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Publisher's Summary

Bring meaning and joy to all your days with this internationally best-selling guide to the Japanese concept of ikigai - the happiness of always being busy - as revealed by the daily habits of the world's longest-living people.
"Only staying active will make you want to live a hundred years." (Japanese proverb)
According to the Japanese, everyone has an ikigai - a reason for living. And according to the residents of the Japanese village with the world's longest-living people, finding it is the key to a happier and longer life. Having a strong sense of ikigai - the place where passion, mission, vocation, and profession intersect - means that each day is infused with meaning. It's the reason we get up in the morning. It's also the reason many Japanese never really retire (in fact there's no word in Japanese that means retire in the sense it does in English): They remain active and work at what they enjoy, because they've found a real purpose in life - the happiness of always being busy. In researching this book, the authors interviewed the residents of the Japanese village with the highest percentage of 100-year-olds - one of the world's Blue Zones. Ikigai reveals the secrets to their longevity and happiness: how they eat, how they move, how they work, how they foster collaboration and community, and - their best-kept secret - how they find the ikigai that brings satisfaction to their lives. And it provides practical tools to help you discover your own ikigai. Because who doesn't want to find happiness in every day?
©2017 Héctor García and Francesc Miralles (P)2017 Gildan Media LLC
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By A. Yoshida on 02-27-18

Not insightful but inspirational

At the very end of the book, the author provides the 10 rules of ikigai:
1. Stay active; don't retire.
2. Take it slow. Leave urgency behind.
3. Don't fill your stomach (be about 80% full).
4. Surround yourself with good friends.
5. Get in shape; exercise.
6. Smile.
7. Reconnect with nature.
8. Give thanks to nature, friends, family, etc. every day.
9. Live in the moment. Don't dwell on the past.
10. Follow your ikigai (your purpose in life).

The book lacks focus, especially in the beginning. The author frequently inserts information about blue zones (areas where the world's longest-lived people are located). This is already covered by Dan Buettner in his book "The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who've Lived the Longest." The author also compares different psychiatric therapies and refers often to Viktor Frankl's logotherapy -- discovery and pursuit of what we personally find meaningful. It's hard to tell when the author is providing information from someone else's research/book or actually giving insights into the Japanese secret to a long and happy life. The parts that are enjoyable are the stories of people who find meaning and fulfillment in what they do... way into their 70s and 80s.

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29 of 29 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars
By Not Quite a Literary Critic on 02-20-18

Doesn't help you find your ikigai

What would have made Ikigai better?

A much longer discussion of how to find one's ikigai and live it out and much less on longevity research. Or changing the description to fully highlight how 90% of the book is longevity research.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

The performance was generic and formal, which is often typical of nonfiction books. It was fine for what it was and there were no problems with the performace. There was nothing I particularly disliked, but besides being a fine performance, there was nothing I liked either.

Any additional comments?

The description of this book claims that

"Ikigai reveals the secrets to their longevity and happiness: ... and - their best-kept secret - how they find the ikigai that brings satisfaction to their lives. And it provides practical tools to help you discover your own ikigai. Because who doesn't want to find happiness in every day?"

Unfortunately, the book provides very little guidance on how to find your ikigai. Most of the book discusses how to life a long life. I wasn't interested in living to 100+; I was interested in finding my ikigai. A book titled ikigai caused me to think it would help me find it, but instead, there is a small section on finding it. That section is heavily based on the book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. Essentially, the entire how to on ikigai is SPOILER [to find what activites cause you to have flow and then build a life around those things]. Yet, there's a contradiction in this how to [SPOILER] since the book spends time explaining how to create flow. So is it something inherent or something we create?].

If you are interested in longevity research and tips on how to live longer, many of which are just statements from people who have lived a long time, then this book will be a great choice for you. If, instead, you are looking for a book to give you secrets to happiness, you won't really find that here. Yes, there are some small tips throughout the book, but they are things many other books cover in much more detail and depth. Nearly any book on mindfulness or meditation is better than this book for cultivating happiness. Besides flow, all the happiness advice was around living a more mindful life. The best thing I can say about this book is that is is short and is well put together. But I do not recommend it to most readers of these types of books.

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27 of 29 people found this review helpful

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