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Bentoism is a decision-making framework first introduced in a book called This Could Be Our Future: A Manifesto for a More Generous World by Yancey Strickler. The framework extends how people should define "self-interest" and argues that instead of relying solely on current desires and needs, people should also consider their future selves, their dependents, and the next generations.


Stickler derived the name of the framework from the Japanese bento box – a four-dished container used to pre-assemble a variety of food.

The bento is like a healthy default that always reinforces having a variety of dishes, not overeating and having a mix of protein, vegetables et cetera. So bentoism is the same idea for our self-interest. It's a way for us to see what's going on beyond that Now Me space and really make self-coherent decisions.[1]


Strickler argues that companies and individuals today move increasingly toward "financial maximization" – motivation to make decisions resulting in high short-term gains. In doing so, people lose the sight of the bigger picture.[2]

The framework introduces additional stakeholders into the decision-making process and "seeks to expand some of the tools of financial maximization to a wider set of values".[3] In addition to considering current needs and desires (Now Me), people should take into account:[3]

  • Other people, their needs, and how one's choices affect them (Now Us).
  • The person who one wants to be and the values that person has (Future Me).
  • The world we want our next generations to have (Future Us).

Strickler writes that the discussion about a decision is between the voices of Future Me and Now Us, while the decision is made by the values of Future Me. The goal of Bentoism is therefore identification of proper values and ways of valuing activities.[3]


According to Strickler, we need to change the current way of doing business. He believes that capitalism is incomplete and there is an alternative way to contribute to the expansion of the society while continuing to reach financial targets.

Bentoism claims that the concept applies to both in life and business, and not only to consumption, but also investments, business administration, and relationship management. Strickler believes that operating with this tool allows us to deepen self-awareness and to manifest a life that isn't just self-interested but self-coherent.[4]

Nevertheless, Strickler identifies businesses as vital for a significant social change because of their ability to respond to changes in their base and spaces where they operate. Customers, on the other hand, need to set high standards for the businesses and be supportive of their evolution.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Kickstarter co-founder Yancey Strickler has a philosophy for making tricky decisions – inspired by a Japanese bento box". 2019-10-29. Retrieved 2020-06-18.
  2. Strickler, Yancey (2019-11-05). "How the Bento Box Change Can Change How We See the World". Time. Retrieved 2020-06-19.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Strickler, Yancey. This could be our future: a manifesto for a more generous world. [New York]. ISBN 978-0-525-56082-1. OCLC 1089283301. Search this book on
  4. Skipper, Clay. "A Kickstarter Co-founder on How to Make Decisions That Reflect Your Values". GQ. Retrieved 2020-06-19.

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