The Courage to be Happy Book Summary - The Courage to be Happy Book explained in key points

The Courage to be Happy summary

Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga

True contentment is within your power

Listen to the first key idea

Key idea 1 of 8
4.1 (70 ratings)
15 mins
8 key ideas
Audio & text

What is The Courage to be Happy about?

The Courage to be Happy (2019) takes the educational philosophies and childhood development theories of early 20th-century psychologist Alfred Adler and applies them to contemporary life and learning. Authors Kishimi and Koga show that Adler’s progressive teachings are just as relevant today as they were at the turn of the last century.

About the Author

Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga are the Japanese writing duo who authored The Courage to be Disliked and its follow-up The Courage to be Happy. Both books have sold over a million copies. The pair initially bonded over their shared admiration of the early 20th-century Viennese psychologist Alfred Adler. In their best-selling books, they seamlessly translate Adler’s philosophies of life and learning to a contemporary audience.

Table of Contents
    Key idea 1 of 8

    The purpose of education is to teach self-reliance. 

    What is the purpose of educating a child?

    Is it to teach her how to read and write? How to work out differential equations, name the world’s capital cities, or recite pi to the 20th decimal place?

    According to psychologist Alfred Adler, it’s more profound than that. 

    The key message here is: The purpose of education is to teach self-reliance. 

    Adlerian psychology proposes two fundamental concepts to do with self-reliance.

    First, that humans are conditioned to strive for improvement and independence. Think about it: even as babies we desire to overcome our helplessness. It's what drives us to crawl, walk, and speak. We are naturally driven to become self-reliant.

    Second, that this self-reliance means satisfying our individual expectations and only our individual expectations. In fact, Adler proposes two categories of “tasks”. Our own – which we are responsible for – and other people’s – which they are responsible for. We should only carry out our tasks. 

    So if, for example, my boss doesn’t like me, I shouldn’t try to change her mind. Whether she likes me or not is her task, not mine. And it’s in fulfilling our own tasks without intervening in others’ that we become self-reliant.

    Adler believed that we reach true happiness by achieving full self-reliance. But don't make the mistake of thinking that this means withdrawing. For Adler, the truly self-reliant individual is harmoniously integrated into society, while simultaneously also meeting her own needs. 

    So … how does education fit into all this? 

    At first glance, Adlerian psychology doesn’t really fit in an educational context. After all, isn’t the idea of teaching self-reliance a bit counter-intuitive? And, following Adler’s logic, surely learning is a child’s task – it’s not one for a teacher or parent to share. Is it?

    Actually, Adler saw education as essential for self-reliance. Remember how connected it is to community? Adler believed that children learn self-reliance and how to be a part of their communities by sharing human knowledge – things like how to interact with people, or knowing what a green light at a crosswalk means. In other words, education.

    In the next blinks, we’ll talk more about how Adler’s ideas around education can be put into practice to help educators and parents alike raise self-reliant, not to mention happy, children.

    Want to see all full key ideas from The Courage to be Happy?

    Key ideas in The Courage to be Happy

    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    Who should read The Courage to be Happy

    • Teachers tearing their hair out over problem students
    • Educators who sometimes wonder what the point of their work is
    • Parents who want to raise resilient, self-reliant children

    Categories with The Courage to be Happy

    What our members say

    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    Start growing with Blinkist now
    25 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    Of Blinkist members create a better reading habit*
    *Based on survey data from Blinkist customers
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 5,500+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial