- Paperback: 144 pages
- Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (January 10, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0393608921
- ISBN-13: 978-0393608922
- Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.5 x 8.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #698,980 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Happy as a Dane: 10 Secrets of the Happiest People in the World 1st Edition
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“In this inspiring and well-researched book, by exploring ten pillars of Danish life―from the importance of trust to the value of downtime―Malene Rydahl documents the values, habits, and attitudes that have allowed Danes to live happy and fulfilling lives.”
- Ariana Huffington
“This enlightening account is a probing―and inspiring―work.”
- Le Figaro
“Malene Rydahl delivers an impressive and enjoyable argument in favor of the Danish recipe for happiness. It’s enough to make you book a one-way ticket to Copenhagen.”
“A praise of happiness in our daily lives.”
- Vanity Fair
About the Author
Born in Denmark, Malene Rydahl is a writer, executive coach, and keynote speaker on happiness and well-being, named one the top 24 Women of the Year by the French news magazine L’Express, and appointed goodwill ambassador of Copenhagen. She is based in Paris.
Top customer reviews
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For my 4th Hygge book I read this one and unlike the other reviewers I really enjoyed it a lot precisely because the author speculated about why there is Hygge in Denmark, what is different about their culture than other places, how their education system works, their life goals. So yes, this isn't the how to Hygge book but if you want some other different information about Hygge to better understand the practice it's a really good read.
Also, in 2017 this book really resonated with what is going on in American culture. I valued how Ms. Rydahl explained the level of corruption in Denmark versus the belief of citizens that there is corruption. And she did this other issues (welfare system, honesty, feelings of helping others) and other countries making the valuable point that it does matter 1) what are a country's problems AND also 2) if citizens correctly understand what are the real problems. So which countries are working from a point of cynicism and which are not. If you know about anxiety, anger, mindfulness and brain health, you begin to see why Denmark is happy. The people feel trust, they can relax with family, they can take healthy risks in their lives, they can continue to enjoy learning, they don't assume the worst of one another.
I loved her personal stories which made me feel like I had a chance to visit with someone of a foreign culture who explained it to me. That's pretty rare honestly. When you visit a place you rarely make a friend that lays it out for you. Finally, I won't forget that in Denmark the best Christmas present is underwear.
The book started off well (talking about reasons such as the Danes' immense trust in their institutions to make the right decisions for them) but started to peter out towards the middle, in chapters such as "relationship to money" where the author mostly quotes studies on happiness (the one we've all heard, where happiness from money peters out) and talks about her brother's journey from social media entrepreneur to restaurant owner. Missing from the book is a chapter on the immense benefit of having health care provided for, of particular interest to Americans, who, when not being gouged by insurance premiums, are regularly bankrupted by medical expenses.
The author does bring up negative issues the Danes do have (high suicide, alcoholism and anti-depressant rates). I would have appreciated more details on these issues for balance.
Another issue I had with the book is the author's including information on her own life. It's one thing to bring up personal examples that illustrate the book's points, but the author would often bring up examples that didn't, regarding issues she'd had in her life - IN PARIS. That's right! The author left Denmark for Paris (where she currently lives) at age 18. Many of her personal stories illustrate problems in Paris. I'm an editor and found myself crossing out these sorts of sections, with notes "doesn't belong." For example, in her money chapter, she talks about a rich friend's unhappiness. This is a rich friend, IN PARIS. I got tired of all the Parisian anecdotes. Also, one wonders if Denmark is so great, why she needed to leave, and also, why she is writing a book about it.
For the last chapter, the author decided to write a sort of self-help list for the reader, of her own life experiences. I thought that was a bit pretentious. My take on the book is that life in Denmark obviously was a positive for her, but she'd done so well in life because she was advantaged, and this would have been a benefit no mattered what country she'd been raised in. When she mentioned to her father at age nine that she wanted to work in the hotel industry, her father arranged an interview with a fancy hotel owner. She also mentions that she attended a private school.
So, I guess take this book with a grain of salt. I hope the author next writes a book on why Paris is so great, since she obviously loves it.