In the past five years, habits for living from Japanese lifestyles have received massive popularity. Now, words like “Ikigai” and “Zen” are pretty well known globally, and every year millions of people are reading and adopting these Japanese lifestyles. In this article, I am exploring my top non-fiction books from Japanese Personality Development books.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
Marie Kondo’s popularity is one of the biggest factors for the rise in interest in Japanese Non-fiction books – and her book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” is one of her essential creations. If you always find your surroundings in a mess and despite trying your best, you keep losing your things among the huge pile of clutter in your drawers and cupboards- I have no idea why you still haven’t read this book! This is a book that will guide you to simplify and organize your physical surroundings. Kondo has a very simple ideology: If it does not Spark Joy, you should dump it! While some people find her strategy very extreme – others are stunned at her effectiveness. While I did not become a minimalist after flipping through this book, I made massive progress with the clutter at my home, and my room is 80% cleaner than ever. You can buy the book on Amazon.
The Book of Ichigo Ichie by Francesc Miralles and Héctor García
Ichigo Ichie translates to “In this moment, an opportunity” or “Once, a meeting” – The essence is that each moment that we experience (inclusive of the one you are going through right now, i.e., reading my article) is unique. They will never be repeated in the same way again – which is why it is necessary to keep it in mind to fully imbibe the moments into our souls. Daily life seems more mundane than ever now; however, “The Book of Ichigo Ichie: The Art of Making the Most of Every Moment, the Japanese Way” helps you focus more on the present moments with attention – as it educates you to become more mindful of everything around you. One of the book’s biggest takeaways is learning how to dwell in the present – which I believe a lot of us fail to do – thanks to the pull of the past and anxiety of the future. You can buy the book on Amazon.
Ikigai by Héctor García and Francesc Miralles
Ikigai is yet another popular Japanese philosophy that has gathered global attention over the last few years. I came across it in an article, with an alluring illustration of four intersecting circles – terming the center as “Ikigai” and was immediately curious to find out how I can find mine. Ikigai roughly translates to “reason for being,” and it teaches you the art of finding common ground between four factors that can influence your own reason of existence:
- What You Love
- What You Are Good At
- What You Can Be Paid For
- What The World Needs
These four factors have helped me a lot in finalizing each decision I make – or discarding a certain idea if it did not match these categories. Reading “Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life” can help you gain massive clarity so that you can avoid taking the wrong career paths in the future. Also, learn how Ikigai can help you imbibe your work-life balance. You can buy the book on Amazon.
Kaizen by Sarah Harvey
Kaizen is primarily a term that correlates to a workspace – however, you can also modify it to suit yourself. At its core – it is a philosophy that proposes gradual improvement on a regular basis among all the employees of an organization to generate more efficiency. “Kaizen: The Japanese Method for Transforming Habits, One Small Step at a Time” by Sarah Harvey is a great pick if you want to bring it down to a personal level – as she explains how to create long-lasting changes with small steps. While the essence of the book is that: Break down big goals into small tasks – I truly do it injustice by summing it up in a sentence. Adopting Kaizen as a part of your lifestyle can truly help; however, I do recommend reading the book for the best results. You can buy this book on Amazon.
Zen: The Art of Simple Living by Shunmyo Masuno
The brevity of this book is the best thing about it, as it elucidates one idea per page: giving you a total of 100 ideas to adopt or work on. By definition, Zen is a Japanese school of Mahayana Buddhism that focuses on the importance of meditation and intuition as opposed to ritual worship or study of scriptures. However, the book is applicable no matter where your beliefs lie. While some ideas presented, like not worrying before bedtime, are pretty cliché, others are pretty new and can help you advance physically and spiritually. My favorite has to be that we should live how we want to die. It makes me ask a lot of questions about both that I still haven’t found the answers to! You can buy this book on Amazon.
I hope you like these recommendations and will try to pick a few of them up! Happy Reading!