cover image Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life

Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life

Héctor García and Francesc Miralles, trans. from the Spanish by Heather Cleary. Penguin, $20 (208p) ISBN 978-0-14-313072-7

This compendium of best practices for a healthy body and mind is loosely organized around the concept of ikigai, a Japanese word García (A Geek in Japan) and Miralles (Love in Lowercase) translate as “the happiness of always being busy.” The authors focus on Ogimi, a village in Okinawa reported to have the world’s highest life expectancy. They interview villagers who report eating a simple, vegetable-based diet high in antioxidants, engaging in continual physical activity, and participating in a strong network of neighborhood groups. The book also includes wisdom from supercentenarians (age 110 and over) throughout the world. García and Miralles deliver clear, succinct information about diet, exercise, stress, sleep, and meditation. While little here is new, the authors have skillfully compiled key ideas related to physical and mental well-being into an engaging, easily accessible format with lists, charts, and illustrations. They explain clearly why each recommended action is critical and make it easy for the reader to take immediate steps (for example, by providing diagrams for basic tai chi and yoga exercises). Throughout, the book persuasively shows that small changes can help readers find more joy and purpose in their lives. Agent: Sandra Bruna, Sandra Bruna Agencia Literaria (Spain). (Sept.)