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The Courage to Be Happy

Discover the Power of Positive Psychology and Choose Happiness Every Day

In this follow-up to the international phenomenon The Courage to Be Disliked, discover how to reconnect with your true self, experience true happiness, and live the life you want.

What if one simple choice could unlock your destiny?

Already a major Japanese bestseller, this eye-opening and accessible follow-up to the “compelling” (Marc Andreessen) international phenomenon The Courage to be Disliked shares the powerful teachings of Alfred Adler, one of the giants of 19th-century psychology, through another illuminating dialogue between the philosopher and the young man.

Three years after their first conversation, the young man finds himself disillusioned and disappointed, convinced Adler’s teachings only work in theory, not in practice. But through further discussions between the philosopher and the young man, they deepen their own understandings of Adler’s powerful teachings, and learn the tools needed to apply Adler’s teachings to the chaos of everyday life.

To be read on its own or as a companion to the bestselling first book, The Courage to Be Happy reveals a bold new way of thinking and living, empowering you to let go of the shackles of past trauma and the expectations of others, and to use this freedom to create the life you truly desire.

Plainspoken yet profoundly moving, reading The Courage to Be Happy will light a torch with the power to illuminate your life and brighten the world as we know it. Discover the courage to choose happiness.

Author’s Note Authors’ Note
Alfred Adler, the thinker who was a hundred years ahead of his time. Though he stands beside Sigmund Freud and Carl Gustav Jung as one of the most important figures in the world of psychology, Adler was for many years a “forgotten giant.” Since the publication of The Courage to Be Disliked, the context of Adler and his school of thought has gone through a remarkable transformation. Adler has been widely known in Europe and America for some time. But now, after our book spent a record-setting fifty-one weeks as a number-one bestseller—having sold millions of copies in South Korea and Japan—I have a strong sense that Adler is present within many people, and no longer needs introduction. There is something deeply moving about his ideals being accepted in Asia after the passage of a hundred years.

The Courage to Be Disliked is a kind of map for informing people of the existence of Adlerian psychology, and for giving an overview of Adler’s ideas. It is a grand map that we put together over the course of several years, with the intention of creating a definitive introduction to Adlerian psychology.

The Courage to Be Happy, on the other hand, is a kind of compass for actually putting Adler’s ideas into practice and leading a happy life. And it may also be thought of as a collection of behavioral guidelines showing how one may progress toward the objectives laid out in the first book.

In The Courage to Be Happy, once more we find the philosopher engaged in a dialogue with the pessimistic youth. Three years after the conclusion of The Courage to Be Disliked, the youth, who has become a teacher with the intention of putting Adler’s ideas into practice, calls on the philosopher one last time. Frustrated with Adlerian psychology and angry with the philosopher for introducing him to Adler’s ideals, the youth has returned to the philosopher’s study to challenge everything the philosopher taught him and insist that he cease to corrupt other young minds with ideals that don’t hold up in the real world when interacting with real people. Calmly, the philosopher invites the youth to join him for one final conversation about having courage not only to take the first step toward happiness, but to continue walking along the path of self-improvement in order to love, be self-reliant, and nurture community feeling.

In what way can we make concrete progress on the path to happiness shown in the preceding volume, The Courage to Be Disliked? How can we put Adlerian psychology into practice in our everyday lives? And what is that conclusion arrived at by Adler, “the biggest choice in life,” that everyone must make in order to live in happiness?

The curtain opens once more on this strong-medicine philosophical dialogue. Do you have the courage to climb the stairway of understanding with the youth?

Ichiro Kishimi was born in Kyoto, where he currently resides. He writes and lectures on Adlerian psychology and provides counseling for youths in psychiatric clinics as a certified counselor and consultant for the Japanese Society of Adlerian Psychology. He is the translator, into Japanese, of selected writings by Alfred Adler—The Science of Living and Problems of Neurosis—and he is the author of Introduction to Adlerian Psychology, in addition to numerous other books.

Fumitake Koga is an award-winning professional writer and author. He has released numerous bestselling works of business-related and general non-fiction. He encountered Adlerian psychology in his late twenties and was deeply affected by its conventional wisdom–defying ideas. Thereafter, Koga made numerous visits to Ichiro Kishimi in Kyoto, gleaned from him the essence of Adlerian psychology, and took down the notes for the classical “dialogue format” method of Greek philosophy that is used in this book.

Praise for The Courage to Be Disliked

"Marie Kondo, but for your brain."

– Hello Giggles

“Adlerian psychology meets Stoic philosophy in Socratic dialogue. Compelling from front to back. Highly recommend.”

– Marc Andreessen, venture capitalist and founder of Andreessen Horowitz

"A nuanced discussion of a complex theory, with moments of real philosophical insight.... [It's] refreshing and useful to read a philosophy that goes against many contemporary orthodoxies. More than a century since Adler founded his school of psychology, there’s still insight and novelty in his theories."

– Quartzy

“[The Courage to be Disliked guides] readers toward achieving happiness and lasting change… For those seeking a discourse that helps explain who they are in the world, Kishimi and Koga provide an illuminating conversation.”

– Library Journal