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This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "The Courage to Be Disliked" by Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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What is the book The Courage to Be Disliked about? How does the book relate to the “individual psychology” school of thought?

The book The Courage to Be Disliked argues one major point: happiness is a choice. The book is essentially a retelling of famous psychologist Alfred Adler’s ideas in a self-help format.

Continue below to learn more about The Courage to Be Disliked book.

About the Book

In the book The Courage to Be Disliked, Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga present a radical and empowering new way of thinking that may transform your life. This self-help bestseller is based on the theories of the influential 20th century psychologist Alfred Adler, who believed that every individual has the power to break free from past traumas and find happiness. By shattering the illusion that you must live up to the expectations of others to be happy, the authors reveal how to tap into the freedom and joy inherent in human existence.

Kishimi and Koga begin their argument with the assertion that all of life’s problems can be easily solved, and that life is only complex because we believe it to be so. With this in mind, they insist that the only thing you need to be happy is the “courage to be disliked.” The rest of this guide will explain why this is the case.

(Shortform note: Kishimi and Koga’s title for the book was possibly inspired by the well-known phrase in Adlerian psychology “the courage to be imperfect,” coined by Sophie Lazarsfield, a student of Adler’s. The authors’ adjustment to “the courage to be disliked” reflects the emphasis Kishimi and Koga put on positive interpersonal relationships in comparison to Adler’s focus on inferiority and superiority.)

Adler’s Psychology of Empowerment

As Kishimi and Koga explain, The Courage to Be Disliked is nothing more than a repackaging of the ideas of Alfred Adler. Luckily for Kishimi and Koga, Adler’s ideas are perfectly suited for the self-help format—in fact, while he was alive, he started his own self-help movement.

Because Adler, like the authors, believed so strongly in the individual’s ability to shape their own psyche and find happiness, he made a strong effort to get his ideas in the hands of people who could use them to improve their lives. He was one of the first psychologists to focus on the mental health of children in school, training waves of counselors and conducting his own family therapy sessions. These methods helped form the foundation of social work as we know it today.

The Courage to Be Disliked: Book Overview

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga's "The Courage to Be Disliked" at Shortform.

Here's what you'll find in our full The Courage to Be Disliked summary:

  • Why you care too much about what other people think of you
  • How to tap into the freedom and joy inherent in human existence
  • How to overcome trauma from your past

Hannah Aster

Hannah graduated summa cum laude with a degree in English and double minors in Professional Writing and Creative Writing. She grew up reading books like Harry Potter and His Dark Materials and has always carried a passion for fiction. However, Hannah transitioned to non-fiction writing when she started her travel website in 2018 and now enjoys sharing travel guides and trying to inspire others to see the world.

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