  • Chapter 1: アウトプットの基本法則 (Rules)
  • Chapter 2: 科学に裏付けられた、伝わる話し方 (Talk)
  • Chapter 3: 能力を最大限に引き出す書き方 (Write)
  • Chapter 4: 圧倒的に結果を出す人の行動力 (Do)
  • Chapter 5: アウトプット力を高める7つのトレーニング法 (Training)

There were parts of the book that I found very interesting and useful, and parts that I found completely irrelevant to me.

First of all, I really liked the main point of the book and thought that it was exactly what I needed. My learning process is almost exclusively based on input, so I was curious to know how I could add more output activities to be more efficient. As a consequence, I was very excited to read the first chapter, the one that explains what output is and why it is important. I also liked the last chapter that gives concrete examples to incorporate more output in your routine.

The problem is that these first and last chapters are very short and the remaining chapters felt a little disconnected from the main subject of the book: “How to Change Learning to Outcome”. They focus on different forms of output: Talk, Write and Do. What I found a little disappointing is that these three chapters tend to lose sight of the first one (Rules). The author will teach you how to better communicate orally, how to better take written notes and so on, but it’s not really related to the learning process anymore.

This is especially true of the “Talk” chapter. It is quite long and was completely irrelevant to me. I would have expected the author to show how you can use spoken output to “change learning to outcome”, but the chapter is only about “how to better communicate with your co-workers”. For example, the author tells you how to introduce yourself, compliment or scold people, make requests or decline. In other words, this chapter helps you to have smoother relationships with colleagues or people around you by improving the way you communicate with them. What I expected to read was how I could use spoken output to improve myself, because I thought this was what this book was about.

I found the “write” and “do” parts to be more interesting and to get more to the point. I also picked up several good ideas, and overall, reading these parts motivated me to produce more, write more and do more.

So to me, the main topic of the book was interesting, but I found that the author taught me more how to make good output instead of teaching me how I could use output to improve myself and be more efficient and learn better. While I really need to incorporate more output in my learning process, I don’t need to be taught how to look my interlocutor in the eyes, greet my co-workers every morning, or introduce myself in 30 seconds.

But overall, I found the book enjoyable to read, and I did find some useful tips in it. It is well structured, well illustrated and easy to read. It’s also easy to go back to previous pages and immediately find what you are looking for. Illustrations make it easy to remember what the author said and important statements are written in bold and blue. I find this kind of book particularly appropriate for Japanese learners because they are not too complicated to read, and you can practice your Japanese while learning useful tips and read motivating content.