I’m reviewing two books today which cover similar topics:
- The Japanese secret to a long and happy life by Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles
- The little book of Ikigai: The essential Japanese way to finding your purpose in life by Ken Mogi
So working in a library, I get to see the books that come in and go everyday. And these two little beauties came through the return chute. Because they didn’t have any holds or requests on the items I borrowed them for myself. I’m seeing a lot of these titles being returned recently – must be a popular topic at the moment.
The Japanese secret to a long and happy life by Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles
I read the book by Garcia and Miralles first. I thought how strange it was for non-Japanese to write something about a Japanese way of life. I actually found this book a little repetitive even though the topic was quite interesting. I felt that the authors padded out the book with unnecessary words to make the book longer. They conducted research and interviews with centenarians on the island of Okinawa where most of the longest-living people live on earth. What is their secret? It turns out, it’s someting to do with the Japanese concept called Ikigai, which translates roughly as “the happiness of always being busy”.
They say that at the heart of longevity and part of the equation of good health are:
- Nurturing friendship
- Eating light
- Getting enough rest
- Doing regular moderate exercise
The authors have also outlined the 5 Blue Zones, which are the geographic regions on earth where people live the longest. The 5 Blue Zones are:
- Okinawa, Japan
- Sardina, Italy
- Loma Linda, California USA
- The Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica
- Ikaria, Greece
The authors break down the things that Okinawans do every day to find out how you or me and everyone in the west could live longer and happier.
- Finding a purpose
- Finding friends
Overall, it’s quite an informative book especially if you’re looking or ready for a change of life to better yourself.
The little book of Ikigai: The essential Japanese way to finding your purpose in life by Ken Mogi
Ken Mogi’s Ikigai outlines and provides the reader with the same information as Garcia and Miralles have with their book. The main difference is that Mogi’s book is coming from a local Japanese point of view. Also, Mogi’s version has examples from Japanese history and modern life. Although, I find that he often goes off on a tangent and loses the main point. For example, he outlines the samurai way of life too much to explain (or not explain) Ikigai. In other words, he does not relate this back to the main topic.
So to sum up, I love the idea and the topic presented in these two books. I do however think that the authors could have written them in a more concise way.