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The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World's Happiest Country Paperback – 3 Dec 2015

4.4 out of 5 stars 408 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Icon Books Ltd; Reissue edition (3 Dec. 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1785780239
  • ISBN-13: 978-1785780233
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.5 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (408 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,024 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

'A lovely mix of English sensibility and Danish pragmatism. Helen seems to have understood more about the Danish character than I have! My only worry is that it will make everyone want to have a go and my holiday home area will get overcrowded.' -- Sandi Toksvig 'Russell is possessed of a razor-sharp wit and a winning self-deprecation - two of the things that make this book such a delight.' The Independent 'A hugely enjoyable romp through the pleasures and pitfalls of setting up home in a foreign land' -- PD Smith Guardian 'A wryly amusing account of a new life in a strange land.' Choice Magazine 'if you can't up sticks and move to Denmark... don't despair: here are a few tips and tricks I've picked up for getting a slice of the Danish work-life balance wherever you are.' 'Russell's husband takes a contract with Lego and they are catapulted into rural Jutland, in Denmark. Russell, who is a fast living journalist in London, is at first overwhelmed with the silence, the people, the sheer differences of living in a very foreign country. She then discovers that Danish people have the highest-rated happiness scores in the world... what's their secret? Why are they so damn happy? I'll let you know, it's a lot to do with something called "Hygge".' 'Giving up isn't always a bad thing; being a dropout can even change your life for the better. Helen Russell was a high-flying glossy magazine editor before moving to rural Jutland in Denmark which, despite its long dark winters, is also statistically the happiest nation on earth. While there, Helen soon discovered there's more to Danish life than cured herring and Nordic knits, as she described in her book, "The Year of Living Danishly".' 'Ever bought a book for a friend and ended up reading it yourself? I dipped into this and ended up buying my own copy so I could finish it' 'A hugely enjoyable autobiographical account of upping sticks... to the sticks.'

About the Author

Helen Russell is a journalist and former editor of MarieClaire.co.uk. She now lives in rural Jutland and works as a Scandinavia correspondent for the Guardian, as well as writing a column on Denmark for the Telegraph.


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is partly about Danish culture, partly about the general experience of relocating to a foreign country, and partly about the author's personal life and development. It's well written, easily read, and, in some places, absolutely hilarious.

Being a journalist by trade, the author knows how to research. She manages to interview a wide range of experts in diverse fields, as well as the friends which she makes along the way in Denmark. Thus, the book is loaded with facts and with comparisons to society in other countries. However, one should keep in mind that, given the fact that she relies upon a well adjusted crowd as informants, the book does not convey the complete picture of life in Denmark. Even fairytale Denmark has its bad neighbourhoods. But if you are a skilled professional moving to Denmark, chances are that you'll pick a good one.

As I mentioned, part of the story is as much about relocating across borders as it is about the country as such. Having worked as an expat for three years in a neighbouring country, I could relate to a lot of that. Denmark and the UK are similar countries in the greater scheme of things but when it comes to cultural differences, the details matter.

The book is well structured with each chapter covering a calendar month and an aspect of Danish culture, thus creating a tie between the culture descriptions and the personal story of a British girl spending a year trying to get acquainted with Denmark. Also, the names of persons and of locations are "encoded" as to extract a more general story from the specific one. The husband of the author is known simply as Lego Man and her village of residence as Sticksville-on-the-Sea. It's a neat trick which makes the story easier to relate to.

Generally, it's spot on.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book gives a fascinating insight into the Danish culture and lifestyle from the perspective of a young English couple who are immersed into it with very little preparation but a healthy curiosity to find out why Denmark has the happiest residents in the world. The author shares her experiences and personal realisations with great skill and humour and explores the differences between her home and new culture in an open minded and interesting way. Having read this book I am convinced there are many benefits to "Living Danishly". Throughly recommended as both a good read and to anyone interested in how differently people can live in the modern world.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An absolutey fascinating insight into living in Denmark and understanding how the Danes are such a happy nation. It was packed full of interesting tales of living in Jutland and how Helen and her husband adapted to Danish life. It ought to be highlighted as essential reading for anyone considering relocating, or simply considering taking a holiday in Denmark. I know I am keen to visit following reading this delightful story!
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Format: Paperback
I was born and grew u in Denmark, but have lived in England for 50+ years. Naturally I have maintained a close contact with my country of birth and am always interested in reading about life across the North Sea. ''Living Danishly'' is a delightful account of the author and her husband's first twelve months settling down to life I Denmark, and above all an excellent analysis of what makes the Danes tick. Whether or not you have a particular interest in the Danish way of life, you will find a most enjoyable read. Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Both my husband and I have finished this book already since our order arrived earlier this week. Neither of us could put it down! This book is a lovely balance between interesting fact, thought provoking insight and humour. Plenty of laugh out loud moments from the authors personal experiences. A perfect tonic for the January blues.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book as I wanted a gently humourous and soothing read to calm myself before bedtime, this ticks all the boxes but I must warn you, it will keep you up past midnight as it is brilliantly written, interesting and funny.
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Format: Paperback
I wish i had read this book 10 years ago when i arrived.... For anyone either planning on, considering to, or just arrived in DK, this is the book for you. It'll put things into perspective, reduce your stress and frustrations, and make the mud a little clearer.
And it'll make you laugh. Out loud. At Danes. And yourself.
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Hugely enjoyable, Helen's eye for detail and humorous writing style makes this a very enjoyable read. Oh how I would have appreciated such a book before I embarked on the life of an expat myself, it would certainly have made my new countries much easier to settle into. Her research into the Danish way of life has been meticulous and her findings, interwoven with personal observations and humour, make the book compulsive reading, a tremendous achievement for a first time writer.
Above all, it is thought provoking and should encourage us all to reassess our lives, ask ourselves what is really important and help us set more realistic goals in life.
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