Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life – Book Review

Author: Francesc Miralles and Hector Garcia

Genre: Self-help book

First Published: April 2016

Ikigai Storyline:

Ikigai is a mysterious word. It made me curious to apprehend the thoughts behind it.

It has no direct English translation but is understood to mean a reason to live’ or having a purpose in life.

The author has put together the insights and the practices, which lead to a healthier lifestyle. The concept meant to live a long and happy life.

The studies explained that a certain population in Japan, particularly the island of Okinawa, had a higher life expectancy. Which means they lived longer as compared to the rest of the population over the world.

The author tried to reveal the secret of the island. What led to the high life expectancy of the inhabitants of Okinawa.

Ikigai Concept:

They introduced the concept of Ikigai, which means the happiness of always being busy. According to this concept, to find purpose in life, you have to answer four questions:

What do you love?
What are you good at? Skills, passion, job, etc.
What does the world need?
What can you get paid for?

Ikigai Concept

Finding a balance between the four areas may be the route to having a life that one looks forward to living.

Apart from that, the researchers also found that the people on this island developed a value in living. They followed a healthy diet, simple life, green tea, climate, which were some of the reasons which led to a long life for them.

In addition to this, they also followed the principle of “treat everyone like a brother”. Even if you never met them before, they were friendly with each other. The residents practiced and believed in teamwork from a very early age. So, they developed a habit of helping each other.

The centenarians inspired everyone to keep celebrating birthdays. They cherished every new day. They rejoiced in friendship and had a very close-knit community.

The observation also included that, the Japanese never retire they keep doing things they love as long as their health allows.

This book has insights and case studies showing real-life stories, where the Ikigai concept was successful. Japanese philosophy worked perfectly for having a lasting body, mind, and spirit. The author has also captured interviews of centenarians and their Ikigai remarkably.

Read: The Power of Now-A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment: Book Review

Five blue zones concept

In Addition to this, the comparison of research done by Dan Buettner is also mentioned in the book. He discovered the five blue zones concept and selected these five places for his study and research. Okinawa, Japan holding the first place, others included Sardinia (Italy), Loma Linda (California), The Nicoya Peninsula (Costa Rica), Ikaria (Greece).

According to scientists who have studied the five Blue Zones, the keys to longevity are diet, exercise, finding a purpose in life, and forming strong social ties—that is, having a broad circle of friends and good family relations.

The finding explains the reason for the higher life expectancy in these particular regions. Read the book, if you are curious to know the ten secret rules of Ikigai.


We all need to find purpose in our life. Once we find the meaning of life, we live a happier life. Knowing your Ikigai will help you achieve long and fulfilling life.

So, I would recommend this book to everyone to read once in his/her lifetime. It will transform you and your approach towards life.

Book’s sole purpose is to inspire the reader to find their purpose and meaning to life. This book will help you to find your reason to jump off the bed every morning.

Find your reason for being? Find the purpose of living each day? What’s your Ikigai?

Read: 15 Best Motivational Books to Read

About the Author:

Francesc Miralles is a Spanish writer, essayist, translator, and musician. He is an award-winning author who has written numerous bestselling self-help and inspirational books. 

Born in Barcelona, he studied journalism, English literature, and German. He has worked as an editor, a translator, a ghost-writer, and a musician. 

His novel includes Lost in Bombay, A Haiku for Alice, The Dream of the West, Indigo’s Journey, Love in Lowercase, and many more. His works have been translated into several languages.

Hector Garcia was born in Spain. He is a software engineer, author, and philosopher. He worked at CERN in Switzerland as a software engineer. 

But later, he moved to Japan and is now living there for more than a decade. His most well-known books are Ikigai, A Geek in Japan, and Ichigo Ichie.

Quotes from the book:

“Only staying active will make you want to live a hundred years.”

“Our ikigai is different for all of us, but one thing we have in common is that we are all searching for meaning.”

“Concentrating on one thing at a time may be the single most important factor in achieving flow.”

Rating: 5/5

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book review of Ikigai

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