The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking: A review
The author of the book, Meik Wiking, is the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen. (Yes, apparently there is such a thing!) Whenever there are polls about which country is the happiest, Denmark inevitably ends up at or near the top so it is appropriate, I guess, that the Happiness Research Institute is located there.
And what are the things that Danes associate with this feeling of happiness? Wiking lists them from most to least important as follows: hot drinks, candles, fireplaces, Christmas, board games, music, holiday, sweets and cakes, cooking, and books. I find it interesting that at least half those things are related to light or food. I also find it interesting that books are last. Oh, well, at least they made the list.
Danes spend a disproportionate amount of their income on lighting and some of their most popular designers are designers of lamps or other lighting. They are also the world's highest consumers of candles. They light them daily to create a mood throughout much of the year.
They love indulging their sweet tooth. For example, they consume twice the amount of sweets as other Europeans. And they love cooking. Their pleasure comes from the process of preparing food and if it is complicated and takes a long time, so much the better!
They prefer casualness in their dress and in their home furnishings. Their clothing tends to rely on soft natural fabrics like wool. Danish furniture is simple in style and uses a lot of wood in its designs. Tactility is very important to them.
Hygge, in short, is a word that implies indulging all the senses. It's what makes us feel cozy. Now, all of that could be said in one short sentence, but Meik Wiking does go on and on about it. Not that the book is that long at less than 300 pages, but after a while, it started to feel like War and Peace to me. Except that War and Peace is not endlessly repetitive. The writer basically states the same idea over and over again in as many different ways as he could come up with. And I pretty quickly lost patience with him. I ended up skimming most of the book, seeing if there was any new idea there that I needed to concentrate on. There wasn't.
My rating: 2 of 5 stars