Title: The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living
Author: Meik Wiking
Publisher: William Morrow (HarperCollins)
Time taken to read: 3 days
Goodreads synopsis: Embrace Hygge (pronounced hoo-ga) and become happier with this definitive guide to the Danish philosophy of comfort, togetherness, and well-being. Why are Danes the happiest people in the world? The answer, says Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, is Hygge. Loosely translated, Hygge—pronounced Hoo-ga—is a sense of comfort, togetherness, and well-being. “Hygge is about an atmosphere and an experience,” Wiking explains. “It is about being with the people we love. A feeling of home. A feeling that we are safe.” Hygge is the sensation you get when you’re cuddled up on a sofa, in cozy socks under a soft throw, during a storm. It’s that feeling when you’re sharing comfort food and easy conversation with loved ones at a candlelit table. It is the warmth of morning light shining just right on a crisp blue-sky day. The Little Book of Hygge introduces you to this cornerstone of Danish life, and offers advice and ideas on incorporating it into your own life[.]
I saw this book in Barnes & Noble a while ago, and it looked really interesting. Lucky me, my cousin had an ARC and passed it on to me (along with a lot of clothes!). I was psyched to read it, and I finished it rather quickly, as you can see. However, it was a pretty rough disappointment.
This is what you will learn from this book:
- candles are great
- spending two hours being snooty and trying to find the restaurant with the “right” lighting is great
- hot drinks are great
- blankets and pillows are great
- thunderstorms are great
Thank you, The Little Book of Hygge. I had never thought of that before. My depression is cured. Gosh, sorry, that was a little aggressive. But honestly, I kind of thought this book would change my life. But it didn’t. It just made me angry.
I Googled “what makes Denmark so happy,” and the first thing to come up was a review of/article on this book on The Independent, which says, “While hygge clearly plays a major part in Denmark’s happiness, Wiking is keen to emphasise that the welfare model is what fundamentally underpins the nation’s well-being — they have high taxes but receive social security, universal healthcare, and a universal pension in return.” But I have to disagree. Wiking does mention this. Once. Maybe twice, but I’m pretty sure it’s just once. But candles are mentioned on, like, every other page.
The article also mentions that anti-depressant consumption is rather high in Denmark. To this, Wiking says, “The real story is, these countries recognise mental illness and try to treat it in some way.” He says that “being a society that acknowledges that people suffer from mental illnesses” is what makes the country such a good place. Now I wonder, where was this discussion in the book? This is what’s important. Not candles. Not restaurants and thunderstorms. What matters is how the Danish government and how their systems take care of their people. That’s why Danish people are happy. We have candles here in America. We have hot chocolate, and we have dreamy weather. We don’t have systems in place that support our citizens. This book takes a very privileged and rather hipster view of the world, and I do not care for it. This book will not change your life. Not one bit of it. It won’t tell you a thing that you don’t already know. Okay, maybe I didn’t know that Danish people are obsessed with Christmas. But it won’t tell you anything you don’t already know that’s actually useful.
My apologies for the harshness of this review, but I am a book reviewer, and I give my full and honest opinion always. Thanks for reading, my friends.