Genre: Self help / Philosophy
Release date: September 2019
I really love self help books! Sometimes I just can’t get enough of reading them, learning new stuff and getting inspired to apply some of the theory in real life. Lately I’ve been reading a lot of books on Japanese lifestyle and philosophy. Enter: Kaizen. This book was written by Sarah Harvey, who lived in Japan for quite some time. She was struggling with work and life in general, but thanks to the Kaizen methodology she found a way to get a grip on her life. But was she able to convey this to the reader?
Kaizen starts with a brief explanation of the principle and that it is built upon the philosophy that if you want to create big changes for improvement, you’ll need to start with small changes first and expand on that until you’ve reached your goal. Kaizen’s roots lie in America, but the idea was introduced in Japan where it further evolved into what it is now. The idea is that you look at all processes in your company and try to improve small things, which will eventually lead to a more efficient workplace. The big idea is to take small steps! 😉 Eventually this will add up and improve the entire company, leading to a more streamlined process and happier employees. But this book, of course, is meant as a self help book and Sarah Harvey shows you how to apply Kaizen to improve your life in all kinds of aspects, like finance, health, relationships, etc.
One thing that caught my eye every now and then was that quite a bit of the contents of this book seemed to be aimed at women. It didn’t really bother me, but perhaps it would have been a bit better to keep things more general. Sarah Harvey touches a lot of subjects in this books and tries to give examples on how to apply the Kaizen methodology in your life. For instance, if you want to become healthier and work out for an hour every day, you shouldn’t start doing that from day 1, but you need to build up gradually. Start with a work-out that lasts 10 minutes. Try that for a week and then add another five minutes until you’re eventually at your goal of one hour. That way your body gets time to get used to exercise and it should be easier for you to create a new habit, instead of giving up because you have sore muscles from overextending yourself.
The Kaizen principle is all about chopping everything up into manageable chunks. The benefits of this method are great when it comes to big projects. Try chopping them up into the smallest possible steps and complete them all to finish your project! This book gives you all the tools you need to apply this method. At the same time, this book tries to touch so much subjects that it never delves deep into some of the implications of applying Kaizen, so you should be aware of that. The book is also slightly autobiographical, which is just fine, because Sarah tells a lot about what didn’t work and what did work for her in her life before and after Japan. It’s a smooth read and I finished it in no time!
Kaizen is a book that you can grab every now and then to flip through and re-read some of the sections on a particular subject, if you’re a little bit stuck in life. After reading this book, I think I’ll look for more books on this methodology, preferably one that delves a bit deeper into the theory. This book can serve as an introduction and I would recommend it to anyone who’s interested in Japanese philoshopy and lifestyle, or if you want to make some meaningful changes to your life and you have trouble finding out where to start!
Cover artwork: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Paper smell: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Jeffrey, You have mentioned “KAIZEN,” by SARAH HARVEY before. Taking things one step at a time, increasing until you get there, seems so simple but certainly wise. Glad you did this review! Phil