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Lagom: The Swedish Art of Balanced Living
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Lagom: The Swedish Art of Balanced Living

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  5,052 ratings  ·  538 reviews
Discover the Swedish ethos of balanced living with this little book of Lagom.

The Swedish concept of Lagom (pronounced "lah-gom") roughly translates to "not too little, not too much, just right." This charming book introduces readers to a new way of balanced living that promises happiness and sustainability in work and in life. Lagom provides simple solutions to juggle ev
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published October 17th 2017 by Running Press Adult (first published 2017)
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Average rating 3.58  · 
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 ·  5,052 ratings  ·  538 reviews

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Nov 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017, sweden
*** There are two recently published books on lagom with not only similar titles, but they are also similar in size and cover design. My review of Lagom: Not Too Little, Not Too Much: The Swedish Art of Living a Balanced, Happy Life can be found here:

“Happiness in a sustainable sense is not about extremes.” (p 151)

Lagom is about balance, having not too little, not too much, but just enough. Linnea Dunne not only defines lagom, but captures the very essen
Dec 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars
This book isn’t as good as the Hygge book but still parts of it were interesting. I wanted to read this only to learn about Swedes and how they lead a happy life. Also because of the amazing IKEA from Sweden. I really want to move to Europe after reading books like these - the quality of life seems to be so much better compared to the rat race that we are part of.
Debbie Young
Jan 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Interesting insights into Swedish society and values, expounding at length the philosophy of moderation in all things and citing many ways to embrace it in our own lives.

Like last winter's books on the Danish concept of Hygge, the basic concept is a valid antidote to our over-indulgent, consumerist age, promoting a more eco-friendly and considered lifestyle.

A few details struck me as oddly untraditional, e.g. the recommendation to make your main Friday night meal tacos and dips in front of the t
Feb 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
A bit overrated? The only thing that added value was the definition of the word lagom itself. All of the other information can be found in the brochures given in Swedish tourist information offices (which I remember doing). Recipe for cinnamon buns? Seriously (and that was in those brochures too). I would appreciate more research done on Swedish people than just WHO and UN facts.
Jun 03, 2019 rated it it was ok
It was fun to read about the Swedish culture, but this book didn't really tell me anything I did not already know or do in real life. So, I'd recommend it for a story about life in Sweden (with horrible overgeneralisations - "the Swedish" do this) but not for teaching you something new about lifestyle. ...more
Aug 13, 2019 rated it it was ok
I found it too quick of a read with too much brand name dropping and no substance. I get that the suggestions are not viable for everyone everywhere but the tone of the book implies that the writer is unaware of that fact. Cute design and lovely illustrations. Maybe I would have enjoyed it more as a beach read where I am less likely to be cranky about basic lifestyle books.
Feb 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
Not a “profound” book by any means, but a clean-cut, tidy little book about happiness and healthy, mindful living that was a great pick-me-up in the middle of winter. I love a lot of the Swedish ideology this book promotes: taking time to be in nature, avoidance of consumerism and wastefulness, taking more time to be with friends and just BE with others...sounds like the Swedes might be doing some things right that ‘Merica’s got wrong if this book is any indication.

Illustrations: I’m a sucker f
Renee Roberts
Jul 28, 2022 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
Overall, I'm happy I read this and learned about Lagom and the Swedish culture. It boils down to balance. Kind of a Goldilocks mentality, in that people should want the proper amount of something--not too little, not too much, but the "just right" portion. Strive for happiness, but realize you can't have elation 24-7 and learn to appreciate being contented. They work to live instead of living to work, and they take their breaks and leave on time. Value your friends, but also have some time alone ...more
Kathy Peterman
A charming look at what the Swedes do to create balanced, happy life. Lagom translates to "everything in moderation" and the book is divided into three sections - personal life, family & relationships and the wider world. I believe we learn the most by going outside our own culture as it gives us a wider range for what's possible.

Swedish homes are simple, clutter-free yet have a personal touch via plants, lights, handmade or secondhand items. Shoes off in the house keeps things sanitary and coz
Mar 06, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall, 3.5.

Physical aesthetics of the book: 5 stars, absolutely. A great, minimalist feel while the embossing and matte, sturdy cover give it weight in hand. Really love it.

At the end, the author admits it’s a lightweight skimming of a deep concept and offers only a wee bit of practical advice for incorporating Lagom into the hectic, insatiable, and omnivorous melee that is American-style living... And while I loved it on the whole, it was all just too brief and almost terse (perhaps that is t
Nov 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
I love books like this, denial is impossible to maintain ;-)
Mar 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
In line with the hygge trend, now we have: Lagom!

This book is hard to review.

There were some things I liked - it had some good advice, and some interesting asides about Swedes. And really, who can argue with the idea that balance in all things is a good idea (except the occasional big bag of candy [lördagsgodis!]). I could only wish that recycling was so easy here. And that I could afford a caravan!

There were some things I didn't like - there was some silly advice, and some sweeping generalizat
Jan 02, 2018 rated it liked it
This book talks about the Swedish concept of lagom, or just enough, seeking balance, etc. It has a few pages of text on various aspects of lagom with photos and graphics, covering food, home, community, work, clothing, and discussion of sustainability. It was interesting to learn more about Swedish culture. The Swedes have a very admirable approach to work-life balance (parents receive generous time off until their children are age 8 - up to 480 days for mothers or fathers), they leave work on t ...more
Dec 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Lagom, the name for Swedish balanced living can be described as aiming for "not too Little, not too much, just right" The emphasis in all parts of life, from consuming goods, preparing food, enjoying the outdoors, communing with nature and friends is on the good of the collective rather than on any one person or group. Sweden is known to be one of the top ten countries in the world with contented, happy people. The author Linnea Dunne answers the question, why would one adopt Lagom with the answ ...more
Dec 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-read
I've been a bit obsessive this year with Swedish/Danish living having read The Little Book of Hygge, The Little Book of Fika and now Lagom: The Swedish Art of Balanced Living. This one was a bit more robust than the latter two.

According to Dunne, lagom roughly translates into "just enough". It's striking the balance of life and basically, enjoying things in moderation. It's really not rocket science- working enough to live not living to work, spending time with family and friends, sustainabilit
Christa Van
Mar 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Another example from the countries of how to live your best life. This from Sweden, lagom roughly translates into "just the right amount." In other words don't overdo things or under do things to achieve a balance that will make you happier in the long term. This book advocates for balance, simplicity and moderation. Topics covered in this book include work-life balance, food and drink, health, friends, the planet and the management of "things." Swedish design is well know for simple lines and n ...more
Timandra Whitecastle
Jul 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a quirky illustrated beautiful book that I’m going to give 4.5 stars.

It’s main problem was that I read it just after finishing Meik Wiking‘s Hygge and Lykke books - and I simply liked them just a little bit more. Maybe the Danish book hangover colored my impression? So I wouldn’t give it the full 5 stars - I just didn’t love it as much - but I think it’s still a great book that embraces a certain moderate no-nonsense approach to life that really resonated with me.
Melissa Taylor
Jan 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting and enjoyable read

I wasn't sure what to expect when I started reading this book; it really made me think about some of the changes I could make to make my like simpler and I love the focus on community (making your neighbour a batch of cinnamon buns - why not). I am interested in learning about other cultures so this was a great read for me.
Apr 26, 2019 rated it liked it
I must admit I picked it up solely for its "looks." It's a lovely book with beautiful illustrations. As for the content... I don't know what to think of it. The book could as well be named "The Swedes Are Perfect", which is ridiculous. Plus, the whole philosophy is nothing groundbreaking, most of us already live by those "rules." I gave it 3 stars mostly for the aesthetics. ...more
Jun 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Friendly little book on the art of "not too little, not too much, just right" in all aspects of one's life
I really enjoyed it and it fit well with the book I just read on hygge. :)
Oct 21, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: minimalism
This made me want to move to Sweden, pronto!😅
Another one of those short, packed and such a breeze to read book. I thought, I‘ve read it 3x now. I started reading it with a booked trip to Sweden already.. reading it through otw to Stockholm, with a stopover at Malmö where the author is from. Now, I can add Fika to my itinerary with Lagom in mind to everything I do.😀

Funny, the author is not Swedish though but a Brit. But she wrote about the Swedish ways of Life so comprehensively and convincingly…
Jane Glossil
Rating this book with just enough stars. Now take me to Sweden.
Feb 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'd say 3.5 stars. One of the less twee Nordic lifestyle books I've encountered, but I probably should stop now. I think there are only so many times you can read about natural-fiber textiles, Jante's Law, high-quality universal healthcare, and mandatory paternity leave without wanting to tear your own eyes out.

However, this is pretty cute. The pictures are nice, the illustrations are adorable, and the recipes seem good. People who are taking it as mad prescriptivist seem to be missing the poin
Dec 27, 2017 rated it liked it
I was interested in reading about Lagom, as Hygge has been something that has really interested me this year and I wanted to learn about this concept as well. Because it was marketed the same way (cutesy small book), I assumed lagom and hygge were very similar. While they share similar concepts I think I vibe more with lagom, as it's all about practicality and balance, something I strive for (and frankly I think it's one of my Libra traits as well, haha). I'm glad I read this book around the end ...more
Eleanor Slater
Aug 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-bookcase
A curious mix of information and opinion this book champions the idea of Goldilocksing your way through life - applying the "not too little, not too much" approach wherever possible. It talks about the importance of work-life balance, sustainable living, eating and socialising and how to achieve a sustainable form of happiness. As a fan of all things Swedish I really enjoyed this book, it spoke to the frugal, sensible half of me and encouraged me to try and be less consumerist - but it didn't re ...more
Amina Mirsakiyeva
Aug 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Lagom is a Swedish term for "golden middle". In this short book author describes the basis of Swedish happiness which could be reached by taking things easy, being responsible, responsive and mindful. Author shares simple food receipts, details of daily traditions, basic rules of being ecological and sportive. Books is full of Swedish terms which does not have analogues in other languages, but which characterize Swedish society a lot (fredagsmys, lattepappor, fika, friluftsliv, etc).

As person wh
Mar 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this little book. The basic message is that happiness and well-being can be found in moderation, or “lagom”, as the Swedes call it. I found myself agreeing with most of the book’s points, that fresh air, recycling, gathering with friends and family, taking more time for hobbies etc... all increase well-being and contentedness. As one who is constantly fighting against my extremist nature it will not be easy nor perhaps possible to live this way but it is nice to read about. My favorite ...more
Feb 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Quick and fun lifestyle book extolling the virtues of a Swedish mindset. My only complaint is the layout. While the images and photos are beautiful, often the text is set into a box with background color making it difficult to read. In a nutshell, lagom is the middle way, not too little and not too much. Take responsibility for your environment and your neighborhood. Seek work-life balance by leaving the office on time. Strive for comfort and appropriateness in clothing rather than fashion. De-c ...more
Oliver Grin
Apr 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read this book cover-to-cover in just about one day (it’s a quick read). The next day I picked it up again, started with the last chapter, and reread the whole thing backwards. ‘Lagom’ is a word which cannot be succinctly or holistically translated into English, and it deals with a concept which resides within extremes; things which are just right, just enough, just. Maybe this is why I had to read the book twice. Not because it was poorly written or overly complicated, but because I didn’t fe ...more
May 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a really refreshing read to find out what Sweden does to approach the idea of having a balanced life. I really enjoyed learning some interesting things about the country in a variety of different areas: food, recycling, simplicity, being neighborly, and even vegging. It was a really interesting read. Some of the ideas would be almost borderline "radical" here in the United States but I wonder if we really shouldn't give some of them consideration. You'll find a great deal of useful info ...more
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Linnea Dunne was born and raised in Sweden, where she started her writing career as a columnist at the local newspaper. She left for Ireland a few years later and eventually moved to London, where she studied Creative Writing and Political Communications. She now lives in Dublin with her husband and two half-Swedish kids, trying to achieve that lagom balance against all odds.

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