Ikigai Book Summary: How to Find Your Purpose and Live Longer

5 Minute Summary
4 min readOct 10, 2023


Photo by Tarun Savvy on Unsplash

Ikigai is a Japanese word that means “a reason for being” or “a reason to live”. It is the intersection of four elements: what you love, what you are good at, what the world needs, and what you can be paid for. Finding your ikigai can help you live a long, happy, and fulfilling life.

In this book summary, we will explore the concept of ikigai and how it can help you discover your passion, mission, profession, and vocation. We will also learn from the people of Okinawa, Japan, who have the highest life expectancy in the world and practice ikigai every day. Finally, we will share some tips and exercises to help you find your own ikigai and apply it to your life.

What is Ikigai?

Ikigai is a Japanese concept that refers to the source of value in one’s life or the things that make one’s life worthwhile. It is often depicted as a Venn diagram with four overlapping circles:

  • What you love: This is your passion, the thing that makes you happy and excited.
  • What you are good at: This is your skill, the thing that you have talent and experience in.
  • What the world needs: This is your mission, the thing that contributes to society and makes a difference.
  • What you can be paid for: This is your profession, the thing that provides you with income and security.

Your ikigai lies at the centre of these four circles, where they all meet. It is the perfect balance of doing something that you enjoy, that you are good at, that benefits others, and that rewards you. It is your purpose in life, your reason for being.

“Walk slowly and you’ll go far.”

Hector Garcia Puigcerver, Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life

Why is Ikigai Important?

Ikigai is important because it can help you live a long, happy, and meaningful life. According to the authors of the book Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life, Héctor García and Francesc Miralles finding your ikigai can bring you many benefits:

  • It can give you a sense of direction and motivation. When you know what your ikigai is, you have a clear goal to pursue and a reason to get up in the morning.
  • It can make you more resilient and adaptable. When you face challenges or difficulties, you can draw strength from your ikigai and overcome them with courage and perseverance.
  • It can make you more satisfied and fulfilled. When you do what you love, what you are good at, what the world needs, and what you can be paid for, you feel more content and grateful for what you have.
  • It can make you healthier and happier. When you follow your ikigai, you tend to have more positive emotions, less stress, better relationships, and a higher quality of life.
Photo by Mayank Baranwal on Unsplash

How to Find Your Ikigai?

Finding your ikigai is not easy. It requires a lot of self-reflection, exploration, experimentation, and feedback. However, it is not impossible either. Here are some steps that can help you find your ikigai:

  • Start with what you love. Think about what makes you happy, what sparks joy in you, what fills you with enthusiasm. Write down a list of things that you love doing or would love to do.
  • Next, find out what you are good at. Think about what skills or talents you have, what compliments or feedback you receive from others, and what achievements or awards you have earned. Write down a list of things you are good at or would like to improve on.
  • Then, discover what the world needs. Think about what problems or needs exist in society, what causes or issues matter to you, what values or principles guide you. Write down a list of things that the world needs or would benefit from.
  • Finally, identify what you can be paid for. Think about what opportunities or markets exist for your skills or passions, what demand or niche there is for your services or products, and what income or compensation you expect or desire. Write down a list of things you can be paid for or would like to be paid for.

Now that you have four lists of potential ikigai elements, compare them and look for overlaps or connections. Try to find one thing or a combination of things that fit all four criteria: something that you love, that you are good at, that the world needs, and that

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