Before reading Ikigai, I was familiar with most of Sebastian Marshall’s recent writing, but not much of his older blog posts. It’s almost impossible to read Hacker News and not eventually land on his blog, but I’ve only been reading Hacker News for a little over a year.
For a background on how this book came to be, I highly recommend reading this open letter to Simon & Schuester from Sebastian Marshall.
Basically, he severed ties with Simon & Schuester and published this book in a week (http://theoneweekbook.com).
People might think Sebastian Marshall is over the top or a little crazy. They’re probably right. But you can’t say he isn’t wildly entertaining and really smart. Ikigai was a great read.
I didn’t agree with all of it and some of it I had already read, but that’s alright. Everything I had previously read was well worth reading again.
What I Learned:
If you’re a designer, especially a talented one, this book will make you money. Three months ago I worked with a designer who was severely underpaid and under appreciated. She should have quit her job a year ago. His advice on how designers can get paid what they’re worth is great advice for any creative.
Beyond that, there is great advice on:
– Time tracking and the importance of it.
– Creating daily habits.
– Thinking strategically.
– Taking action.
Where I Disagree:
There is a section on Chasing Meaning Over Happiness. I think I understand what he’s saying, but he confuses Happiness with Fun.
“I’m not always able to reach my objectives, but happiness? Pfft. Ah, don’t get me wrong. You need base happiness like you need good bloodflow and oxygen and things like that. But yes, I do rate things much more highly than myself, and especially more highly than my own pleasure. I mean, pleasure? As a goal? Seriously? Really?”
Did Sebastian have fun putting together this book? I doubt it. But is he happy that’s it is complete and changing lives? Probably.
I won’t go farther into Fun vs Happiness since I wrote an entire post about it that you can read.
Fun isn’t a noble pursuit. Happiness is. Meaning comes from doing things that bring happiness not from doing things that are fun.
“The million dollar question … why don’t people take the large opportunities in front of them? Why don’t they allow their dreams to become realities? Because it means you won’t be understood. And we need to be understood, fundamentally, it’s so important to us.”
“Most young people these days have no real dreams, no strong ethics, no strength. They stand for nothing, they want nothing, they do nothing. Just by trying, even a little bit, you wind up better than most of them.”
“You don’t know what’s possible unless you study history.”
“A lot of people don’t understand good negotiating. They think it’s about getting the best price—no, no, no. Good negotiation is about figuring out what you can offer that’s worth more to the other person than you, and what they can offer that’s worth more to you than them.”
“Make people look good to the people they really care about.”
“You’re going to die. Being mildly embarrassed isn’t going to hurt you.”
“Do things for reasons.”
“Your time will come. I try to think about this every day—we don’t have too much time on Earth. Whether it’s one month, eight years, 50 years, 70 years, or 100 years—this isn’t too much time, it’s not enough time to do all the good things that are capable of being done. The question is, were you spending your life right, doing all the best things you could, searching out the most meaningful things, taking the best courses of action, training yourself, building your talent, spending your time well, serving people, appreciating life? If you were, it’s no shame to go when you go. The bell rings for all of us at some time.”
The Verdict: 9/10 – Read.
Even if you’ve read everything Sebastian Marshall has ever written this is still worth buying. Actually, if you’ve read everything he’s written, you owe it to him to buy this book.
Yes, there are a few typos. There is a little repetition. Who cares? You won’t if you read the book. The content stands alone and it’s phenomenal advice.
Get Ikigai on Amazon by clicking the image below.