The Courage to be Disliked Book Review I Ask Questions

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Book – The Courage to Be Disliked (Review)

Author – Ichiro Kishimi & Fumitake Koga

Genre – Self-help Book

Published in – 2013

The Courage to be Disliked is written in parable style, which takes through dialogue between the known Philosopher and a young man who has come to visit the Philosopher, challenging his philosophy and claiming that life is not as simple as he describes. Happiness is not within the grasp of every person, as he claims.

More importantly, people can’t change as quickly as the Philosopher suggests.

The answer and points the Philosopher put across are the distillation of famous psychologist Alfred Adler’s philosophical and psychological teachings. (Adlerian psychology).

Reading the first book of this kind, I got a different perspective. Throughout the book, I felt like I was part of the discussion between youth and philosophers.

About Alfred Adler

Alfred Adler was an Austrian Medical doctor, Psychotherapist, and founder of the School of Individual Psychology. He was known for the concepts of psychology he developed, like individual psychology, inferiority complex, superiority complex, and style of life.

About the Book

The Courage to be Disliked is a parable that takes us into a dialogue between a known philosopher in the city and a young man who has visited a philosopher seeking answers to help him turn his complicated life into a simple and happy one.

Moreover, he comes across as he has come to challenge his philosophy and claims that life is not as simple as he describes and that happiness is not within the grasp of every person he claims.

A debate follows where a young man pours his heart out the challenges of day-to-day adult life, like personal relations, work, religion, and society, with an open mind. He is willing to learn and change if convinced of what the Philosopher has to offer.

A Few Key Points From The Book –

1) Etiology v/s Teleology

  • Etiology is the study of causation. We spend too much time on why anything (so-called bad happened to us) keeps us stuck.
  • Teleology, on the other hand, focuses on what has happened, how we are using anything that happened to us, and not letting our past hinder changing to sound now.

2) Fabricating the Anger

The way it is explained seems like a mumble jumble of words, yet if we reflect on it, we’ll openly be willing to take responsibility for using anger as a means to an end. As philosophers put it, “we don’t get angry; we use anger to achieve our objective.”

3) Change

  • People resist change because of uncertainties that lie ahead with their new selves; even though we may not be as happy as we are, at least it is familiar, and we have most of the answers considering the current situation.
  • Comparison with others and what they have (resources, talent, circumstances) can be used to resist change in self-pity parties or inspire improvement. Most people use it for the former reason.

4) Inferiority Feelings – Inferiority Complex

  • Inferiority feelings can trigger striving and growth. In contrast, an inferiority complex is a sign of resignation from a situation or using any condition as an excuse not to work for the desired outcome.

5) Power Struggle & Revenge

  • In any discussion, the moment you utter “you are wrong,” discussion shifts from what is right to who is right; that’s where the power struggle begins, which in most cases leads to revenge.
  • Be careful in your discussion with others; if you think you’re right, let go of the matter as warmly as possible. Never get sucked into a power struggle.

6) Recognition From Others

  • Constant desire for recognition from others is one of the short ways of unhappiness.
  • The more we try to gain other’s approval and attention, the more we struggle, As we will constantly adjust ourselves to everyone’s yardstick.

7) From Life’s Protagonist to World’s Protagonist

  • Most of the problem arises when we start making ourselves the center of the world and think only about how others can serve us. Things will improve if we can look for what we can do instead.

A few lines and quotes that I liked from the book

1) “Our experiences do not determine us, but the meaning we give to those experiences.”

2) “The important thing is not what one is born with, but what use one makes of that equipment.”

3) “No matter what has occurred in your life up to this point, it should have no bearing on how you live from now on.” That you, living in the here and now, are the one who determines your own life.

4) “The feelings of inferiority we suffer from are subjective interpretations rather than objective facts.”

5) “It is true that one cannot use a time machine or turn back the hands of time. But what kind of meaning does one attribute to past events? This is the task given to “you know.”


After reading The Courage to be disliked, you will be able to see your past and future differently and be less concerned about others’ judgment.

You will be able to accept yourself as you are and work on improving your relationship with yourself and others.

If you like this book, you may also like The Untethered Soul.

Please share your comments/suggestions on this review in Word, or if you have any questions, do ask them in the comments; I will gladly answer them.

I wish you a great life.


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8 thoughts on “The Courage to be Disliked Book Review I Ask Questions”

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