Book cover for The Courage to Be Disliked by Ichiro Kishimi, Fumitake Koga

The Courage to Be Disliked

by Ichiro Kishimi, Fumitake Koga



The dialogue is a little clunky and I need to do some reading around Adlerism but there were quite a few “aha” moments for me in this book. It was a library loan but I picked up a copy to give myself more time with it.


Etiology is the study of causation while teleology is the story of the purpose of a given phenomenon, rather than it’s cause. In Adlerism we don’t think about past “causes” but instead about present “goals.”

Lifestyle is the tendencies of thought and action in life.

No matter what has occurred in your life up to this point, it should have no bearing at all on how you live from now on.

A life-lie is the state of coming up with all manner of pretexts in order to avoid life tasks. e.g. “I’m busy at work so I don’t have enough time to think about my family.”

Separation of Tasks

All problems are interpersonal relationship problems.

Adlerism denies the need to be recognized by others, one must not seek recognition. You are not living to satisfy other people’s expectations. Do not behave without regard for others – separation of tasks. All interpersional relationship troubles are caused by intruding on other people’s tasks, or having one’s own taks intruded on.

The life tasks of interpersonal relationships are:

  1. “Tasks of work”
  2. “Tasks of friendship”
  3. “Tasks of love”

We need to think with the perspective of “Whose task is this?” and continually separate one’s own tasks from other people’s tasks.

Who ultimately is going to receive the result brought about by the choice that is made?

Intervening in other people’s tasks and taking on other people’s tasks turns one’s life into something heavy and full of hardship.

All you can do with regard to your own life is choose the best path that you believe in. On the other hand, what kind of judgment do other people pass on that choice? That is the task of other people, and is not a matter you can do anything about.

Horizontal and Vertical relationships

Horizontal relationships are relationships where members have equal standing whereas vertical relationships are those where one member has greater power, authority, knowledge or wisdom over the other.

Don’t praise or rebuke: praise is passing judgement from someone with ability to someone with no ability. By praising we are making vertical relationships, not horizontal ones. All healthy relationships should be horizontal.

The more one is praised by another person, the more one believes they have no ability.

Go from praise to gratitude.


When Adler refers to community, he goes beyond the household, school, workplace, and local society, and treats it as all inclusive, covering not only nations and all of humanity but also the entire axis of time from the past to the future.

The scope of community is infinite! People are never truly alone or separated from community and cannot be.

You must consider yourself part of the community rather than the centre of the world. The goal of personal interpersonal relationships is a feeling of community. Use separation of tasks to “unravel the threads of the complex entanglement of one’s interpersonal relations.”

When running into difficulties in interpersonal relationships, one should zoom out and “listen to the voice of the larger community.”


Life is a series of moments called now, not a linear map from birth to the top of the mountain.

Think of this as a line drawn with pencil, if you magnify enough it’s made up of tiny dots. These are the now.