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Sisu: The Finnish Art of Courage

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  577 ratings  ·  75 reviews

Discover the Finnish quality of sisu and how cultivating it can help you lead a life of greater purpose and happiness.

This ancient Finnish word describes an attitude of courage, resilience, grit, tenacity and perseverance. This key psychological competence enables extraordinary action in times of adversity. To have sisu confers a further dimension of doing so with hone

Kindle Edition, 157 pages
Published February 8th 2018 by Gaia
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Average rating 3.74  · 
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 ·  577 ratings  ·  75 reviews

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Natalie Carbery
Hold the phone on other Scandinavian lifestyle books, we found a decided winner!

Unlike Finding Sisu: In Search of Courage, Strength, and Happiness the Finnish Way which limits the view of Sisu, Joanna Nylund offers a diverse and thoughtful look at Finnish courage.

What makes this book so wonderful is that it is actually mental health positive. There are moments in the book where Nylund advocates for seeking help when one is unable to go it alone. And that is okay. Asking for help takes sisu. Ad
Aug 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Part self-help book, part deep dive into Finnish culture, this was a fun afternoon read. The illustrations by Naomi Wilkinson were lovely. My collage doesn’t do her justice.
Chris Bauer
Jul 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I very much enjoyed (and frankly, needed) this book. Joanna Nylund takes a uniquely Finnish ideal - "sisu" - and creates a compelling, thoughtful exploration of the topic and how it manifests. Apparently there is no direct English translation for the words, so I'll stick with "determined courage" in my mind.

What I enjoyed most about the work is how a simple concept can embody different activities and perspectives. Working hard at self-improvement over the long haul? Sisu. Trying to overcome a ma
Christine Spoors
Apr 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
I just love books like this so much! I love the way they make me think about the way I live my life whilst giving me a chance to learn more about Scotland’s northern cooler neighbours! I’ve never read a book about, or set in Finland, so I really enjoyed learning about Sisu.

This book felt very different from the books on Danish Hygge and Lykke and the Swedish Lagom which I’ve read in the past. This explored “the Finnish art of courage” and spoke a lot about the way in which we find the bravery to
Sean Kottke
Jan 01, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2021
This little gift book came in a Christmas care package of Scandinavian goodies my parents gifted us this year. I've been a vocal admirer of all things Scandinavian my whole life, and am unapologetic in my embrace of Finland's approach to education as a viable export, particularly if it can come with the total package of sisu and Finnish ethos. Tall order for sure, but this book does provide a useful pathway to sisu. ...more
Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
WONDERFUL LITTLE BOOK! I really enjoyed this book explaining and illustrating all different facets of Sisu. There are some incredibly inspirational take-aways to be found within. Perhaps I identify so strongly with this concept as it mirrors the upbringing that my brothers and I had in rural Canada. My Dad is an incredible example of a can-do-it attitude. I also resonate with the love of nature outings in all weathers, straightforward (no small talk) conversations, deep integrity and equality fo ...more
Rohvannyn Shaw
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really, really love this book. It didn't take long, and the concepts weren't hard but the wisdom within is priceless. The tough-minded Finnish trait of sisu is something most of us need more of these days. It can truly be applied to all aspects of life. A wise friend of mine, who is himself a tough old Finn, bought me a copy and I want to keep it around as long as I live.

The material inside is presented in short sections, most with pictures. There is an overview of the Finnish philosophy in qu
Fabrizio Poli
Jul 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great quick read about the Finnish philosophy of , Sisu.
Sisu can be defined as grit, perseverance, resilience and desire all packaged into one.
I enjoyed the book and learning about the Finnish culture and history that brought this philosophy into existence.
May 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
A fun, easygoing, light read - great for making you feel good and helping you learn something new without having to think about it.

'Sisu' doesn't have a direct English translation, but can be likened to: courage, perseverance and tenacity. Nylund writes, 'Finland has built, and rebuilt, its future several times over. Looking at sisu as a guiding ethos in life.'

The book is divided into 7 categories of how sisu can be used and measured: life's challenges, our wellbeing, communication, raising chi
Katie Lee-Hall
Dec 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting and insightful read on both Sisu and Finnish culture, through the lens of Sisu. The book itself is beautifully created, with a stylish layout and lovely pictures and graphics.

Short and informative sections cover a variety of topics (wellbeing, communication, exercise, and more) with a good balance of brevity and detail - the additional facts in the margins were great, giving more colour or insight to the issue at hand.

Only two negatives, for me: 1) At times the link back to Sisu
Ashleigh Mattern
Feb 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This quick read is all about the Finnish ideal of "sisu." It's a lot like resilience, except that the Finns seem to have woven resilience into every area of their lives. I picked it up because I wanted to reflect on courage and I was pleasantly surprised to also learn a lot about Finnish culture. Illustrated with trendy graphics and well-chosen stock photos, the book is visually enjoyable as well, though sometimes the black text on darker-coloured backgrounds made it a bit difficult to read. All ...more
Mar 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Finns are persistent. They strive for their goals quietly, and never give up no matter what. This is because they have “sisu” in their hearts as a national trait. Roughly translated to “source of strength in heart”, sisu is somehow different from grit, which is all about passion and outward facing. Instead, sisu is about calming your mind, tapping your heart for inner strength and confidence that you already have to allow you endure challenges. I actually adore this humble and practical positive ...more
It was quite interesting to read about something I've always known about in a very... introducing way. This would be a great book to give to people who are interested in Finland and the Finnish culture as it taps into a lot of different topics about Finland but looks at things (such as weather, communication, raising kids, some Finnish history etc.) from the sisu perspective. At some points some of the more "tips"/"ABC to _____" bits were a bit out of place in my opinion but I still enjoyed read ...more
Nov 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Joanna put a spell on this book - her knowledge of the traditions of Finland are clearlyexcellent - but she can be very freely read because she has not bias - nothing is over-done

a guide book to the Finnish mind and then to my mind you may have the opportunity of becoming voluntarily Finnish - see if it fits - I purchased this at Amazon
Since age - osteoporosis and a resultant broken hip I deal with Amazon always I have not visited here lately - and I apologise for that - I now have been awarded
Apr 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sisu was a really good read. I read this after reading Katja Pantzer’s book about Sisu, which was a more personal story, almost memoir-ish with some interviews and science. I really enjoyed that book about finding Sisu and so read this one. Joanna Nylund’s Sisu is more focused on applications to the reader rather than telling a story and I really found it quite interesting. There are definitely passages I will go back and read again, especially the ones related to work life and communication.
Mar 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having just come back from the holiday in Finland, my interest in the country and people are growing. This book is a great introduction to learn the resilience, courage, and positive attitude towards physical and mental health as well as relationships that Finnish people maintain (at least try to).
I would read this book before going to bed or before starting the day just to keep my spirits positive and to live well. Can recommend.
Feb 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this one as much, if not more than the one from it’s danish cousin (hygge). Makes you reconsider things in your life and how you react to it. Resilience is a wonderful thing. You could say I’m obsessed with scandinavian countries, and you’d be right. They have wonderful mentalities that I could totally see into my future...
Thảo Đoàn
Nov 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sisu is an amazing book with me. I learned about the Sisu lifestyle and put many questions for myself about the lean out the life.
This book is actually the encouragement for me at that time I read. Hope that everyone who is in the struggling in life, workplace, love will find the Sisu inside themself to get over and more mature day by day.
Shane Schirmer
Jan 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While I was a little skeptical going in, I found this book to be quite the pleasant surprise. The middle portion of the book contains a few "advise column" segments, but besides that, I loved the look at the Finnish people, and how they view and define Sisu. I find this is not a "one and done" book, but rather one that I'm keeping by my bedside for times I need some inspiration. ...more
May 04, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted to like this book more but it was just a bit too shallow. It felt rushed and some snippets were even repeated. The parts I wanted to read more about were cut short (actually every section is cut short). It has some nice tips to bring sisu into your life, but if you're already familiar with sisu, you may not get much out of this book. I did still enjoy it though. ...more
What a lovely little book!
The writing is nice and straightforward. Short sentences with out overusing adjetives. I guess that’s a reflection of the Finnish language and people too.
It’s the sort of book you can enjoy in one go, but I took my time to savour the new information and let it marinade my brain. I think I might read it again when ever I’m feeling the ti need a boost of Sisu.
Hiep Pham
This book provide you an overview of Sisu - the secret art of how Finnish people fought with extreme cold weather but still enjoy life and build a developed country.
The provided information and advice are shallow and not interesting. With the illustration this book looks more like a web article. Good for a quick read.
stuart mckie
Apr 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thought provoking

Worth the read ... a basic guide to living life from another cultural perspective ... having been made aware/re-aware of basic principles, it is for you to put them into action
Aug 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very visuallistic, full of beautiful pictures.This book really made me wants to move to Finland and live around people with this positive mindset 🙂. I guarantee you're gonna find the advice you needed while reading it. I love how it express our need for nature in our self growth journey.❤ ...more
Jan 01, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cute little book with lovely illustrations; it’s why I bought the book. However, as I have read a lot of these kinds of books, I found this one lacking in some ideas and messages I could take away. I’ll still probably pick this up from time to time, but not for deep, reflective reading.
Lilly Mary
A nice little read, with reminders of my heritage as a child of a Finn growing up in Australia. I had never really thought about it, just lived these principles as taught to me by my father.
May 18, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, own, non-fiction
Very informative on the finnish way of living and principles and a nice approach altogether.
Corazón Rodríguez Soriano
It has a good introduction and the first part was nice, some background to get to know Sisu. Then it became a sort-of-a-motivational-book I didn't like at all. BTW: Pics and design were superb. ...more
Jul 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love this book - review soon
Beautifully produced Pinterest-worthy mood-boosting coffee table book, which is a good thing sometimes when I need motivation
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