pipn_t's review against another edition

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reflective medium-paced


Reading sort of a socratic dialogue was fun, but it was really ableist so I don't recommend.

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thereadingwells's review against another edition

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Like most philosophy/self-help/psychology books, there are bits and pieces of this one that is nice and thought-provoking, but I found this book overall quite disappointing. 

Not only was the Socratic dialogue style painful to read, many of the viewpoints expressed are extremely problematic. Totally dismissing unhappiness, trauma/PTSD, and other unfortunate circumstances as simply a choice comes across as quite elitist and as borderline toxic positivity. I do agree that it's our choice how we react to our circumstances and what's thrown at us, but it seems unnecessary and out of touch to refute the existence of horrific past trauma impacting someone's present-day reality. Most folks who live with trauma can attest to it not always being a conscious choice.

I'm glad that I checked this out from the library and didn't purchase it, I'd recommend you do the same. 

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bishopbox's review against another edition

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challenging reflective medium-paced


This book could be helpful to somebody. But in general, there is a lot of chalking up mental illness to be "just not wanting to do something." This would be a lot less offensive if it weren't for the fact that the book directly tries to tie it to mental illness. If it were making blanket statements and forgetting that there are some people this doesn't apply to, that would be a completely different thing. But this book gives multiple examples of showcasing mentally ill people.
As other reviewers have pointed out, this book does not discuss Japanese philosophy as advertised, but Alderian philosophy instead.
The only reason I have not rated it lower is that the writing style was actually pretty enjoyable. I liked the format of the book being a discussion between two people. The banter was an enjoyable way to present this story. However, I still would not recommend this book unless you are looking specifically for Adlerian philosophy.

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shewantsthediction's review against another edition

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challenging informative reflective tense slow-paced


  1. The title is very misleading. This book is not about anything Japanese, but Adlerian psychology.
  2. It's written in the form of a Socratic dialogue between a detached know-it-all old guy and a hotheaded kid, which started out entertaining, but quickly became a tiresome, repetitive device.
  3. Trauma is absolutely real. As someone who experienced child abuse and has been only recently coming to terms with it a decade later, the suggestion that "trauma doesn't exist" is insensitive, grossly offensive, and a harmful oversimplification. It's also a complete misunderstanding of what victims go through, and it's clear to me the authors of this book have never experienced abuse. I suggest The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk if you're looking for a general understanding, or Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving by Pete Walker if you're a survivor yourself. What this book gets wrong about trauma is that you're simultaneously a victim and also not. You were harmed, but healing only comes once you're able to identify as a survivor and change your mental narrative moving forward. This, in turn, is only possible once you're able to confront, explore, and integrate the past—which is next to impossible for survivors who have repressed or forgotten memories, dissociated, or are avoidant. Outright denying that trauma exists, gaslighting survivors, and telling them to just "get over it" or "forget about it because it's in the past" is NOT the answer. The only way out is through. Healing from trauma takes hard work, and it's a process that looks different for everybody.
  4. People who self-harm are not "doing it for the attention." Honestly I should've DNFed right there. Absolutely disgusting attitude and again, displays a total misunderstanding of mental illness. There were also some off comments about suicide and disabilities.

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