“Meik Wiking… knows the secret to happiness… [he] has written a gorgeously designed… guide to the Danish state of being that embraces coziness, sociability, thankfulness and comfort food.”
~ The Times of London
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, such as:
- Get comfy. Take a break.
- Be here now. Turn off the phones.
- Turn down the lights. Bring out the candles.
- Build relationships. Spend time with your tribe.
- Give yourself a break from the demands of healthy living. Cake is most definitely Hygge.
- Live life today, like there is no coffee tomorrow.
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.
“Hi! I think I probably have the best job in the world – CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen.
I have been described as “the world’s happiest man” and “the Indiana Jones of Smiles” (and much in between), and I am committed to finding out what makes people happy.
I wrote The Little Book of Hygge to understand better why Denmark consistently comes first in global happiness rankings. Following lots of research and insight, I came to the conclusion that hygge is the magic ingredient.
Hooga? Hhyooguh? Heurgh? It is not really important how you choose to pronounce or even spell ‘hygge’. To paraphrase one of the greatest philosophers of our time – Winnie-the-Pooh – when asked how to spell a certain emotion, ‘You don’t spell it, you feel it.’
Hygge has been called everything from “the art of creating intimacy”, “cosines of the soul”, “the absence of annoyance” to “taking pleasure from the presence of soothing things”, “cosy togetherness” but I think my personal favorite is “the pursuit of everyday pleasures”.
Hygge originated in Denmark and has been firmly embedded in their culture since the 18th century. We Danes talk about hygge all the time – it’s a key performance indicator of any Danish social gathering – we talk about hygge things coming up that we’re looking forward to; we point out when something hygge is happening right now and we talk about what a great “hyggelit” time they’ve had afterwards. As you can tell, we take hygge very seriously.
Aside from studying political science and writing several books and reports on happiness, well-being and quality of life, I enjoy photography and playing tennis (quite badly) with a friend.”