Book Review: IKIGAI: The Japanese secret to a long and happy life

August 19, 2020





Genre- Non-Fiction, Self Help   

Author- Hector Gracia and Frances Miralles   

Year of publish-  2016   

Pages- 208

SUMMARY OF IKIGAI : The Japanese secret to a long and happy life

If you want to live a long and happy life then this book is a perfect choice. Exploring Japanese secret of prosperous and happy life it is a scientific case study penned by Hector Gracia and Frances Miralles in Japanese village Okinawa. This book explains how one can achieve a long and happy life by identifying the purpose of life, having a healthy diet, and not retiring. The secret is to find joy and purpose every day.

According to author stress and existential crisis are two major obstacles. 


 Stress is the reason for premature aging and most of the health issues. Whereas the existential crisis is a condition when one starts questioning the meaning of their life, why they are on earth, what is the purpose or value of life which is tied to depression?    Author also mentioned a few case studies on mental illness in the book to explain the existential crisis. The case study says Ikigai is a formula to identify your purpose and live a happier life, like the Japanese people of Okinawa. 

Word Ikigai is made of two words “iki” which means life and “gai” which means value. 

If you want to stay busy even when there’s no need to work, there has to be an ikigai on your horizon, a purpose that guides you throughout your life and pushes you to make things of beauty and utility for the community and yourself. 
Okinawaian’s says that they follow their ikigai to live their lives and now Okinawa is home to some of the longest living people and they are mentioned as centenarians in the book. Study says pursuing your ikigai will bring meaning to your life, the only thing required is to pursue your passion no matter what others say and do. Okinawa has a remarkably lower rate of dementia and heart disease as a result of ikigai and active living. Japanese ask to worry less, take your time and realize that you don’t have to have it all figured out right away. 

Okinawan’s ask to open your heart to people with a nice smile on your face. If you smile and open your heart, your grandchildren and everyone else will want to see you. Reconnect with nature, keep smiling, fill your stomach 80%, move slow, and show gratitude are few things which are to be followed as rule according to book

To identify your Ikigai you have to follow four-step or say have to answer four questions for yourself. first of all draw four circles each circle for each question.

Q1. What you love to do
Q2. What you are good at
Q3. What the world needs.
Q4. For what you can be paid.

·     The intersection of 1 and 3 circles means “what you love” and “what the world needs” i.e is your mission.
·   The intersection of 3 and 4 circle means “what the world needs’ and “what you can be paid for” i.e is your vocation. 
·     The intersection of 2 and 4 circles means “what you are good at” and “what you can be paid for” i.e is your profession. 
·     The intersection of 1 and 2 circles means “what you love” and “what you are good at” i.e is your passion. 


Centenarian’s endorse eating healthy mostly herbs, they focus on a herbivorous diet. Waking up early and making sure you have a busy and joyful day is also important. 

REVIEW OF IKIGAI : The Japanese secret to a long and happy life

Like “Baba Ranchoddas Chanchard” they ask you to say ‘all is well’ always and relax. like other motivational books author mention, ‘we are what we repeatedly do’ similar to Aristotle, this Japanese technique asks us to make excellent your habit. They endorse thinking of “nana korobi ya Oki” a Japanese proverb which means “fall seven-time, rise eight”. Like all other Japanese techniques ikigai has, it’s pillars and rules, some of which I have mentioned above. 
This book is more a case study so it is full of rules, stats, and stories on real incidents which makes it interesting stuff. If you are a fan of Japanese tools and techniques for pursuing excellence then this book is for you. If you are feeling stuck in life and want to add value to your life then this book is for you. this book is fun and worth reading.







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