A review by shewantsthediction
The Courage to Be Disliked: The Japanese Phenomenon That Shows You How to Change Your Life and Achieve Real Happiness by Fumitake Koga, Ichiro Kishimi

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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