The Courage to Be Disliked

Fumitake Koga, Ichiro Kishimi

The Courage to Be Disliked



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Alfred Adler, although less well known than his colleagues Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, was hugely influential in the field of psychology. This book draws from the classic ‘dialogue format’ typical of Greek philosophy, and through a series of conversations between a master and young pupil, analyses the main themes of Adlerian psychological and philosophical theory on the age-old question: ‘how can we be happy?’ According to Adler, achieving happiness is relatively simple, as long as we are able to find the courage to change the way we see our relationships, other people, and our community; above all, though, we have to realise that change is always possible. 

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Analysis and key concepts


According to Adler, human behaviour is determined by future goals and intentions, rather than past events


Deciding to be happy is just as much a personal choice as the decision to change


All problems stem from our interpersonal relationships


The need for recognition from other people takes away our freedom and prevents us from living a full and happy life


We have to rethink our relationships with people, and determine what is our responsibility and what is someone else's


In order to be happy, we have to complete the three life tasks


We have to recognise the difference between interfering and helping, if we want to avoid mistaking task separation for indifference


No one is more important than anyone else, and the ultimate goal of living in a society is to create a feeling of community


Being self-centred prevents the sense of community, and makes us feel isolated. Adlerian psychology provides several basic steps to help us progress from ego-attachment to concern for others


Life is a sequence of moments that are worth living, regardless of the goal




Take-home message

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Many useful tips to:

  • Learn more about Alfred Adler’s psychological theories.
  • Change our life for the better and find happiness.
  • Free ourselves from our fears and the unnecessary burdens that so often complicate life.

Fumitake Koga was born in 1973. He is an award-winning writer and has published numerous best-selling books and essays on business. In his early twenties, he read a book by Ichiro Kishimi on Adlerian psychology, and it changed his life. In 2010, having spent much time with Kishimi over the course of many years, he decided to share his knowledge of the enlightening themes running through Adlerian psychology with the general public.

Ichiro Kishimi is a Japanese psychologist. His specialisation is in counselling, and he also has a degree in classical Western philosophy. His book The Courage to Be Disliked, which has sold 4 million copies worldwide, is based on a combination of psychology with philosophy, and does this by introducing the reader to Alfred Adler’s theories of psychoanalysis.

Publishing house:

Atria Books