STARRED REVIEW
March 2019

Wabi Sabi

By Beth Kempton
Review by

Beth Kempton lays out the characteristics of this concept and explains how they can be applied to our goal-oriented, consumer-driven, productivity-obsessed Western lives. 

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As a self-described Japanologist and life coach, author Beth Kempton was surprised when she asked Japanese people to define wabi sabi—the concept of perfect imperfection—and the most common answer was, “It’s difficult to explain.” But Kempton persisted, and in Wabi Sabi, she lays out the characteristics of this concept and explains how they can be applied to our goal-oriented, consumer-driven, productivity-obsessed Western lives. An early section, “How is wabi sabi relevant today?” makes a compelling argument for its usefulness, and in chapters such as “Simplifying + beautifying,” “Acceptance + letting go” and “Reframing failure,” Kempton applies wabi sabi in practical ways, going beyond the common interior-styling or object-related application of the concept. This meaty book in a pretty, petite package is grounded by the author’s passion for and knowledge of Japan.

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Wabi Sabi

Wabi Sabi

By Beth Kempton
Harper Design
ISBN 9780062905154

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