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Jul 27

Review: The Little Book of Hygge

Posted on July 27, 2017 at 12:03 PM by Elizabeth Land

There has always been interest in increasing happiness in the world. Heck, there has even been a research institute dedicated to figuring out which countries are happiest and why. So it's no surprise that among the books published on the topic is The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living by Meik Wiking. Written by the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, this small, easy-to-read tome endeavors to share the magic of a simple word — hygge.

Pronounced "hoo-ga," this little word is believed to be the reason that year after year, the people of Denmark are found to be the happiest people in the world. And with this book, Wiking promises to give you the keys to bringing a little of that happiness — a dash of hygge — into your own life.

Publisher's Summary

Book cover for The Little Book of HyggeEmbrace 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."

From picking the right lighting to organizing a Hygge get-together to dressing hygge, Wiking shows you how to experience more joy and contentment the Danish way.


The hygge manifesto, as laid out by Wiking, is surprisingly simple and a refreshing read. To achieve hygge, all you must do is embrace the following concepts: atmosphere, presence, pleasure, equality, gratitude, harmony, comfort, truce, togetherness, and shelter.

The book is laid out in chapters that elaborate on each of these concepts, providing simple tips, historic information and plenty of research to help readers fully understand the complicated and difficult translate idea of "hygge."

Of course, some readers may find it a little corny. Putting out a few candles, slipping into some comfy socks and covering up with a cozy blanket can't really be the secret to happiness, can it? And, in truth, it's not. The final point of the book is that while hygge seems able to be described in just a few terms, hygge is really a mindset that a few simple changes can help you achieve.

For example, yes, candles are essential. Or so says 85 percent of Danes questioned by The Happiness Research Institute. But, in the end, the candles are there to evoke a mindset of warmth and calm in the storm. It's this mindset that can help anyone achieve a little happiness, no matter the storm that blows outside your door.

More Resources

Visit our online catalog to request your copy of The Little Book of Hygge today. And check out our other resources on achieving happiness, whether you do it the Danish way or through other methods.

  • How to Hygge: The Nordic secrets to a happy life—How to Hygge by chef and author Signe Johansen is a fresh, informative, lighthearted, fully illustrated how-to guide to hygge. It’s a combination of recipes, helpful tips for cozy living at home, and cabin porn: essential elements of living the Danish way?which, incidentally, encourages a daily dose of “healthy hedonism.” Who can resist that?
  • Book cover for Happy as a DaneHappy as a Dane: 10 secrets of the happiest people in the world—For decades Denmark has ranked at the top of the world’s happiness surveys. Interweaving anecdotes and research, Malene Rydahl explores how the values of trust, education, and a healthy work-life balance with purpose?to name just a few?contribute to a “happy” population.
  • Everything you need you have: How to be at home in yourself—Kite draws on the principles of ancient Chinese philosophy and his extensive experience helping people from all walks of life as a relaxation and acupuncture expert. His ten steps will show you how to tune in to your natural rhythms, view your emotions from a different perspective, and finally experience a state of bliss that you can return to again and again. The secret to feeling at home in yourself isn't therapy, meditation, silencing your phone, throwing out your possessions or traveling the world. The answer is already inside you.
  • The Happiness Track: How to apply the science of happiness to accelerate your success—Drawing on the latest findings from the fields of cognitive psychology and neuroscience—research on happiness, resilience, willpower, compassion, positive stress, creativity, mindfulness—Seppala shows that finding happiness and fulfillment may, in fact, be the most productive thing we can do to thrive professionally.
  • Finding the Blue Sky: A mindful approach to choosing happiness here and now—In this wise and inspiring book, Emet traces the fascinating intersection between the age-old wisdom of Buddhism and the latest scientific research into what makes people happy. As Joseph explains in this work, the blue sky of happiness is found just beyond the grey clouds of sadness, everyday concerns, stress, or anxiety.