Apart from the storybooks I had read during my childhood, I haven’t read much. The last time I tried to read a book it took me 4 months or so to finish it, but this time I finished ‘The power of Nunchi ‘ in 4 days.
And what fascinated me about this book is that it’s about Korean culture and upbringing which seemed quite captivating.
70 years ago after a war, South Korea was one of the poorest countries , and now it has become one of the richest , coolest and the most technologically advanced country.
And K-POP was another thing (though I’m not it’s biggest fan) which roused my curiosity to know why it was such a big thing.
Why did it become so popular in so many different countries? And why do people die over these bands ?
As the book says , the answer to these questions is nunchi.
Nunchi in my words is a subtle art of eye measuring everyone in the room while reading their energies , and how you should conduct yourself in tune with the opposite person. This book is all about how to achieve that.
An anecdote from the author’s life described in the book sort of stuck with me.
The author Euny Hong , accidentally offended her family friend , and while defending herself to her father Euny said , “ I didn’t mean to upset Jinny’s mother “ to which her father replied “ The fact that the harm wasn’t intentional doesn’t make it better , it makes it worse.”
And she then thinks about it the other way
“Children who choose to be mean at least know what they hope to achieve by it, whether that’s getting even with a sibling or winding up a parent. But a child who doesn’t even know what consequences their words have on people ?”
Children who are not aware of what they are doing and the consequences of it ? It is likely that they end up hurting themselves or the other person.
And that made me understand that nunchi is also a lot about self awareness .
One more point that appealed to me is what Euny says in the middle of the book about empathy. We have often heard that empathy is a most valued quality everyone must inculcate categorically. But Euny says empathy is extremely overvalued and “ the road to hell is paved with empathy”. This has given me a new insight and as a person who has suffered on account of my empathetic nature I could relate to it almost instantaneously.
Putting yourself in somebody else’s shoes all the time is not going to let you be objective towards the situation and I have a handful of experiences where I hurt myself while trying to understand and help other people.
Nunchi and empathy do have a few similarities and Euny says that you need both in order to understand people.
These examples Euny used and the inspiring quotable lines in the book are what kept me reading . I could relate to the book at several levels.
It also has some fun quizzes towards the end of every chapter which gives the reader quite an interactive experience.
If you read the book then do share your thoughts about the book in the comment section.