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

Hector Garcia Puigcerver and Francesc Miralles

The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life

4.6 (1323 ratings)
20 mins

Brief summary

'Ikigai' by Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles explores the Japanese concept of finding one's purpose in life by analyzing the habits and beliefs of the world's longest-living people. Through case studies, the book offers practical insights on how to live a more fulfilling life.

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    A deep purpose in life is the secret to longevity.

    Are you interested in living a long, healthy and fulfilling life? Who isn’t?

    The secret to doing so just may be found on the island of Okinawa, in southern Japan, home to the highest concentration of centenarians in the world.

    And these island dwellers’ secret to longevity may boil down to just one word: ikigai, which roughly translates to your reason for living – or your inner motivation for a specific professional activity.

    It can also be described as an intersection between four different elements: what you’re passionate about, where your skills lie, how you can earn a living and what the world needs. Many Japanese believe that everyone has an ikigai, or destiny, that they were born to fulfill.

    However, while some people find their ikigai quickly, others must seek it out over time. If you fall into this latter category, it’s important to persist; after all, ikigai will ultimately be what motivates you to get out of bed in the morning.

    That’s why Okinawans often attain a high degree of specialization and attention to detail in their daily work. For instance, in an Okinawan paintbrush factory, the authors met a skilled craftswoman who had spent her entire life perfecting the art of attaching individual hairs to a brush. At this stage in her career, she was able to do her job with stunning dexterity and skill.

    What’s more, ikigai is also the key to longevity. So, if your ikigai is your job, you should never retire. And if your ikigai is a hobby that brings you meaning and joy, don’t ever give it up.

    Okinawans abide by these rules and, as a result, remain active late into their lives. If they’re forced into retirement, they still find ways to remain active, such as by doing gardening or other work in their communities.

    The benefits of this commitment are clear. Medical studies conducted on Okinawan centenarians have found extremely low rates of both heart disease and dementia.

    In the next blink, you’ll learn how exactly an engaged mind enables a long life.

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    What is Ikigai about?

    Ikigai (2016) is your guide to living a long, happy life through the wisdom of Japanese culture. These blinks delve into every area of Japanese life to uncover their secrets of longevity and to explain why so many Japanese, especially those on one island in particular, live well past 100 years of age.

    Ikigai Review

    Ikigai (2017) explores the Japanese concept of finding purpose and joy in everyday life. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Combining research and interviews, it offers practical insights into discovering our true passions and leading a fulfilling life.
    • The book presents a holistic approach to well-being, integrating physical, mental, and spiritual aspects, providing a roadmap for living a balanced life.
    • With its rich cultural references and beautiful stories, it immerses readers in the enchanting world of Japan, making the exploration of ikigai captivating and inspiring.

    Best quote from Ikigai

    We have to learn how to turn off the autopilot thats steering us in an endless loop.

    —Hector Garcia Puigcerver and Francesc Miralles
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    Who should read Ikigai?

    • Japanese cultural enthusiasts
    • Those wishing to live to a hundred
    • Seekers of happiness

    About the Author

    Hector Garcia Puigcerver is a dual citizen of Japan and Spain, a specialist in Japanese culture and the author of A Geek in Japan. 

    Francesc Miralles is the best-selling author of Love in Small Letters and Wabi Sabi. 

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    Ikigai FAQs 

    What is the main message of Ikigai?

    The main message of Ikigai is finding purpose and joy in everyday life.

    How long does it take to read Ikigai?

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

    Is Ikigai a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Ikigai is worth reading as it provides insights into finding fulfillment and living a meaningful life.

    Who is the author of Ikigai?

    The authors of Ikigai are Hector Garcia Puigcerver and Francesc Miralles.

    What to read after Ikigai?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Ikigai, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Wabi Sabi by Beth Kempton
    • Awakening Your Ikigai by Ken Mogi
    • The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
    • Kaizen by Sarah Harvey
    • The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
    • Gemba Kaizen by Masaaki Imai
    • The Art of Simple Living by Shunmyo Masuno
    • The 3-Minute Rule by Brant Pinvidic
    • Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari
    • Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman