BOOK WISE Winter Pick: The Little Book of Hygge –The Danish Way to Live Well
CULTURE SPOTLIGHT: Denmark
AUTHOR: Meik Wiking
OF NOTE: Book was a best-seller in the UK and just released in America in January,
It is with great pleasure to select the ‘The Little Book of Hygge’ as the WWB ‘Book Wise’ Winter Pick! The timing couldn’t be better, as we all can use more ‘hygge’ in the winter. I came across the word Hygge back in June 2016 when interviewing Dr. Tim Lomas, who launched the Positive Lexicography Project, an online glossary of untranslatable words that describe positive traits, feelings, experiences, and states of being that had no direct counterparts in English.
Check out his project via the link above and the WWB Q&A with Dr. Lomas here. The author of ‘The Little Book of Hygge’ also spends time on special words and their meaning and even shares a Hygge dictionary in the book.
So for those who are wondering what the heck is Hygge? I will share a few lines from the the author’s introduction of the book….
Let’s indulge you anyway with a quick definition and you’ll be all caught up with our new favorite word.
DANISH: Hygge (n) : a deep sense of of place, warmth, friendship and contentment
On a personal note, a very dear friend from the UK sent me this book for Christmas and I was tickled. It was the best Christmas gift ever, especially because I know she is also a lover of all things Hygge, and we share simpatico (another great word!) in this area. I should be careful about using the word ‘things’, as the author will tell you, Hygge is about an atmosphere and experience rather than things. Yet a beautiful little teapot sure does contribute to the hygge in a room!
If you have been following this blog, you know that I am a lover of wellness wisdom and books. Anytime I can glean wisdom or ideas from other cultures particularly in the wellness arena, I am eager to share them with you. The Little Book of Hygge was written by none other than the CEO of Happiness! Meik Wiking is the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Denmark and has the best job in the world, wouldn’t you say? How cool is it, that there is an actual institute studying happiness! It all sounds fun, but this is a serious institute studying the causes and effects of happiness, and how to improve quality of life for its citizens. If you aren’t aware, the Danes rank number one as the happiest culture in the world. That doesn’t mean we can’t catch up to them though! As the author reminds us in his book…Hygge is for everyone. If you aren’t inspired yet to read this book, then I suggest you go on your curmudgeon way, because I am about to share the 10 important values from the HYGGE MANIFESTO included in the book…
What a wonderful manifesto and all this gets baked into a very happy Danish culture. Not hard to understand why they are so happy with social values like these. I did really respect the author for including a section in the book on the dark side of Hygge. He points out the downside of the close, tribal, and social landscape found in Denmark, is they don’t welcome newcomers very well. This syncs with N0. 10 of the manifesto ( the sense of peace and security one feels within your own tribe). We all want to belong, but I happen to believe there is nothing more cozy than making someone feel welcome and included. Of course, as long as they practice number two, four and eight of the manifesto!
Enjoy the book my wise friends, and may your winter days be full of Hygge!