April 2022 Book Review - The Courage to be Disliked

The Courage to be Disliked by Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga

This is my favorite book and the one I recommend the least to read, lol. You could put it in the genre of self-help and philosophy. Quite a thought provoking read, this will challenge some views of your world and this is a reason I like it so much. I've been drilled throughout my life to think one way like most of us and this is one of the books which will force you to think outside of the norms of your society. Therefore I understand, this isn't for everyone.

One of the core concepts shared, is that past events don't have a bearing on the present result, but it is more important how we perceive the past event and how we align our present goal to it.

It's time for another Giannis vs Harden discussion, haha.

For example, the past Houston Rockets brought the Warriors on the brink of a conference finals loss, but were unlucky in that Chris Paul got injured. That's the event. Next season they moved on from Paul with the goal to become better and win finally that title with Harden as the main chip.

The message that got burried in the reaction to the loss, was that Morey, Mike D'Antoni and Harden felt they weren't good enough yet to take on the powerful in that time Warriors. It was very feasible to show confidence, stick with Chris Paul and make some minor adjustments back then. The event of the finals loss, could have served as a stepping stone, to learn from the mishaps during the series, get better at the areas of concern and take another run to show they can.

In a very similar fashion, the Bucks endured an excruciating loss to the Raptors in 2019's Conference Finals and another more ashaming loss against Miami in the 2020 bubble playoffs. Voices of trading Khris for McCollum or Beal were present. Voices of firing Bud were popular on here (I was one of them), voices of Giannis just not having what it takes were slowly appearing on the surface. Still, Horst, Giannis, Khris, Bud took another endeavour together.

They went on to do things they probably all disliked doing before. Not what others disliked, but HAVING THE COURAGE TO DO WHAT THEY DISLIKED. Khris taking more 3's, going for the layup or taking contact. Be a leader for the young and for the vets. Giannis becoming more of an off-ball player, doing screens, playing Center, dunking less, practicing more his free throws. All guys becoming more vocal during the game, during defense, doing leadership on the court. Bud the same on the courtside. Having the courage, to adjust his playing style from the dogmatic blue boxes, to adjust in game, trusting his gut and that of his assistances, trusting the observations of his assistants and players, taking a tech when it is necessary. Horst bring in guys who were more versatile, who were not the usual targets the season before, who were disliked more than other high profile players. Jrue, Portis, PJ Tucker are some.

We all know what the Bucks did, has brought them the ultimate success and they are on another attempt to repeat it with good oods for them. We all know that Harden who looks for outside factors to become "good enough" to beat the best teams hasn't yet reached his goal. He went from Houston to the Nets and now plays for the Sixers, commiting to play along great players that can help him to get the title.

Present Goals

The book places a lot of emphasis on determining one's present goals. I would say Giannis wants to win titles with whatever he has available. That one was the easy one. Then what is Harden wanting? What is his present goal? Just because he never won, does this mean, he never wanted to win? Sounds like such an opinion is to get thrown at a lot of s**t storm... (before this happens, consider that I said the book is quite challenging in it's proposals).

Personally, I can only assume, that Harden wants personal accolates more than team success. It's about being on a strong team, were responsibilities of failure are evenly shared among the good players. Hmm, evenly, maybe not. Whenever there was an opportunity to create the narrative of a bigger scapegoat, it seems he embraced public opinon about it. Chris Paul, Russel Westbrook, Kyrie Irving to name a few. What about Embiid? So far, he seems to be wired the same way as Harden, with Ben Simmons being the 'first' victim of him. Would be ironic if Harden, would be the next on the line, as a likely MVP is the bigger fish now.

Glass half full?

Another part of the book talks about that everyone can be happy, it just depends on how you view your world. Giannis seems to be in a good place regarding this. He said this after the recent Nets game:

Asked if this is the best he has played in his career, he said, "I think this is the most mature I've ever been."

"I'm over myself. I'm able to get to my spot better and execute, and if the ball doesn't go in, I'm OK with it," Antetokounmpo said. "I think it's called abundance mentality. I love what I've done in the past, and that gives me confidence and I'm able to go out there and execute without thinking, without having self-doubts about myself or think I'm not good enough. I'm kind of like OK with me.

"So that allows me to play good basketball. Mentally, I'm in a very good place. Now, physically I think I can still improve. I'm not as strong as I was two years ago, I don't think. But I'm helping my team win games. I don't know if this is the best I ever played, but I know I've got a lot of room to improve."

Giannis is a damn smart guy...

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