Awakening Your Ikigai Book Summary - Awakening Your Ikigai Book explained in key points
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Awakening Your Ikigai summary

Ken Mogi

How the Japanese Wake Up to Joy and Purpose Every Day

4.5 (1024 ratings)
15 mins

Brief summary

Awakening Your Ikigai by Ken Mogi is a guide to discovering and living out your ikigai, or reason for being. It explores the traditional Japanese concept and provides practical tips for finding meaning and fulfillment in life.

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    Awakening Your Ikigai
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    Ikigai illuminates every aspect of life

    Tokyo, 2014: Barack Obama shares an intimate dinner with the prime minister of Japan. Not at the Imperial Palace. Not at a grand restaurant. At a tiny, ten-seat sushi bar, called Sukiyabashi Jiro. Its owner is the sushi master Jiro Ono. Ono has ikigai. It’s because he has ikigai that he has welcomed guests like Obama and garnered three coveted Michelin stars. But Ono isn’t driven by accolades. Now approaching 100, Ono still works behind the restaurant counter – he’d work whether he won rave reviews and culinary awards or not. Why? Well, because he has ikigai.

    So what is ikigai? It’s a Japanese concept derived from the word iki, meaning “to live” and gai meaning “reason.” Your ikigai is your life’s purpose – the reason you get up in the morning. And it’s also the pleasure and meaning you find in the life you have.  Ikigai is versatile and applicable to both small daily activities and significant life goals. In fact, ikigai thrives in life's small moments – the morning air, a cup of coffee, a ray of sunshine, or the act of preparing a meal. Recognizing the richness of this spectrum is a crucial lesson of ikigai, particularly in a world where personal worth is often tied to conventional success.

    American writer Dan Buettner discussed ikigai in a TED talk on longevity. He highlighted “blue zones” worldwide where people live longer. Okinawan Japan topped the list. Okinawans attribute their longevity to simple pursuits aligned with their ikigai – a 102-year-old karate master finds ikigai in practicing martial arts, a centenarian fisherman in catching fish for his family, and a 102-year-old woman finds it in holding her great-great-great-granddaughter.

    When life is illuminated with ikigai, healthy and mindful habits come naturally. The Okinawans of the Blue Zone study ate well, cared for their physical and mental health, and worked to maintain community connections. In fact, studies, like the Ōsaki study from Tohoku University, have linked ikigai to various health benefits. This large-scale study involving over 50,000 subjects revealed that individuals with a sense of ikigai were more likely to have better physical and mental health – emphasizing the profound impact of this concept.

    Ikigai is an intrinsic motivator that goes beyond external recognition, offering a deeper connection to life's richness. In essence, ikigai encourages individuals to find fulfillment and meaning in the present moment, acknowledging that perfection isn't necessary, and the journey itself is where the true essence of life resides.

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    What is Awakening Your Ikigai about?

    Awakening Your Ikigai (2018) introduces the Japanese concept of ikigai or “life’s purpose,” and explains how uncovering and nurturing ikigai can catalyze a life filled with purpose and meaning.

    Awakening Your Ikigai Review

    Awakening Your Ikigai (2020) is a book that explores the Japanese concept of ikigai, which means finding purpose and fulfillment in life. Here's what makes this book worth reading:

    • Through real-life stories and examples, the book helps readers uncover their ikigai and find greater meaning in their lives.
    • It offers a practical framework for discovering one's passions, talents, and values, providing a roadmap for personal growth and fulfillment.
    • With its thought-provoking insights into the importance of connecting with others and finding joy in simple moments, the book challenges readers to live more purposefully.

    Who should read Awakening Your Ikigai?

    • Serial snooze-button users who want to wake up feeling inspired
    • Workers who feel they’re just going through the motions
    • Anyone interested in uncovering their higher calling

    About the Author

    Ken Mogi is a scientist and senior researcher at Sony Computer Science Laboratories, and the author of over 50 books on topics ranging from psychology to philosophy, linguistics to art, including The Way of Nagomi.

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    Awakening Your Ikigai FAQs 

    What is the main message of Awakening Your Ikigai?

    The main message of Awakening Your Ikigai is discovering your purpose and finding fulfillment in everyday life.

    How long does it take to read Awakening Your Ikigai?

    The reading time for Awakening Your Ikigai varies, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Awakening Your Ikigai a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Awakening Your Ikigai is a book worth reading as it provides valuable insights on finding meaning and living a more fulfilling life.

    Who is the author of Awakening Your Ikigai?

    The author of Awakening Your Ikigai is Ken Mogi.

    What to read after Awakening Your Ikigai?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Awakening Your Ikigai, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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