I read this book a few months back in one sitting and 5 hours: Yup, all 260+ pages.
I even wrote a blog post inspired by it talking about one of the concepts that were mentioned in the book itself.
Here, however, I want to tell you a little bit about the book itself & give you a short review and summary. I’m a total book worm, and I read a lot of books — 1 a week on average, sometimes 2. My top 5 has stayed the same for the last 3 or 4 years, but after I read this book, it immediately made it to my top 5. When I really think about it, it might even be in my top 3.
Yup, it’s that good.
I downloaded a trial of this book on my kindle a year ago. I remember taking a bath, taking my kindle, and reading the first 10 or 15 pages. I wasn’t impressed. I felt confused about the way the book was written, and none of it really made sense.
I deleted the book off my kindle and never thought again about it.
Fast forwards to 2 months ago: I had relocated from New York City to the Netherlands, and I was going to the bookstore to get my friend a birthday present. As I was making my way to the check out line, I saw a bookshelf of ‘top 5 books to read this month’ and The Courage to be Disliked was sitting there.
I picked it up, turned it around, and read the back of it.
’hmm…’ I thought. ‘Perhaps I should give it another shot.’
2 days later, on a Saturday, I picked up the book and began to read it.
I was about 30 pages in when I realized that this might be the greatest book I have ever read.
I continued to sit in the same spot on the couch for the next 5 hours until I read it cover to cover. It’s crazy to think that just a year ago, I had deleted the book because it didn’t resonate with me. Now, I had read it back to back in one sitting.
I believe that I wasn’t in a place at that time where I needed to hear all of these things. I wasn’t ready, you could say. However, when I finally did read it — it was EXACTLY what I had needed at that moment in time.
The book is written in a Socratic dialogue: it means that the style is in the form of an argument — using the question and answer method employed by Socrates. I can’t even tell you how much I loved this style. It truly made me feel like I was observing a conversation between 2 people, and it made me understand the information that much better.
Crazy to think that my first experience with this style was confusing. I now absolutely love the Socratic dialogue style.
There are 2 main characters in the book: the Youth and the Professor. The Youth approaches the Professor in hopes of discovering happiness and satisfaction in life. He asks the Professor a series of questions about fulfillment, changing yourself and your life, and happiness.
It’s pretty funny because the Youth challenges the Professor and disagrees with practically every single thing that the Professor says. It made me laugh a few times because it made me think of all the people who could easily put themselves in the shoes of the Youth.
I’ve read a lot of personal growth books in my life, and since I’m a life coach — all the things that the Professor talks about resonate with me completely and I agree with all of it. However, I know a lot of people who reminded me of the Youth — argumentative, stuck in their old habitual thoughts and wanting to challenge new information.
So whether you’re someone who’s open-minded and have read a lot of personal growth, spirituality, and self-help books or you’re someone who’s pretty cynical and closed-minded — I promise you that this book will resonate with you no matter what.
Philosopher: In short, ‘freedom is being disliked by other people’.
Youth: Huh? What was that?
Philosopher: It’s that you are disliked by someone. It is proof that you are exercising your freedom and living in freedom, and a sign that you are living in accordance with your own principles.
Youth: But, but…
Philosopher: It is certainly distressful to be disliked. If possible, one would like to live without being disliked by anyone. One wants to satisfy one’s desire for recognition. But conducting oneself in such a way as to not be disliked by anyone is an extremely unfree way of living, and is also impossible. There is a cost incurred when one wants to exercise one’s freedom. And the cost of freedom in interpersonal relationships is that one is disliked by other people
I wanted to share this particular part of the book from page 144 because it blew my mind.
I had never thought of being disliked by other people as me exercising my freedom and living by my own values. This created a complete shift in my mind about doing what I want and not caring about what people think. More importantly, understanding that being disliked is actually a good thing.
If you were trying to please everyone — you wouldn’t be standing up for something. You wouldn’t be committed to something that is important to you, and you wouldn’t be fulfilling your heart’s desire. When someone dislikes you, it’s a sign that you’re being and living in a way that is true to you.
That’s not what we’re talking about! We’re talking about following passions that are important to you, having a lifestyle that is meaningful to you, and doing whatever it is that you want to do. Pls don’t be a jackass to other people. That’s not cool.
10/10 without a shadow of a doubt.
I loved it, I shared it with so many people and they loved it just as much as I did.
I want to re-read it once again and do it at a slower pace. Taking in every single page and giving myself some time to ponder & wonder. I truly cannot recommend this book enough!
Much love, friends! Let me know if you end up reading it.