This book presents a revolutionary approach to life and happiness. It presents the psychological approach of Alfred Adler, who was a contemporary of and an opponent of Sigmund Freud.
Rather than blaming human psychological problems on past traumas as Freud did, Adler makes the case for the fact that we choose our behavior based on whether or not it helps us reach specific goals, either conscious or unconscious.
The author explains, through a dialogue between a wise sage and a misguided young man, that all problems are human relationship problems, mainly the fact that we are unwilling to be disliked by anyone. And therefore, we choose behavior that minimizes the chance we will be disliked. In choosing these behaviors, we give up our freedoms to live our lives as we choose.
I highly recommend this book to everyone. It can change your life if you fully embrace it.
It also dovetails nicely with the Work of Byron Katie. While Katie states that one should not concern oneself with other people’s business or “God’s business,” Adler espouses a concept called “separation of tasks” in which a person takes responsibility only for his own tasks and chooses to ignore other people’s tasks. The main human problem is that we want to take responsibility for tasks that are not ours. This causes us to make choices which result in an unfree lifestyle in which we cannot be happy. We choose to please others rather than ourselves.