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Wabi Sabi: Japanese Wisdom for a Perfectly Imperfect Life

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  1,547 ratings  ·  160 reviews

'A truly transformative read' Sunday Times STYLE

'More than ever, we need books like this' Jessica Seaton, Co-Founder of Toast and author of Gather, Cook, Feast

A whole new way of looking at the world - and your life - inspired by centuries-old Japanese wisdom.

Wabi sabi ("wah-bi sah-bi") is a captivating concept from Japanese aesthetics, which helps us to see bea

Kindle Edition, 256 pages
Published December 31st 2018 by Piatkus
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Average rating 3.90  · 
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 ·  1,547 ratings  ·  160 reviews

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Jul 12, 2019 rated it liked it
A book less about a Japanese design or art style than on a way of living.
The four concepts of Japanese style, from gaudy flashy to subdued earth colour palette like (where I am somewhere between Hade and Iki, so quite far from the Wabi Sabi subduedness) was interesting.

But this book is more something to experience, not much into content itself, inviting the reader to contemplate while speaking kind of soothingly to him or her. Normally I find self help books slightly annoying and shallow. Kemp
Laurence Green
Aug 26, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Well researched but the quality of the writing feels cluttered and confused at times. Is this an academic style treatment or a self help book tinged with Japanese philosophy, or something in-between? I worry it's a little too complex for the average reader that'd normally pick up this kind of book lured in by the beautiful binding and cover art. The book starts decently with a good d scriptions of wabi-sabi but eventually becomes bogged down in the usual self-help excesses. But what put me off i ...more
Aug 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
An interesting way of looking at life but I feel some bits kinda dragged on where it wasn't needed. I also wasn't sure if this book was meant to be a self help kinda book or something else entirely? Still, it was a book that made me sit and ponder at times.
Sep 07, 2019 rated it it was ok
At the risk of sounding harsh and unfair, I am giving this book a lukewarm 2 stars... The core philosophy of the book is interesting, and I enjoyed the author's Japanese pronunciation very much (yes random and weird comment, I know) but other than that, I was left unimpressed. I had 3 main issues with this book:
1) Its approach to the "imperfect is perfect" philosophy is too superficial, with frequent repetitions of the phrase but little in depth exploration of the concept. I may be biased since
Jitna Bhagani
Aug 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beth's wonderful book Wabi Sabi allows you to invite some authentic Japanese pearls of wisdom into your life without having to shell out for the airfare. Wabi Sabi is well-researched and insightful, full of wonderful personal anecdotes and experiences, and is written by someone who has clearly immersed herself into Japanese culture far beyond a typical western visitor might do. This book gives practical information and ideas on accepting imperfection, embracing nature, and lots of lovely tips to ...more
Lovely little book on bringing more peace, less stress, more calm, more joy, less clutter, etc into one's life.

I loved it !
High Plains Library District
Wabi Sabi by Beth Kempton is a self-help book that tries to explain how a Japanese philosophy can help people look at their own lives from a different perspective. Kempton spends the first half of the book providing context and explanations. The second half spends more time on the self-help aspects.

I enjoyed the personal stories Kempton included, which I thought helped build some credibility. Cultural ideas can get easily distorted during the translation process, so it helps to see that the aut
Karen Mace
Apr 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a book that seduced me with the cover and has inspired me with the contents!!

I found this to be a little gem of a book full of wonderful little anecdotes and genuinely useful hints and advice on how to achieve your own little piece of 'wabi sabi' in your day to day life - even the smallest of chores can bring joy if you look at them differently and that is a big theme running throughout this little book - it seems to be about how you look at a situation and how then to deal with it. Life
Aug 27, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Wabi sabi is a feeling, not a style. Wabisabi -styled-home does not make sense to me.

I agree with the idea that everyone is capable of feeling wabisabi, but wabisabi I feel is mostly in the context of and reference in Japan. Isn't it just 'feeling content' rather than 'wabisabi'? Without historical/cultural relation, I find it hard to feel wabisabi, personally.(I am Japanese.)

Well researched. It's much better than famous Ikigai book, at least.
Gabrielle Rowan
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
The first half was more interesting to me than the second. It is incredibly well researched by someone who has clearly immersed themselves in Japanese culture. I loved learning about wabi-sabi from various perspectives and it's rich cultural roots in Japanese life. The second half though read like a self-help book that could have been about almost anything. It was also very personal to the author's own life, which I don't mind but found the change in tone from the first half a bit odd.
Mar 04, 2019 rated it liked it
It's got one bit I really like, about wabi sabi, other japanese philosophies, aesthetics and experiences from an outside perspective. Learning about the 72 microseasons and such was very interesting.
Then the other part is pure self-help bs about living your best mindful, imperfect, insta-puke life. That bit can go suck an egg, as can the "humble" brags and shameless plugs.
Anya JP
Sep 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
*4.5 out of 5 stars
Cathy S
Oct 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I am currently reading the book and enjoying it so much! I had the pleasure of attending a workshop that Beth recently held in California and just love her and her outlook on business and life! I find that I often forget to slow down and enjoy the beauty of the little things all around me. Beth's knowledge of the Japanese culture is amazing and I love how she encourages us to see things differently. It is an easy, yet transformative read!
Sandra V.
Sep 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites-books
Since a few months, I embraced a kind of shift of mind. And this book encourages me to follow this path. I feel so inspired ✨
Feb 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The cover of this book made me want to have it. Every time I look at it I feel a wave of peace wash over me.

One of my favorite parts in the book is when Beth talks about self-help gurus and how they claim to have woken up one day and their life is now perfect.

Beth says, “I don’t buy it. We are all works in progress. Some of us happen to have had the opportunity to reflect, and perhaps have a platform from which to share what we are discovering as we go, but, in truth we are all learning from one
Ngọc Nguyễn
Feb 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
It’s certainly not easy to give a concrete definition of wabi-sabi, even as Japanese themselves, as the author puts it. Yet, through all chapters, the concept and practices of wabi-sabi is unfolded vividly, not to mention the compelling foreword by Hidetoshi Nakata, legendary Japanese soccer player. At the end of the book, readers are advocated to embrace this philosophy for a much less turbulent life. Opposed to some reviews saying that the book is cluttered, I find the writing rather easy to f ...more
Nader Hajj Shehadeh
Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
Nice design, nice concept, nice cover.. only.
The content is helpful, but brings a big disappointment.
The title might be misleading, that's why I was expecting something else.
In my opinion this book could have been called "Cinco Trinco" about Latin wisdom, or "Hindu Grindu" about Indian wisdom, or "Zahi Bahi" about Arabic wisdom!!
It is more of a self help book but in a different format.
Dec 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Incredible! So inspiring and full of wisdom. Fills you with a sense of calm, and that everything is going to be ok.
Sorry it didn't work for me.
Jun 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Book Review: Wabi Sabi: Japanese Wisdom for a Perfectly Imperfect Life by @BethKempton
1. Many thanks to @definitelybooks for sending over this beautiful book which I’ve been eyeing for some time now. I’m grateful to be able to add this to my bookshelf!
2. I love how the word “wabi sabi” sounds. My memory of it is of the sound of the word rolling off the tongue of our Japanese family friend’s young daughter followed by an eruption of giggles. It is a very fun word to say: WABI SABI.
3. So what is
Mrs Claire Milne
Feb 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Took me a little bit to get into this book but think more because too much going on than due to the book itself. Ironically the main point of the book is taking in the moment using the concept of Wabi Sabi. Some lovely exercises for looking at different aspects of your life and beautiful insights into Japanese life. I read it on my kindle but feel having the book would be better as it looks beautiful.
André Pereira
Oct 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
I think that, more than a book, Wabi Sabi is a companion. In times of hardship it helps put things into perspective; in times of ease it is a fantastic self-growth and learning resource. It is not a book you read once and that's it; it is a book you go back to. As many have said, this book is transformative and really impacts welcoming readers.
The writing is beautiful and authentic. With each flash back to the author's time in Japan it feels like it is us, the readers, living those moments and a
Apr 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed reading this book, inspired me to take a step back and become more calm. Useful perspectives and thought provoking questions to apply to different areas of your life. Highly recommend to any perfectionists out there!
Michael Huang
Jan 14, 2019 marked it as to-read
[Rec from Time Magazine. Intriguing concept -- can't wait to be disappointed]
DNF at 52%

I might finish it someday, but it just didn't hold my attention...and I don't want it constantly nagging me when I look at my Currently Reading tab. 🤭
Oct 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
There are not a lot of new insights for this book, but more of reminders to ourselves for a happier life.
Christel El Hayek
Sep 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Considering all the different emotional rollercoasters we’ve endured in 2020, this book definitely helped keep things into perspective and helped separate emotion from rational thinking. I believe everyone should read this as part of a healing and self-love experience.
Jan 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Kempton presents an overview of the Japanese concept of Wabi Sabi and how it can lead to a more mindful and fulfilling life. An intriguing read and beautiful book design.
Nazmus Saadat
Jul 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Wabi sabi is a concept that exists implicitly in Japan without being frequently articulated. It values simplicity and imperfection, while recognizing the impermanence of all things. There is much that we can learn from its philosophy, in regard to our relationships with others, our career paths, our approach to failure, and the way we decorate our homes. Rather than piling unnecessary pressure on
ourselves in the quest for perfection, wabi sabi encourages us to value the perfectly imperfect.
Jul 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is not the first Japanese living book that I have read and let me say I am a big fan of the Japanese lifestyle and simplicity.
This book focuses on a living concept “wabi sabi” which couldn’t be defined in simply one word. This has drawn the author on an adventure of finding the definition and meaning of wabi sabi according to different people.
To try and sum it up from what I grasped from this book; living the moment, enjoying life, being simple, seeing beauty in things around.
This boo
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Beth Kempton is an award-winning entrepreneur and the bestselling author of Wabi Sabi: Japanese wisdom for a perfectly imperfect life, Calm Christmas and a Happy New Year, We Are in This Together and Freedom Seeker. Beth’s books have been translated into 24 languages, chosen as an Apple USA ‘must listen’ audiobook on iTunes, and recommended in TIME Magazine, British Vogue, The Telegraph, Sunday Ti ...more

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43 likes · 11 comments
“Wabi is about finding beauty in simplicity, and a spiritual richness and serenity in detaching from the material world. Sabi is more concerned with the passage of time, with the way that all things grow and decay and how ageing alters the visual nature of those things. It’s less about what we see, and more about how we see.” 2 likes
“Put simply, wabi sabi gives you permission to be yourself. It encourages you to do your best but not make yourself ill in pursuit of an unattainable goal of perfection. It gently motions you to relax, slow down and enjoy your life. And it shows you that beauty can be found in the most unlikely of places, making every day a doorway to delight.” 1 likes
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