Review: The Little Book of Hygge

Review: The Little Book of HyggeAs a Financial Planner, I take an interest in the study of happiness.

After all, what value is a Financial Plan unless it brings us closer to our goals and dreams in life. Financial Planning should make us happier.

When The Little Book of Hygge appeared in my recommended reading list on Amazon the other day, I quickly added it to my Kindle so I could check out this worldwide phenomenon.

The book is subtitled The Danish Way to Live Well and comes from Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen. Yes, there really is a Happiness Research Institute.

For the uninitiated, hygge (pronounced hue-gah) is a Danish word which means a feeling or mood that comes taking genuine pleasure in making ordinary, every day things more meaningful, beautiful or special.

The French would probably call it “joie de vivre”. Here in Britain, we might call it “cosiness”. It is of course more than this.

Denmark claims to be the happiest nation in the world, and Wiking puts this largely down to hygge.

The Little Book of Hygge provides a comprehensive guide to creating this feeling or mood in your own life.

Candles feature prominently in the recommendations, which is perhaps unsurprising as Danes burn more candles per head than anywhere in Europe.

Wholesome home cooked food, coffee, thick wooly socks, chocolate and spending time with close friends is also part of the process for creating hygge, according to the author.

I found myself nodding whilst reading at the suggestion we feel hygge to a greater extent when safely indoors with a storm raging outside. In my experience, there is nothing better than sitting next to a wood burning stove when it is thundering down outside.

What I particularly enjoyed about The Little Book of Hygge was the suggestion that hygge can be created relatively cheaply. It comes from simple living rather than extravagance, enjoying nature in the Great Outdoors rather than meals in expensive restaurants.

Increasingly our clients tell us they are pursuing a simpler life. The growth in the minimalism movement points towards lifestyles where experiences are preferred to possessions.

For anyone with an interest in why Danes are happier than the rest of us, and how we can incorporate hygge within our own lives, I recommend reading The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well – and of course investing in some candles.


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About Martin Bamford

Martin Bamford is a Chartered Financial Planner, Certified Financial Planner (CFP) professional and published personal finance author. He works with elderly clients to provide advice on funding residential care fees, hosts the Informed Choice Podcast and is a keen ultra runner.
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