Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Courage to Be Disliked: The Japanese Phenomenon That Shows You How to Change Your Life and Achieve Real Happiness” as Want to Read:
The Courage to Be Disliked: The Japanese Phenomenon That Shows You How to Change Your Life and Achieve Real Happiness
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Courage to Be Disliked: The Japanese Phenomenon That Shows You How to Change Your Life and Achieve Real Happiness

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  7,439 ratings  ·  989 reviews
The Courage to Be Disliked, already an enormous bestseller in Asia with more than 3.5 million copies sold, demonstrates how to unlock the power within yourself to be the person you truly want to be.

Is happiness something you choose for yourself? The Courage to Be Disliked presents a simple and straightforward answer. Using the theories of Alfred Adler, one of the three gia
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published May 8th 2018 by Atria Books (first published December 12th 2013)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Courage to Be Disliked, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Joseph Taken to an extreme if everyone went along with what I think your question is asking , then no one would do anything for anyone else. And the world…moreTaken to an extreme if everyone went along with what I think your question is asking , then no one would do anything for anyone else. And the world would likely be in such disarray with so much selfishness. I understand where your question is coming from but I don't think that's what separation of tasks means, though i acknowledge it's not an easy concept to grasp. The author and by extension Adler, wrote a lot about the larger community and making a contribution to others. If we view others as comrades then we will want to help others when we can. That he helped his father who he wasn't close to for much of his life was a choice he made out of his volition. (less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.15  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,439 ratings  ·  989 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Oct 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was really famous in Japan, it became number one on the bestseller list in 2014. After then, it translated in Korean and it stayed on bestseller list for 33 weeks in Korea. At first time I heard this news, I doubt about this book. Because I had some biases about best sellers. But my professor just recommended this book to me, and I read it. And this book was totally different from other best sellers.

This book talks about 'Courage'. It says we need courage to be hated. Because people
Inspiring, thought-provoking and deeper than a Taylor Swift song.

'All you can do with regard to your own life is choose the best path that you believe in. On the other hand, what kind of judgement do people pass on that choice? That is the task of other people, and is not a matter you can do anything about.'

This quote kinda sums up the book. It's about returning the focus to only what you can affect, and living your own life a moment at a time.

There are some ideas here that are familiar to me
Jul 12, 2018 rated it did not like it
Victim blaming. “Trauma does not exist” “People CHOOSE to be unhappy”. This is the worst book I have ever read. So glad it was a give away. I’ll be regifting it to file 13.
Emma Sea
May 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
TLDR: bought a dead tree copy for my daughter. If I leave her with any useful legacy I'd like it to be introducing her to this book.


So, it's not that I'm not a fan of the Socratic Method, it's just that the particular format of this book is tiresome. It's written as a dialogue over 5 sessions between The Philosopher and The Youth, and 90% of my irritation is because of the Youth is written as both extremely abrasive in manner, and dense as a plank.

However the contents of the book are excellen
Jan 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My words would be worthless so I just quote:"It is similar with the shock experienced by someone who, after many years of being nearsighted, puts on glasses for the first time"
Alessandra Nigro
May 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I rarely leave reviews here on Goodreads, but this book has the potential to change lives.
It introduces the reader to so many new concepts, yet in such an approachable way, that every chapter ends with an aha-moment.
Read this book if you're into personal development, if you want to completely change your opinion about happiness.
Read it if you are struggling with your introvert personality, if you have trauma to overcome and relationships to heal (especially with your parents).
J & J
Nov 12, 2018 rated it liked it
I didn't like the "play" format of this book. For me, it would have been much more effective in a traditional non-fiction style.
Dec 21, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: did-nt-finish
I found the tone of this book contrived and condescending, with poorly written dialogue (although hard to know how much of that is due to the translation).

The worst faults for me, however, were the offensive, compassionaless, victim-blaming ideas such as 'trauma does not exist' (a heading of a sub-chapter), expanded on to state that a person suffering from agorophobia is choosing to do so to treated as special by their parents. Second worst would be the poor logic used to 'prove' these ideas.

Nishant Nikhil
Dec 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The content of this book is amazing.
I remember me discussing with Himanshu, Abhishek and Ankit, a lot of things which are related to the book. This book gave words to those musings and structured a lot of mental models for me. It made me wonder about a lot of experiences I had and am having. One advice: start acting the way this book suggests at least for the time span of the read.
Few lessons:
- Your past doesn't determine you, it is how you make of it.
- Don't rush for answers, arrive at them. (*
Sandhya Chandramohan
Aug 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Alfred Adler is the relatively unknown 3rd giant of psychology after the likes of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung but with arguably the most ground-breaking work of any. Adlerian psychology feels counter-intuitive at first glance in many ways, but one powerful idea after another it makes it's case, creating one of the strongest, most foolproof frameworks ever for thinking. I don't think I will ever go back to being the same person again, now that I have read this book.

Adlerian psychology is opposed
Ray Li
Mar 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A very gentle introduction to Adlerian psychology and the setting for this is amazing. Truly a great read and definitely makes you think more about the world around you and how your perspectives can really be changed if you just allow yourself to.
Aug 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Despite the cringeworthy title, this ended up being a brilliant book. I think I'll go back to it often.
Jo-Ann Duff (Duffy The Writer)
Recently I've been drawn to books which encourage me to look at myself, and hopefully make me a better 'me'.  The Courage To Be Disliked had a title I just couldn't go past, and when I read that over 3million copies had been sold, I couldn't pass it up.

The Courage To Be Disliked is a unique book.  It has taken Japan by storm, using the theories of renowned 19th century philosopher and psychiatrist Alfred Adler to create a string of conversations between a fictional philosopher and a young man. T
Alfie Yee
Alfred Adler? Was my first thoughts when I picked up this book. It was explained that the he was among the 3 titans of modern psychology and proponent of Teleology that contrasted with the aetiology principles of Jung and Freud. Like Aristotle and Kant before him, Adler believed that the individual should find meaning in life through the reference of one's purpose and contribution to community rather than reference the causes and effects of one's background or history to explore his future i.e: ...more
Nov 25, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Got halfway through and had to give up. The book is set out as a Socratic discussion, but I didn’t like that. It felt condescending rather than interesting.

I don’t think I agree with many of Alfred Adler’s ideas as represented in this book, particularly his views on trauma, which he says “does not exist”. Maybe that’s a helpful way of thinking for some people, but it doesn’t sit well with me. His ideas might be more nuanced, but if they are, I don’t think the book did much to convey that. It wa
Jan 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I change and the world changes. Wonderful book.
Vivek Aithal
Sep 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
As you all must be aware, everybody loves me. Especially people who do not know me. So, what is this book even, you ask?

Courage to be disliked was an inward journey in identifying 'life-lies' as Adler calls them, and the power they hold in the stories I create for myself as an excuse to not act. It was quite difficult to accept certain claims of Adler's given my current state of intuitions, cemented by aetiological/Freudian philosophy of causes and effects. While there are remarkably insightful
Ian Stewart
Jun 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Something like an introduction to psychologist Alfred Adler, a contemporary of Freud and Jung who I, and apparently many other people, had previously known little about. If you’ve read any Dale Carnegie or Stephen Covey you’ve already had your own little introduction. It seems Adler was an influence on them.

With my own background reading I was reminded of Stoicism’s rejection of “things you can’t change” in understanding the world and Adlerian Psychology often felt to my mind like a more systema
caitlin ✶
edit: I've decided to lower my rating from a four stars to a three stars because I've come to realize that some lines in this book are insensitive towards people with mental illnesses "people choose to be unhappy and "trauma does not exist"

Some of the points that this book brought up were really interesting but true. Some ideas call to mind cheesy quotes you see on the internet, but the book explains why those ideas are actually very important. And some points are pretty wild, but the logic beh

Shauna Birkett
Jan 09, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
While I can acknowledge that this book added value to my life, I had *serious* issues with several points of this "phenomenon" which is ultimately why I am giving it only one star.

I'd like to start by saying that I listened to this on Audible and that was a pleasant experience - as it's written as a dialogue between two people, it is read in that style. If you are going to pick this up, I highly recommend the audio version.

I found myself yelling in my car at the old philosopher several times, ag
May 19, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I don't know if I can get through all of this. I've never reviewed a book before I finished it, but I feel it's warranted here.

First, the title is a bait and switch as it is all about Western Adlerian psychology, not anything Japanese.

It's outdated. It's almost incoherent if you know anything about psychological or biological research of the last 80 years. Adler has the excuse of not knowing about that because he's dead. The authors of this book do not.

So far, the book is a circular argument:
Aug 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure I'm a huge fan of the dialogue format, but I think everyone can gain something from reading this book.

The people who are accusing it of victim blaming I feel are missing the point of the book, and I'm honestly not 100% convinced that they read the whole thing (and definitely didn't do so with an open mind).
Billie Pritchett
Aug 20, 2018 rated it liked it
I heard about this book, The Courage to Be Disliked, on a podcast and then was surprised to see how popular the book is or is becoming, especially given that it's a book that promotes the teachings of psychologist Alfred Adler in the stylings of one of Plato's dialogues. The basic message of the book is "The world is simple, and life is simple, too." Using Adler's psychological theories, the older philosopher character in the book guides the young person toward an understanding of life's purpose ...more
Feb 17, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: epl
For a start, readers should know that there is no "Japanese phenomenon" here. This is psychobabble based on Alfred Adler's teachings written by Japanese authors. Framing this book as a "Japanese phenomenon" misleads the reader, and is an outright misrepresentation by the authors.

This book is loosely based on Socrates' teachings (I'm being generous here) and the Adlerian School of Psychotherapy, born out the same movement (the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society) that gave us Sigmund Freud and Carl Jun
Passenger B.
Apparently "there is no trauma" because you simply just choose to be traumatized and it's really just up to you whether you want to magically snap your finger and get out of this damn trauma rut.
So why dontcha already, huh?!
Okay. Not that I'm a huge fan of Adler anyway but this is brazenly taking out of context the man's writings too.
This book read a lot like other pseudo-scientific books like this whole law of attraction stuff that's been running rampant in the past 10+ years. Ironically the
Sean Goh
Aug 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thought-provoking, like a dash of cold water to the face. Worth re-reading slowly to let the philosophical points percolate through the "self-acceptance => confidence in others =>contribution to others => meaning and self-acceptance" framework set out in the last chapter.

The argument concerning traumas, that because something happened to you in the past the way you are is not your fault, is typical of aetiology (study of causation). However, to Adler, we are not determined by our ex
Sep 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am a fan of serendipity. In love and in life. I have always believed books find you more often than you finding them. I stumbled this on a list of top ten reads of a venture capitalist, on a particular day wherein I felt I was being too much of a pushover in life. I picked it up with the skepticism I reserve for a self help book. Who names a book " courage to be disliked" anyway.
The book instead of acting as the usual comfort couch, shakes you out of it. It tells you point blank why you have b
Adam McNamara
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A thought-provoking read. Recommended, despite a small number of chapters that potentially didn't need to be included or could have been improved upon.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Radical ideas in this book 1 27 Jan 27, 2019 11:09PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Kansai Cool: A Journey into the Cultural Heartland of Japan
  • Running Is My Therapy: Relieve Stress and Anxiety, Fight Depression, Ditch Bad Habits, and Live Happier
  • Stop Thinking, Start Living Discover Lifelong Happiness
  • How We Work: Live Your Purpose, Reclaim Your Sanity, and Embrace the Daily Grind
  • Love for Imperfect Things: How to Accept Yourself in a World Striving for Perfection
  • On Democracy & Education (Social Theory, Education & Cultural Change)
  • Nic zwyczajnego. O Wisławie Szymborskiej
  • 100 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings: How to Get By Without Even Trying
  • Shinrin Yoku: The Art of Japanese Forest Bathing
  • Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World
  • The Dogma of Christ & Other Essays on Religion, Psychology & Culture
  • The Principal Upanishads
  • Hannah's Winter
  • Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don't Have All the Facts
  • High Growth Handbook
  • Category Theory for Programmers
  • Expert Political Judgment: How Good Is It? How Can We Know?
  • A Philosophy of Software Design
See similar books…
Ichiro KISHIMI Philosopher, Adlerian psychologist and translator of English and German languages. Born in 1956. philosophy from Kyoto University. Director of the Japanese Society of Adlerian psychology. Former counselor at Maeda Clinic in Kyoto and has taught philosophy and ancient Greek at various institutions such as Kyoto University of Education and Nara Women's University.

He presently t
“Do Not Live to Satisfy the Expectations of Others” 26 likes
“The courage to be happy also includes the courage to be disliked. When you have gained that courage, your interpersonal relationships will all at once change into things of lightness.” 21 likes
More quotes…