Japanese Wisdom

The Japanese way of life and philosophy, continues to inspire and offer a very different perspective from the West to living well. These book recommendations are designed to offer a wide selection of Japanese wisdom and philosophy. A reading list filled with hope, novelty and transformation that piques the curiosity of even the most skeptical of minds.


Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life (Non-fiction) by Héctor García

Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life by Héctor García

Ikigai is the Japanese version of the Danish hygee with the difference that hygge is the practice of doing nothing and ikigai is the practice of staying active by doing something — with focus, patience and joy.

The philosophy invites you to embrace meaning and joy in everything you do and actively doing this. This is the secret to long and happy life.

Literally translated, ikigai means your life’s purpose, your raison d’etre and finding this will truly give your life meaning, happiness and longevity. It infuses your day with passion, a vision for your life and a professional pursuit.

The Japanese strongly believe that you should never stop doing whatever gives your this ikigai. In fact, this is the reason why the Japanese don’t have a word for retirement — it’s because they never retire. They actively pursue what brings them joy habitually.

A wonderful, little audiobook to start your day with, perfect for the morning commute.

Wabi Sabi: Japanese Wisdom for a Perfectly Imperfect Life (Non-fiction) by Beth Kempton

wabi sabi , japanese philosophy, best books on japanese wisdom

The philosophy of Wabi Sabi, which explores the beauty found in the transient imperfection of life, is captured in this book in stunning vignettes that leave you feeling energised and refreshed, particularly after a difficult day. Happiness, after all is found right where you are.

It’s the perfect book for your coffee table to ensure that you’ll refer to it over and over again and get the most out of it.


More book prescriptions can be found at Book Therapy.

A big hello and thank you for reading! Passionate about literature, psychology, and life I launched Book Therapy as an alternative form of therapy using the power of literature. I train mental health professionals, librarians, teachers as well as readers on using bibliotherapy in their own work through our online Bibliotherapy, Literature and Mental Health course. We also curate reading lists/personalised book prescriptions for clients based on their individual needs. This is our signature personalised reading service.

You can also check out Book Therapy’s other free reading lists and A- Z of book prescriptions (covering both fiction and non-fiction). These suggest books based on your existing life situation (e.g. anxiety, job change, relationship heartache) as well as interests (e.g memoir, historical fiction, non-fiction, crime etc). There’s also a Children’s A — Z of Book Prescriptions. Feel free to check out the blog for more literary gems. There’s also a post on my personal story of how I entered the world of bibliotherapy and book curation.

In this role, I have had the opportunity to publish a book called The Happiness Mindset, and write various literary essays and pieces for newspapers and magazines. I have undertaken bibliotherapy workshops for The United Nations, various libraries in New York and corporate organisations in the UK and US. My book recommendations have featured in the Guardian, Marie Claire, NBC News, Asian Voice, New York Observer, Sydney Telegraph and various other publications. If you are a parent you might enjoy a podcast I’ve recorded with speech and language therapist Sunita Shah on Raising A Reader & Storyteller. And if you’d like to connect, email me at bijal@booktherapy.io or www.booktherapy.io.

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