Kaizen: The Japanese Method for Transforming Habits, One Small Step at a Time

I love everything about Japan! My life started to intertwine with the culture of the country as my Buddhism practice grew. Well, that’s for a later day discussion, but I have loved various life philosophies that originate from the country. We are all aware about concepts such as Ikigai, Wabi Sabi, Shinrin Yoku, and so many more. 

To set context, Kaizen is a compound of two Japanese words that together translate as “good change” or “improvement.” However, in the recent times, Kaizen has come to mean “continuous improvement” through its association with lean methodology and principles. The book delves into the genesis of the term Kaizen, its history and how it has a made a comeback to Japanese culture.

The book has a small section on how to start— which gives a step-by-step framework of how to use this book. Steps include identifying your habits you want to change/ implement, acknowledging a timeline, and rewards to self.

The book is further divided into specific sections/ areas of life: work, health, money, home, relationships. It then goes to cover how to incorporate new hobbies and challenges; it expands ways on how to stick to a new hobby. As Kaizen is a lifelong commitment, there will be times that we will waver; to address this the book has a chapter dedicated called stumbling blocks that provides easy and small steps to address the demotivation or feeling of not staying the course.

The book, at all times, focuses on starting small to make sure readers aren’t overwhelmed if and when they follow what’s suggested in the book. It also introduces a few Japanese methods in various chapter. For instance: Kakeibo- the Japanese way to save money, basically iterates the importance of writing down all expenses to be more cognizant of every spend you make and be able to hence spend prudently, save consciously. 

Additionally, each chapter dives deep into a particular area of your life and without overtly trying to motivate people, in simple and straightforward manner try to highlight steps that can bring improvement. Each chapter has element of self-work while also encouraging asking for help whenever needed/ build accountability.

I also enjoyed the fact that every chapter had elements of self-reflection and introspection in form of questions that readers can ask themselves to conclude/ reference about their habits. This style makes the book less preachy and more involving. 

What I liked about the book:

  • Simple writing with clarity of thought
  • Well structured
  • Most of the ideas suggested are doable 
  • A good introductory book to a healthy urban and modern lifestyle
  • Easy read
  • Brings long-term and short-term perspective to goal setting

The beauty of Kaizen is that it makes big/ overwhelming goals into smaller/ achievable ones. Change is achieved inch by inch, yard by yard and this book is almost your beginners guide to change. 

As we all know, Kaizen first made waves in the business world by launching Toyota to success; it also added magic to Marie Kondo’s life-changing method of tidying up. If you are yearning to form some new habits, take up some hobbies or make some changes to your lifestyle, this is the book I will definitely recommend. 

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Megha Chaturvedi
Megha is a passionate storyteller with over 12 years of experience supporting various organisations helping them shape their communication strategies. An ambivert, Megha wants to be constantly educated by new people, ideas, stories, hobbies, and places. In her part time, Megha does pro-bono consulting, mentors students and stalks brands on social media.

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