Author: Hector Garcia & Francesc Miralles
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Pages: 194 Pages
Difficulty Level: Easy
Ikigai: Book Review
This week I dived into some eastern philosophy on living longer. It was one of the most famous books, “Ikigai” by Francesc Miralles and Hector Garcia. The book provides a perspective from the people who are said to be living the longest lives in the world. It helps one understand the true happiness one can get from simple living and how that happiness transcends into a longer life.
The title of the book, Ikigai, is a complex intersection of many different types of satisfactory phases of one’s life, which narrows down its meaning to a “purposeful life”. The book emphasizes finding your ikigai and then working on it for the rest of your life.
The book starts by stating the story of a town in Japan where people have lived the longest, and the rest of the book focuses on their lifestyle and their interviews. My favorite part of the book was the interviews of the 100-year-old people. Their perspective on happiness and life is something that could be considered very basic and well known, but at the same time often forgotten in the daily hassle of modern living. The people also share how staying close to nature and surrounding yourself with people you love and people who love you increases the quality of life, thus again sharing the central idea of the book, “Happiness is the key to a longer life.” Not impulsive or short-term happiness, but long-term happiness that stays with you, that your environment resonates with.
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There were a few parts of the book where I felt it was getting repetitive, but the idea of the book is not to tell you the basic ideas, which everyone knows in their heart, but to remind you how powerful and impactful those ancient living methods are.
I feel, that as we daily live through the constant pressure and tension of work that most of us do not even enjoy, it kills our heart’s will to live, and it refuses to live further through an unhappy, unpleasant lifestyle. Whereas the people in that town in Japan do not retire after a certain age, they just manage their workload as they get older because they love what they do and know this is their purpose.
They do not wish to ever stop working and render their lives purposeless. When we spend a major part of our days working, it is important to make sure that our work makes us happy; otherwise, you’re not doing justice to your abilities, your mind, and your loved ones as well. A lot of relationships are broken because people live frustrated lives at work and take that anger out on their families. Ikigai shows how living a purposeful life in nature’s lap with a healthy lifestyle extends your will to live and your body’s will to live longer, probably longer than most people.