The Why Café Summary

1-Sentence-Summary: The Why Café is a book about how to find your purpose and live the life you have imagined, based on a fictional encounter in a simple yet magical cafe.

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John, a busy manager, was on his way to his much needed vacation. Suddenly, he ran out of gas and ended up at The Why Café. On the back of the menu, he found three existential questions: “Why are you here?” “Do you fear death?” and “Are you fulfilled?” What a weird cafe, right? Perhaps it depends on who you ask. 

For John, this experience was a wake-up call. He realized that he wasn’t fulfilled with his life. He wasn’t living according to his given purpose on earth. I think we can all relate to the John’s experience in one way or another. Deep down, we all know what we’re capable of and what we can achieve if we put our minds to work.

Don’t you ever catch a glimpse of what life could be like if you lived it to its highest potential? If you want to experience more of that outstanding feeling, The Why Café will reveal some of the key secrets to a happy, meaningful life. 

Here are my three favorite lessons from the book:

  1. Material things can actually make us more unhappy in the end. 
  2. Find your purpose, and once you do, don’t let anyone stand in your way. 
  3. When you realize what you want out of life and manifest it, you’ll attract more luck.

Note: The book was later republished as The Cafe on the Edge of the World, but its contents are the same. So this is our summary for both! Let’s step into the Why Café!

The Why Café Summary

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Lesson 1: Don’t fall into the trap of materialism set by advertisers.

As humans, we are visual creatures. We love to look at things, feel them, showcase them, and advertisers know it. In fact, this is how they build their successful businesses and manage to get into our minds. They make us think that the key to happiness lies in more and more possessions. They create ads that are meant to be glamorous and desirable. And they promise that once you buy yourself a particular thing, you’ll be happy, or at least happier. 

In fact, spending more makes you inflate your lifestyle, increases your desire to buy more and more things and achieve that promised happiness, all while keeping you engaged in this vicious cycle. On top of that, all these things keep you from targeting your focus and resources towards your true purpose. Therefore, to live meaningfully, you’ll have to start adopting a more minimalist lifestyle and try to find happiness in undertaking purposeful endeavors, rather than buying unnecessary luxuries. 

Although we may not realize it, we’re wired to the idea that material things bring happiness. Therefore, we pick higher-paying jobs instead of pursuing our dream careers. Then, we feel frustrated and miserable, living every day feeling like we have no real meaning. How disappointing! It’s time to step back and reconsider your priorities. For example, if you’re hardly ever at home, you probably don’t need a condo with a view, right? The lesson here is to find meaning in what you do, rather than through your possessions and spending money to feel better.

Lesson 2: Finding your purpose is your most intimate experience, so don’t let anyone ruin it for you.

For a passionate mechanic, it can be pretty difficult to explain why fixing a car gives him an inexplicable sense of satisfaction and happiness. Still, it does, and even if repairing cars is not your thing, you too have something that sparks a little light in your heart when you encounter it.

Frankly, whatever that is, you should pursue it. Material things are just a trap set by profit-seekers, as we’ve discussed. So how about other obstacles you may face? Here our friends and family can help us. Although we may not realize it, the people we surround ourselves with play an important role in our development and our future actions.

Most often than not, we’re afraid of what our relatives, friends, and community will have to say about our decisions. Unfortunately, this thought can hold us back from achieving our dreams.

In the end, it all comes down to what you love doing. Therefore, mark the times when you feel most alive, when something clicks in your head and your heart, and when you feel happy doing something. Then, try to pursue those things and make them part of your life. It doesn’t matter if it brings you financial benefits or what your acquaintances might think.

Lesson 3: Living according to your own definition of happiness will make the universe work even harder for you.

If you’ve discovered your purpose and you’re ready to live according to your own happiness formula, congrats! You’re halfway there! Living a happy, meaningful life is definitely achievable, yet the how part is something you’ll have to figure out on your own. While there are ways to help yourself discover what your purpose is and how to overcome challenges in the process of self-discovery, there’s no such thing as a one size fits all formula for living your life.

Simply put, you must pursue whatever makes you happy, in a way that makes you happy. If you find pleasure in working as little as possible and spending time with your family, so be it. If you enjoy painting for hours and hours every day, try to do it as much as possible. While there’s no right way to live your life, there is a wrong way – not following your inner purpose. On top of that, it gets even better! 

Once you start living meaningfully, the universe will make everything else happen for you. Haven’t you noticed how people who seem to be the most fulfilled are also extremely lucky? It’s like everything is working in their favor! Well, maybe it is like that. Live purposefully, and good luck and happiness will follow. It’s just an unwritten rule of life. And fortunately, there’s no amount of money in the world that can fix this rule if you don’t follow all the steps.

The Why Café Review

The Why Café is a life-changing book that will have you question yourself, the way you’re living your life, and what is your purpose on earth. If you want to learn how to find your purpose, overcome big challenges in the process, and finally live a meaningful life, this book is perfect for you.

Who would I recommend our The Why Café summary to?

The 30-year-old who feels burnt out and wants to turn their life around, the 24-year-old who feels lost and doesn’t know where and how to start building their life, or the 40-year-old person who feels settled down but wants to find more meaning in what they’re doing.

Last Updated on June 15, 2023

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Maria Deac

While working with my friend Ovi's company SocialBee, I had the good fortune of Maria writing over 200 summaries for us over the course of 18 months. Maria is a professional SEO copywriter, content writer, and social media marketing specialist. When she's not writing or learning more about marketing, she loves to dance and travel all over the world.