The Little Book of LYKKE – The Danish Search for the World’s Happiest People
Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute, Copenhagen
Lykke or happiness goes hand in hand with wellbeing and in this excellent book based on Meik’s studies, he outlines six pillars of happiness:
- Togetherness – a sense of community and sharing, doing deeds that benefit everyone and not just oneself
- Money – Indicates wealth and happiness are linked. Questions whether having a lot of money really makes us happy
- Health – Why quality of life is so important and why countries with free health care score higher in the happiness rankings (and a lot about bikes!)
- Freedom – Discusses work life balance and creating freedom to spend time doing what we want. Not being bound by the commute to work, or the 9-5 job role
- Trust – How bureaucracy and controls affect our happiness
- Kindness – Giving your time to help others has a big payback in terms of our own happiness
The Happiness Institute that Meik works for analyses three components attributing to quality of life: Cognitive-overall life satisfaction, Affective – positive and negative emotions we experience daily and Eudaimonic – purpose and meaning. Similar to our approach for discussing how to maintain balance, Meik draws on ancient wisdom, discussing different cultural philosophies that contribute to happiness, as well as current studies and statistics to relate to the modern environment.
Many aspects of the search for happiness relate to maintaining balance in life, be it work life balance, financial balance or finding harmony in relationships. This is one of the first books I read during the research for articles on this site and it inspired some of the posts (it introduced me to Shinrin-yoku).
The book is written in a light-hearted and humorous way with a keen observation of human behaviour. It is full of practical tips and ideas, as well as personal stories for ways to improve our happiness. Meik draws a lot from Danish and Scandinavian culture but has an in-depth knowledge of other countries values. His passion for the subject comes across in the colourful pages. I particularly like the examples of how people in different parts of the world build a sense of community.
Not only an enjoyable read but also an inspiration as well as a valuable resource for our own research and writing.
Favourite quote from the Little Book of Lykke:
“Freedom is organising our lives so that our happiness does not depend on how much we earn.“
Buy The Little Book of Lykke: