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A middle-class fashion fad that misses the point - and don't bother with the Kindle version.
on 11 September 2016
Perhaps fittingly this is the sort of book that needs to be purchased as a physical book. The kindle version was all disconnected pictures and passages of 200-400 words per page with lots of white space. It offers brief introductions to hygge essentials which might be nice as a gift or a coffee table flick-through. As an informative read the content was only so-so. Hygge is not a difficult concept to understand, it has been sold to the British middle-classes for a few years now. Wooden floors, wood burners, fire pits, home baking, designer candles, Scandi home furnishing, Heinz adverts to warm the cockles of your heart and Nigel Slater with simple supper recipes to share with friends from rustic earthenware crockery. If this middle-class wet dream is your sort of thing try an issue of 'The Simple Things' magazine, you'd love it. Yes catching up with friends in a cozy environment is great, candles are lovely and sweets/cakes are always welcome (although I'm not sure you'd be living well or that long if you indulged too often) and I don't think you need to tell Brits about the importance of a hot drink between friends. I guess my issue with the whole obsession with Denmark, Hygge and happiness is that the reason they are so happy is because they have an more equal society with free healthcare, an excellent welfare system, better working culture and better wealth redistribution through tax. To be fair the book does make this very point at the beginning. So when the British middle-classes want to recreate Danish living here in the UK they arguably need to do a bit more than installing a woodburner and having a cake and games night with friends. I really believe Hygge in the UK is nothing more than a marketing tool, selling the Danish dream through expensive knitwear and light fittings, without the pesky tax hikes or being nice to poor people. This book buys into all that fakery. If you want to show off to all your friends how Danish and hygge you are, great buy this book. If you really want real hygge, invite your friends around, feed them whatever is in the fridge, have chat over a cuppa and take time to really consider those for whom hygge is the least of their concerns. Do check out the free report on Danish happiness available at the authors Happiness Research Institue website, it is much more enlightening than this book and shows that the UK has some fundamental changes to make if we really want to go Danish. However, this report paradoxically shows that the Danish are not 'living well' in terms of health. If anything hygge has left the Danish nation in suprisingly poor health. Staying in all the time, indulging in the nicer things in life with friends, has it's downside.