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Lagom: The Swedish Secret of Living Well

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Perfect for fans of The Little Book of Hygge and Norwegian Wood, find the balance in life that is just right for you. Let Lola A. Åkerström, Editor-in-chief of Slow Travel Stockholm , be your companion to all things lagom.

As the Swedish proverb goes, 'Lagom är bäst' (The right amount is best). Lagom sums up the Swedish psyche and is the reason why Sweden is one of the happiest countries in the world with a healthy work-life balance and high standards of living.

Lagom is a way of living that promotes harmony. It celebrates fairness, moderation and being satisfied with and taking proper care of what you've got, including your well-being, relationships, and possessions. It's not about having too little or too much but about fully inviting contentment into our lives through making optimal decisions.

Who better than Lola A. Åkerström to be your lagom guide? Sweden-based Lola is an award-winning writer, photographer , and editor-in-chief of Slow Travel Stockholm and she offers us a unique vantage point when it comes to adopting elements of a lagom lifestyle.

Full of insights and beautiful photographs, taken by Lola herself, this authentic book will help you make small, simple changes to your every day life - whether that's your diet, lifestyle, money, work or your home - so you can have a more balanced way of living filled with contentment.

192 pages, Hardcover

Published August 10, 2017

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About the author

Lola Akinmade Åkerström

4 books612 followers
Award-winning Nigerian-American visual storyteller and international bestselling author based in Stockholm, Sweden.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 168 reviews
Profile Image for Kirsty.
2,703 reviews175 followers
October 23, 2017
I have a real love of Scandinavia, which is why I attempted to read Lagom: The Swedish Secret of Living Well, but for me, it fell short. I was expecting something akin to the wonderful lifestyle books published about the Danish hygge, but that is not what I got at all. A lot of what Akerstrom writes is highly obvious, and can even be construed as patronising at times. It feels as though she is addressing the reader as though they are an incredibly petulant child, and she is an adult with vast reserves of patience to deal with them.

I hoped that Lola A. Akerstrom's take on the new Swedish phenomenon of lagom would be better than Anna Brones' Live Lagom, which I found highly disappointing. Both, however, are very similar tomes, which address almost exactly the same themes, and contain an awful lot of overlapping content. I did like the structure which Akerstrom adopted, but found that a lot of it did not apply to me at all, or was not personally interesting. The only triumph within Lagom was the often lovely photography.

I have concluded that there is nothing overly groundbreaking to be learnt with lagom, and really, that most cultures which I am familiar with already practice a lot of the wellbeing which is linked with it. The majority of what Akerstrom says here could be worked out without too much trouble, and whilst the book is visually lovely, the rest of the content was rather lacking.
Profile Image for Kirsty ❤️.
924 reviews45 followers
June 30, 2017
I’ve heard a lot about the Danish Hygge style of living so when I saw this I thought I’d see what the Swedes have to say about life. It’s not a bad little book. Lagom essentially means ‘moderation’ and having a healthy life balance. It applies to all elements of life. It’s also about realising that what my balance is may not be the same as yours. There’s a good example in the book about Goldilocks and how despite not liking Papa Bears porridge that food may actually be just right for Papa.

It’s little things such as if you stuff your face with pizza one day then the next you eat sensibly or exercise more and keep your balance.

There’s some interesting questions the book raises too. For example is we keep everything in moderation do we stifle creativity and ambition? The book begs to differ citing the owners of Lego, Ikea and apparently Spotify as ambassadors for breaking the mould.

There’s lots of insight and it asks you to take note of surroundings, where your food comes from, sustainability and so on. Lots of practical advice that can actually be followed by everyone. Lots of ideas to try and put into practise.

A really good book, highly recommended
Profile Image for toolie.
161 reviews13 followers
October 24, 2017
Ocena nie dotyczy samego zjawiska, ale już czytając o hygge miałam wrażenie, że dorabia się olbrzymi ideologie do tego zjawiska tak, by wcisnąć to na 120+ stron i wydać jako książkę ze zdjęciami rodem z insta ;-) przy hygge, o którym czytałam w okresie świąt kupiłam to, mając wrażenie, że można to było streścić w artykule. W przypadku lagoom... to już za duże dorabianie całej ideologii... jeżeli lagoom jest kanapka z serkiem i szynką i zycie w umiarze, bo... uwaga uwaga, lagoom znaczy "umiarkowanie", to znając tytuły rozdziałów byłam w stanie przewidzieć o czym bedą kolejne akapity. Całe szczęście, że książki nie kupiłam, bo byłoby mi szkoda pieniążków...
Gwiazdka druga za to, że lubię Szwecję i skandynawska mentalność :-D
Profile Image for Cristina Oniscenco.
98 reviews31 followers
February 1, 2021
Mie îmi plac foarte mult cărți despre diferite concepte , sa aflu mai mult despre modul de viața a oamenilor din diferite colțuri ale lumii . Așa tip de cărți pot doar sa inspire la cunoaștere ❤️
Profile Image for Candice Walsh.
384 reviews50 followers
December 18, 2017
I kept this book by my bedside and read a chapter here and there before bed; it was a lovely insight into Swedish culture. I love how Akerstrom really delves in deep -- I get the impression that assimilating into Swedish society isn't the easiest thing to do (I felt the same while in Germany), but I'm so impressed by her journey. The images and illustrations were a gorgeous touch.
Profile Image for Kristina.
860 reviews197 followers
November 23, 2017
Not too much, not too little. Just right!

Strongly agree :)
Profile Image for Siffy Torkildson.
Author 2 books1 follower
January 2, 2018
Having Swedish ancestry and a grand-father who was from Sweden, I was intrigued by this book, but really it is for everyone. Just this summer, while visiting Sweden and my relatives for the first time, they mentioned ‘lagom’ is very important to Swedes. Lola reviews Lagom in various facets of Swedish culture from food (eating healthy and ethically) to fashion and interior design (simple and not standing out), quiet but to the point in speech, practicality in money matters, health/relaxation and being able to say ‘no.’ Lagom covers recycling and reuse, spending time outdoors, being self-sufficient and not relying on others (even in relationships), being team players, not bragging or acting better than others (jante), sharing power, and being environmentally conscious. All of these things relate to ‘lagom.’Lagom is a bit ‘Buddhist’ in the view of living simple and ‘not too much, not too little.’ Lagom teaches to always try to improve and better oneself, declutter, and simplify. Lola sums up each chapter with things we can do in our own lives to practice ‘lagom’ in whatever culture we live in. Lagom is a balance between individuality and society responsibility. As well as tips, Lola includes lovely color photographs of Swedish society. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Irina.
3 reviews158 followers
March 8, 2022
Lagom = exact cantitatea potrivită, optimă, totul cu moderație / fără exces, expunere publică inutilă și stridență nejustificată. Lagom se aplică la toate aspectele vieții: de la relații, job, finanțe, cumpărături și avere, la mâncare și relația cu natura. Modest, de calitate, durabil și sustenabil.

M-am gândit de ce ne este străin ca și concept la nivel național și cred că un astfel de mindset vine ca o consecință a sentimentului de siguranță. Atunci când nevoile de bază sunt acoperite, te poți relaxa și nu ai tendința de a oscila spre extreme. Atunci când trăiești într-un mediu fără corupție, cu sisteme sociale bine puse la punct, capeți încredere că nu vei ajunge la bătrânețe pe stradă, muritor de foame, la cozi interminabile după compensate, sau într-un apartament friguros, etc. Dacă taxele sunt privite ca o asigurare a viitorului și o garanție a unei vieți simple, dar sigure, tendința de eschivare scade.
Stresul meu în mediul în care locuiesc este că totul depinde de mine, așa că trebuie să muncesc intens cât pot. Muncim pentru noi, copii, părinți care nu pot depinde de pensie și pentru noi înșine peste câțiva ani, când nu vom putea depinde de pensie.
Profile Image for Birgit.
132 reviews9 followers
December 17, 2020
Scandinaviërs staan erom bekend één van de gelukkigste landen ter wereld te zijn, maar hoe komt dit? De Denen hebben hygge en de Zweden hebben lagom en over dat laatste las ik een boek van Lola A. Akerström, waarin ze het begrip lagom uitlegt op verschillende niveaus en hoe het komt dat dit de Zweden gelukkig maakt.

Lagom betekent letterlijk gepast, de juiste hoeveelheid, precies goed,… Het draagt een zeker idee van gepastheid met zich mee. Als je het verder doortrekt, betekent het de meest harmonieuze golflengte waarop we ons kunnen en zouden moeten bewegen. Het is het streven naar het ultieme evenwicht in het leven, dat, wanneer het wordt toegepast op alle aspecten van ons bestaan, ons kan helpen te functioneren in onze meest natuurlijke, ongedwongen toestand. Voor iedereen betekent het echter iets anders.

In dit boek wordt het begrip lagom op alle aspecten van het leven toegepast. Het geeft ons ook meer uitleg over de terughoudendheid van de Zweden, wanneer je met hen kennismaakt. Maar Ook de tegenhanger van lagom, jante, wordt in het boek geïntroduceerd. Jante keurt individueel succes en individuele prestaties af, maar ontmoedigt ook individualiteit ten gunste van collectieve eenheid, verstikt ambitie en dooft elke persoonlijke drang naar meer.

Verder wordt het ook toegepast op het leven van de Zweden, zoals eerder vermeld. Zweden leven op alle vlakken met mate, zowel op vlak van voedsel en festiviteiten, als gezondheid en welzijn, als schoonheid en mode, als inrichting en design, als sociaal leven en spel, als werk en bedrijfsleven, als geld en financiën en tot slot als natuur en duurzaamheid. Het geeft ons een inkijk in de Zweedse cultuur en hun gedrag. Het is hun manier om gelukkig in het leven te staan en blijkbaar werkt het, want Zweden scoren hoog bij een peiling naar het gelukkigste land ter wereld.

Het boek is niet enkel voorzien van een omvangrijke uitleg over lagom, maar het bevat ook zeer mooie toepasselijke foto’s, die het boek tot één mooi geheel maken. Als je interesse hebt in de Scandinavische cultuur, dan is het zeker een aanrader om te lezen. Het is een ware verrijking van je Zweedse kennis.
Profile Image for Олена Осіпова.
121 reviews9 followers
March 17, 2019
Книжка-обманка. Але про все по порядку.
По-перше, про що вона пише. Авторка, претензійно заявляючи, що розкриє нам, на секундочку, секрет цілої нації, сама ні разу не шведка. Так, вона живе в цьому суспільстві, так, вона зробила непогану дослідницьку роботу, але... Секрет вона, на мій погляд, не розкрила. Вона пише про якихось абстрактних, картонних людей, схожих один на одного, як ксерокопії одного фото, і те було взяте з паспорту. Це не нація, це уявлення авторки про націю.
По-друге, як вона пише. Ніби читаєш розділ, все зрозуміло, а потім хопа... Дивно, в попередньому розділі вона писала про зовсім протилежне. Перегортаєш сторінки - і таки так. Чи можна вірити книзі, яка суперечить сама собі в різних розділах? Я б не стала.
Ну і по-третє. Аліса любила книжки з картинками і діалогами. Я теж люблю, коли це художня література. А коли це нонфікшн, то фоточки на два розвороти підряд мене просто вибішують. Книжка-інстаграмчик. Я знаю, що обов'язково знайдуться поціновувачі такого книжкового формату, але я не серед них. Неймовірно дорогий друк (товстий крейдований папір, висока якість друку, серйозна багатоколірна палітурка з тисненням, ляссе - я колись працювала в друкарні, трошки розуміюся) - і в усьому цьому такий убогий зміст. Сльози заважають говорити.
Але буду справедливою. Я собі скопіювала розворот із порадами про збереження екології. Найцінніша інформація в книзі.
Profile Image for Iryna.
59 reviews5 followers
July 22, 2019
Цікава кн��га, але написана трохи нудновато. Зрештою, після половини звикла і пішла швидше, але чекала легкого стилю на кшталт хюге
Profile Image for Marina.
2,030 reviews317 followers
February 2, 2020
** Books 09 - 2020 **

Buku ini untuk menyelesaikan Tsundoku Books Challenge 2020

3,8 dari 5 bintang!

Sebenarnya setelah aku membaca buku Kunci Kebahagiaan: Cara Menemukan Makna Hidup Dengan Mengungkap Rahasia Orang-Orang Paling Bahagia Di Dunia di Denmark oleh Meik Wiking ketika melihat buku ini di rak toko buku kinokuniya aku jadi penasaran apakah negara Swedia sama bahagianya dengan penduduk Denmark?

Jadi Lagom sendiri dibaca Laaaw-Gem dan disini membahas keseimbangan individual, kesederhanaan, kemandirian dalan lingkup sosial, menciptakan keselarasan, seni bersabar dan menghargai waktu yang jujur sih membaca buku ini berhasil memukauku dimana hal-hal positif bisa kita terapkan dalam sehari-hari.

Jujur aku baru mengetahui bahwa dalam pergaulan terutama di Swedia kita gak boleh tuh yang namanya sombong, mengambil suatu hal secukupnya jangan berlebihan sekilas jadi mengingatkan kita tentang kehidupan minimalisnya Fumio Sasaki gak sih? Jangan boros kalau tidak mau hidup dalam kekurangan. Hal yang aku ambil dari kehidupan orang Swedia ini mereka tahu segala sesuatunya dilakukan pas sesuai takaran atau porsinya. Jangan pernah berlebihan dalam hal apapun karena hasilnya pasti tidak bagus. Aku sukanya buku ini membahas dari semua aspek dari mulai makanan dan perayaan, kesehatan dan kesejahteraan, kecantikan dan mode, dekorasi dan desain, kehidupan sosial dan bermain, pekerjaan dan bisnis, uang dan keuangan, alam dan kesinambungan yang menarik untuk kita terapkan secara bertahap kedepannya XD

Terimakasih Kinokuniya Plaza Senayan!
Profile Image for Luminița Gabura.
90 reviews12 followers
March 29, 2020
It outlines Swedish attitude towards life in all its aspects, starting with relationships, house, careers and nature. It presents the assets that this thinking would bring in our life and also the challenges that one might encounter when settling in Sweden. It is presented in a funny way, sarcastic at time without being offensive or disrespectful towards the culture overall. Lately, there is a lot of talk and attention on the Nordic style of living and this book would land you a hand in helping out to bring a little of this culture into you daily life. One step at a time, you can be closure to what Lagom culture means.
Profile Image for Flyingbroom.
109 reviews36 followers
January 28, 2018
I read this book in the ideal setting: a trip to Sweden. Besides gaining a better understanding of the Swedish culture, I was happy to realise I already incorporate most of these principles in my own life. Now I have even more motivation to do so!
February 5, 2018
Лагом. Хочете знати що це? Це шведський виклик данському хугге.
Це #книга, що розкриває нам секрети швецького щастя і їхньої життєвої концепції. Якщо коротко, лагом - це помірність. Мінімалізм, якщо хочете. Я би охарактеризувала його нашою приказкою "що багато, то не здорово". Бо про це вся книга.

Автор розповідає нам, що таке лагом в роботі, в одязі, в їжі, в стосунках, в усіх сферах життя. Філософія "лагом" мені близька. Ба більше, багато пунктів в цієї #книги уже присутні в моєму житті. Але! книга написана дуже сухо. Авторка дає багато фактів, мало картинок і все це щиро приправлено водою. В книзі я знайшла дуже багато повторів, і якби їх виключити, то можна було б помістити більше малюнків. Наприклад, в книзі декілька разів згадуються булочки з корицею, але жодного фото. Погодьтесь, булочки з корицею - це дуже атмосферно.
Ну добре, буду відвертою, придираюсь. Я чекала від книги настрою. А отримала коротке поверхневе знайомство зі Швецією. Все.

І ще, мушу сказати, якість книги. Видавництво щедро полило книгу клеєм, і деякі сторінки доводилось тупо дерти, щоб відкрити на читабельний кут. Не люблю таке. Особливо, коли книга не коштує 15 копійок. Але то таке. Знову придираюсь.

Оцінюю на 3 з 5. Впевнена, що це через те, що книгу я брала в руки і очікувала такого ж ефекту, який я отримала від хугге. Але його не було.
Вам ж рекомендую її хоча б помацати в книгарні. Вона крута на дотик. Бо такі книги, впевнена, це книги настрою і жодна раціональна (або не дуже) рецензія не дасть вам зрозуміти, чи треба вам ця книга, чи ні.
Profile Image for Hilde.
21 reviews
February 15, 2018
Lagom, de zweedse manier van leven. Met als kernwoord de juiste balans. Niet te veel, noch te weinig, juist voldoende. In harmonie met onszelf, met onze woon- en leefomgeving en met anderen. Er valt wat van te leren. Teveel om hier op te sommen. En daarom: een uitgebreide recensie op de blog: https://regenboogbui.wordpress.com/20...
Profile Image for Julia.
67 reviews4 followers
February 16, 2022
Fajna książka, ale nie kupiłabym jej w normalnej cenie. Ładnie wydana, urocze ilustracje. Informacje po 100 stronie zaczynają się trochę powtarzać. Dobre podsumowanie, niektóre zasady spróbuje wprowadzić w życie.
Profile Image for Oli.
95 reviews2 followers
January 29, 2022
Podobała mi się forma tej książki, ale nie przedstawiła mi nic nadzwyczajnego. Dużo powtarzających się informacji i przewidywalne rozdziały. Ładne fotografie.
Profile Image for Наталія.
Author 6 books16 followers
December 28, 2017
Непогана книжка як подарунок, мило оформлена, приємно потримати в руках. Зміст на трієчку - як то зазвичай буває з такими книжками, після десятої сторінки все починає повторюватися.
Profile Image for Cristiana Lopes.
Author 2 books9 followers
January 3, 2018
For a person who doesn't know anything about Swedish people, it's very interesting and easy to read.
Profile Image for Camila Matamala.
74 reviews3 followers
January 27, 2019
My Opinion / Mi opinión

I didn't enjoy reading this book. While the message and explanation of Lagom in every aspect of Swedish life was an interesting analysis and quite informative; it also became very repetitive way too fast.
It's a very quick book to read, since it's filled with photos and swedish sayings that almost make me feel like reading a childs book.

If you've read or follow minimalists blogs, the message of this book won't come as very original to you. But if you've never heard about minimalism or sustainable living then this book will be eye opening, since it's based in statistics about the swedish way of life, a country that's considered to be one of the happiest and more balanced in the world.

No disfruté leer este libro. Si bien el mensaje y la explicación de qué es Lagom y cómo influye en cada aspecto de la vida sueca resulta un análisis interesante y bastante informativo; se vuelve muy repetitivo demasiado rápido. Con honestidad leí tantas veces lagom, que era como leer la letra de la canción "Azul" de Cristian Castro...
Es un libro muy rápido de leer, ya que tiene muchas fotos y refranes suecos que casi me hicieron sentir que estaba leyendo un libro infantil.

Si alguna vez haz leído o sigues blogs sobre minimalismo, el mensaje de este libro no te parecerá muy original. Pero si jamás haz escuchado de minimalismo o vida sustentable, entonces este libro te abrirá los ojos, ya que está basado en estadísticas sobre el modod de vivir sueco, un país considerado uno de los más felices y balanceados del mundo.
Profile Image for Exlibris Library.
98 reviews7 followers
July 5, 2021
This book was a real surprise. We were expecting it to be the Swedish version of hygge: pleasant, comforting, and light.
Lagom by Lola Akinmade Åkerström, on the contrary, is a great, deep insight into Swedish mentality. It will take you through all the main aspects of life: socializing, working, family, finances, environment, etc. You will be able to look at these aspects from the Swedish logical, no-nonsense point of view.
Very informative, well-structured, this book will provide you with many ideas on how to improve your life and let go of unnecessary burdens.
Profile Image for Andreea Chiuaru.
Author 1 book767 followers
March 26, 2018
Dacă danezii ne învață cum să apreciem mai mult micile bucurii cotidiene și cum să ne bucurăm de momente hygge, suedezii ne servesc o bună porție de cumpătare și echilibru prin intermediul lui „lagom”. Voi reveni cu impresii pe blog.
Profile Image for winda.
350 reviews12 followers
March 14, 2022
What can I do to feel content and balanced today
31 reviews1 follower
July 23, 2018
Lola Åkerström, a Nigerian writer and photographer who previously lived in America and now lives in Sweden, describes lagom as ‘a way of living that promotes happiness and celebrates fairness, moderation and being satisfied with what you’ve got’. In this book, Åkerström often compares and contrasts lagom to the Law of Jante, a set of ten rules that appears in Aksel Sandemose’s novel ‘A Fugitive Crosses His Tracks’.
26 reviews1 follower
October 12, 2018
For me the subtitle for that book will look something like: "Could you imagine that there are countries where people refuse to constantly overtime, not trying to eat as much as they can, don't spend all their money on tons of useless shit, don't have annoying urge to constantly talk to other people and can just keep their mouth shut sometimes".

This book gives some interesting facts about Swedish life but it definitely not the book that can significantly change someones life. Looks like Swedish lifestyle is highly promoted by Swedish society and government and it can be hard to adopt for people outside that culture.
Profile Image for Katie Cat Books.
1,029 reviews
February 17, 2019
Succinct. Enlightening. Balance and contentment.

Adopting the trends of words from other countries, like hygge and sisu, Lagom is Sweden's choice word to represent the culture and country. In short, it means finding the valance and contentment in one's individual life of not too little, not too much.

This book is broken down into sections, showing how Lagom can be applied to themes such as food, work, money, etc. Photos of Sweden city and country fill the pages throughout the book, giving a dash of culture throughout the text. It's a quick read, with large text and lots of white space but should be read at ones own Lagom pace, not too slow, not too fast, in order to soak in and retain the information.

The author is an expert on cultures and lives in Sweden and writes in a travel guide magazine for Stockholm. While most of the book is objective and factual, she does end with a final section on how Lagom has impacted her own personal life.

While I'm not sure if the author is the best source of expertise on the subject, not having lived in Sweden her whole life, I thought the book was incredibly insightful and enlightening and the author is able to put into words a difficult, abstract concept and make it accessible to readers worldwide. After reading this book, I plan to incorporate mindfulness of Lagom into my own life.
Profile Image for Anna Casian-Musteață.
270 reviews16 followers
May 11, 2019
Cartea asta a venit așa, ca o gură de aer și ca o confirmare că fac bine ceea ce fac și că sunt pe calea cea bună în „lupta” pentru o planetă mai curată, pentru o viață mai liniștită, ieșită din standardele societății. Pentru că, până la urmă, secretul suedez al vieții bune asta înseamnă – fiecare să ofere și să primească în mod egal, fără a tulbura echilibrul dintre individualitate și dinamica de grup, dintre om și natură.
3 reviews1 follower
February 10, 2021
This book was super interesting! I enjoyed learning about Swedish culture, especially because a lot of my family is Swedish. I was able to clearly see the differences between Sweden and the US, differences that I was completely unaware of before I read this book. I even was able to get down a few recipes that were noted to try out myself! I loved learning about their ways of living a sustainable life, and hope to implement some of these tips into my own life in the future.
Profile Image for Bel.
560 reviews15 followers
December 18, 2018
Interesting read that promotes a lifestyle based on minimalism and enjoyment of life through simplicity and appreciation for the present. The philosophy is basically more along the lines of less is more and quality over quantity. Good concepts to incorporate into our life whatever your nationality or wherever you live! I also enjoy the nice photos that are so in line with the theme of the book.
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