Book Review – The Courage to be Disliked

This book was a recommendation on the Ikario podcast. The podcast was in a series called Getting your shit together and the particular episode was about mastering your emotions. Each of the episodes on the series looks at one aspect of the most important things to achieve your goals. They also recommend the top 3 things you can look at when you are trying to master that aspect.

The format of the book is as a conversation between a mentor and a student. The conversation is about how to live your life on the basis of the teachings of psychologist Alfred Adler. The student has questions about how to live a good life and how to deal with his psychology. The mentor is living life as per Adlers teachings and talks about his worldview with the student.


This book makes some interesting points. The author proposes that what happened to you in your past is really not important. He puts forward that you decide how you want to live your life. Any past memories are repurposed to satisfy this end. It flips the narrative around. We normally think that we are the products of our past history and events. This kind of makes intuitive sense. There are people who use the same stories to make justification on how their life currently is. For instance, someone can say they are unable to break out of poverty because of an impoverished childhood. Someone else will say that they achieved a level of success for the exact same reason.

The conversations in the book imply that this is not something that you do consciously.

One of the ways to see if this is happening to you is to look at what these thoughts allow you to achieve. The student in the book was insecure and considered himself an introvert. He didn’t like people and felt that he had nothing to bring to a conversation. This led to a resentment of people as well as a great number of stories about how the world was a particular way. The mentor asked what purpose these memories served. The mentor put forward the theory that the student wanted to stay as he was and didn’t like change. As a result, he concocted insecurities and a world view that made him believe that he was unable to change.

One of the most pernicious aspects of human psychology is this unwillingness to change. The mind will concoct all sorts of scenarios, give you insecurities and even go as far as sabotaging your life so you can stay where you are. You are not aware of this at a conscious level, you just go through life wondering why you are always stuck in the same place. Why you can never catch a break.

Reversing Psychology

This flips the narrative on your worldview and insecurities. Looking at the end goal in mind and then seeing how you are contributing towards that end goal. It means that your insecurities and worldview are not as important as changing your actual end goal.

The normal way of dealing with insecurities is to pick them apart carefully to reveal the falsehoods within them. This is a long winded process which can take years to reconcile in some cases.

Looking at what your insecurities let you achieve, flips things around. Your life isn’t a result of your insecurities, but is some ways your insecurities are a result of what you want your life to be.

The past and future are fluid

This way you are in complete control. You can change what you want your life to be and your thoughts and world view will then follow. It is quite powerful and empowering.

Memories can turn from being a burden to being the thing that liberates you.

The book also has other important points but to me this was the most eye opening.

I recommend this book to anyone who is on the path to self knowledge and self realization.

1 comment

  1. Thought this was thought provoking…….an answer to many feelings left unanswered .I guess one has to look inside oneself to find the answers to many doubts.

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