IKIGAI- The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life Book Review

Genre: Non-Fiction
Publisher: Penguin Random House UK
Pages: 185
Rating: 4.5/5

IKIGAI is a Japanese word that has several meanings, but I like the one which is “Your Inner Inspiration.” Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles wrote this book. First of all, according to the Japanese, everyone has an Ikigai – few are successful in finding it, or rest are still struggling to understand it. For instance, the best line which I liked a lot in this book is “our Ikigai is the reason we get up in the morning.”

Certainly, this book was successful in touching the various aspect of the Japanese concept of longevity and happiness, and aptly explained the term – IKIGAI. The book revolves around the lifestyle of the older adults and similarly shows examples from Okinawa – a beautiful island with the most centenarians in the world. It is an island of almost eternal youth. In ancient times there was saying a healthy mind recites in a healthy body. The same saying supported in this book but a more detailed and explained manner. The book says always tries to keep yourself busy and feed healthy stuff to your body. In addition, engage your mind with new things and new learning like games, puzzles and try to keep a bay from the stress are critical as anti-aging. 

However, modern human beings are more prone to take stress in various forms. We should be more mindful of using our screen time as it leads to stress, and stress weakens the cells and promote aging.

Few Golden Rules to learn from the Book:

  1. Be more physical active
  2. Take sound sleep daily
  3. Participate in social and leisure activities
  4. Replace junk food with more vegetables, fruits, and healthy food
  5. Play with children or pets
  6. Be mindful about your daily routine
  7. Avoid taking stress
  8. Eat only 80% of your hunger or dont do over eating
  9. Stay positive and healthy
  10. Stop sitting for the long hours
  11. Find your Ikigai
A very important diagram from the Book IKIGAI : The Japanese Secret to a long and Happy Life. It is explaining various meanings of Ikigai
A very important diagram from the Book IKIGAI : The Japanese Secret to a long and Happy Life. It is explaining various meanings of Ikigai

Great Key insights from the Book : IKIGAI

Morita Therapy: People should accept their emotions and feeling without controlling themselves. Do what you should be doing and discover your life’s purpose. Once you achieve it, it is only a matter of having the courage and making an effort to stay on the right path.

Flow: Flow is all about living in the moment. Don’t stress about the future and stop thinking about the past; just live the moment. Those who are happy they achieve more and focus more on the targets. Every task needs the right amount of skill sets. Activities that are very easy for us lead to apathy. Whereas if the job is tough to complete, it will lead to frustration. The best way is to find a middle path, something aligned with our abilities, but just a bit of a stretch so that it will be a challenge for us. Adding something extra will teach us something new and take us out of our comfort zone.

Concentrating on one thing at a time may be the most critical factor in achieving flow. In the Ikigai book, so many options are shown to be more productive and be in the stream. Japanese people often apply themselves to even the most basic tasks with an intensity that borders on obsession.

Set your routine in the morning: When you get up in the morning, avoid any screen for at least an hour. Try to avoid the phone before going to bed. Take out time for yourself. Try to work in an environment where you will not be distracted.

Takumi’s (Artisans), Engineers, Geniuses, and Otakus (Fans of anime and manga: There is one common thing in all these great people is that they know the flow of their Ikigai. They ever believe in stopping for them to keep themselves happy and healthy is there ongoing hands and the learning brains.

Meditate: Meditation is one way to exercise our mental muscles. Certainly, if we want to get better at reaching a state of flow, meditation is an excellent antidote to our smartphones and their notifications constantly clamoring for our attention.

Mabui: Every person has an essence, or mabui. This Mabui is our spirit and the source of our life force. It is immortal and makes us who we are. It can also be passed from person ton[person by physical contact.

Longevity Diet: The Japanese locals eat a wide variety of food containing fruits, vegetables. They eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables everyday. Similarly, Grains are the integral part of their diet and they rarely eat sugar. Likewise, they recommend that one should eat 80% of the hunger and when you notice you’re almost full but could have a little more, just stop eating.

There are several Antioxidants food found in the diet of the Japanese people. Green tea, Tofu, Soya, Carrots, Cabbage, Miso, Tuna, Goya, Kombu, Onion, Soybeans, Peppers, Jasmine Tea, Sweet potato, Seaweeds., Strawberries, Oily fish, Broccoli, citrus fruits, Olive oil, berries, Red wine in moderation.

Exercise the way you want: Metabolism slows down 90% after 30 minutes of sitting. After 2 hours, good cholesterol drops 20%. Indeed, various forms of excises are an essential part of the Japanese people. For instance, Yoga, China’s qigong, Radio taiso, and tai chi are the few of them.

Above all, the ending of the book Ikigai is also instrumental in the critical aspect of life called Wabi Sabi. This technique talks about finding beauty in imperfect, incomplete things. Here flawed is preferred over perfection. Japanese believe that only faulty, incomplete, and temporary items are beautiful because they resemble nature.


Our Ikigai is different for all of us, but one thing we have in common is that we are all searching for meaning. Along with it, our intuition, inner happiness is the most crucial aspect of life. Always keep yourself busy with positivity, along with good deeds. To conclude, I think the book is exceptionally inspiring and full of content. I could attain my flow while reading it. In short, Loved it! One of the Highly recommended book. You can order this book from Amazon.

10 thoughts on “IKIGAI- The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life Book Review

  1. I have always wanted to read this book. Yes, the learning from this book seem to be amazing. I liked everything right from less screen time, 80% food eating and being passionate and productive in what you do.

  2. I have read this book and liked the things mentioned in that. Though if you see closely, most of the things which are mentioned in the book, have also been practiced by Indians. The strong social network always helped us in sailing through and remaining healthy.

  3. I tried to do this exercise Of IKIGAI the other day even though I didn’t complete it. It surely gives an amazing picture of oneself. I will try to complete it and analyse myself and see what the results are.

  4. One of my friend suggested me to read this book. And this is already in my books to read list. Book is explaining how to live a long life happily. Thanks for the recommendation

  5. I haven’t come around to reading this book yet, although I already a own a copy. Such a detailed and positive review is only making me want to read it all the more! This will perhaps be my next read 🙂

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