At the outset, I offer my thanks to Nikunj Verma for suggesting that i write a book review of Ikigai, and for Medha Shri for seconding this idea, asking me to give my point of view from my experiences, even after I expressed reluctance in doing so. 

While reading Swamiji’s The Art of Parenting, Swamiji had mentioned the concept of Hygge from a book titled The Little Book of Hygge. In 2019, whenever I visited a book store, I would notice The Little Book of Hygge placed together with a similar looking book called Ikigai. I had never heard of Ikigai from any other source, so I gave it a pass.

The January interview with Francesc Miralles was good enough reason for me to buy this book. I bought the book, read it over a couple of days, and then enjoyed the interview. Without further ado, here is the book review. 

The authors Francesc Miralles and Héctor García observed that the longevity in a Japanese village called Okinawa was very high, with a quarter of the population being over hundred years of age. Miralles and Garcia moved to Okinawa for a few months, interviewed the residents of Okinawa, and reported the findings in the book titled Ikigai. Ikigai roughly translates to “The happiness of always being busy”. A sense of Ikigai was one of the common factors among the residents of Okinawa.

Here are other factors that Miralles and Garcia mention in the book that contribute to a long life. The way I see it, the more of these we can inculcate, the better. I have been talking about a lot of these factors with my Dad over the last few months, in an attempt to see how to consciously inculcate them in our lives.

  • A diet rich in veggies and tofu. Plenty of veggies in each meal.
  • Filling your belly to 80% of its capacity. The Japanese have small plates, which result in smaller portions.
  • Avoid sitting. Keep moving about as much as possible. 
  • A cohesive sense of community.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Give your brain workouts.
  • Accept your feelings, even the bad ones.
  • Avoid stress, alcohol, tobacco, caffeine.
  • Strive to be in flow states as much as possible (through the pursuit of some creative endeavour).
  • Meditate.
  • Have a good time!
  • Live an unhurried life.
  • Practice Yoga.
  • Do your Breathwork.
  • Practice resilience. I.e. Don’t break when you encounter difficult situations.
  • Even Better, Practice Antifragility. 
  • Connect with Nature.
  • Practice Ikigai. Have a sense of Purpose in your life.
  • Never Retire! If you do what you like, there will be no need to retire!

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