Good Minds Suggest: Meik Wiking's Books to Help You Think About Happiness

Posted by Goodreads on December 27, 2016
Meik Wiking

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It's rumored that the Danish are among the happiest people in the world, and their secret is said to be hygge (pronounced hoo-ga), which is loosely translated as a feeling we get when we are with people we love, a feeling of home, and a feeling of safety. Now the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen has written a guide to achieving your own warm and fuzzy feelings of contentment in The Little Book of Hygge.

So as we begin a new year, it made sense to ask the CEO of Happiness himself, Meik Wiking, about the books that can change how we think about happiness. Here are his five recommendations (cuddle up next to a roaring fireplace with these for your own bit of hygge):

Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne
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"A.A. Milne was not an author—he was a happiness scientist. For example: ' "Well," said Pooh, "what I like best," and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn't know what it was called.' "


A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
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"Hemingway may not be your classic 'feel-good' author, but I really enjoy being transported back to 1920s Paris, where we follow Hemingway as a young, poor, struggling—but happy—writer. I think it illustrates the happiness of pursuit very well."


The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
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"I often come back to this one. I think it is so well done in terms of writing about the most complicated things in life—such as love, loss, friendship, and loneliness—in such a simple way."


The Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle
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"It is wonderful experience to read one of the earliest works on happiness and see how much still holds true today. To Aristotle the good life was the meaningful life—and I think what a lot of people miss in their lives today is a sense of purpose."


Forrest Gump by Winston Groom
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"Forrest is lovely company. It is a nice experience to witness the World—and the history of the World—through his eyes. He is a happiness researcher's dream, as his life changes so much. Ideally what we like to do is follow individuals over time and then see how differences in life circumstances impact their happiness levels."


Vote for your own favorites on Listopia: Best Happiness Books



Comments Showing 1-23 of 23 (23 new)

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message 1: by C.J. (new)

C.J. Lovely list. I'd add Manalive by GK Chesterton, The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien, and perhaps The Housekeeper and the Professor -- no, definitely that -- by Yoko Ogawa.

CJ


message 2: by Beth (new)

Beth Mitchell Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L'Engle.


message 3: by Rachel (new)

Rachel https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1...

"Rasselas--regarded as Johnson's most creative work--presents the story of the journey of Rasselas and his companions in search of "the choice of life." Its charm lies not in its plot, but rather in its wise and humane look at man's constant search for happiness. The text is based on the second edition as Samuel Johnson revised it."


message 4: by Phyllis (new)

Phyllis Le Chat Really good suggestions! I'm searching for tools to share with others to alter their negative thinking habits and focus on the bad to the exclusion of the good in life. I especially look forward to reading Meik Wiking's book.


message 5: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer POLLYANNA wud be my book of happiness.


message 6: by Carole (new)

Carole Excellent list of many favorites! I'd add New Testament books, especially Galatians and Ephesians for happy and meaningful, deeper than just merry.


message 7: by Gitte (new)

Gitte Collins Hygge is NOT pronounced as Hoo-ga!! I should know I am Danish!!


message 8: by Maggie (new)

Maggie Brooks I would add The Life of Pi. Yann Martel allows you to end the story as you wish. Also, if some of your interests lie in true cultures of our world, Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie.


message 9: by Karen (new)

Karen Gitte wrote: "Hygge is NOT pronounced as Hoo-ga!! I should know I am Danish!!"
Good for you, I'm German and I still don't know how it's pronounced, attitude person.


message 10: by Sy (new)

Sy Burhan But how is it pronounced?


message 11: by Nancy (new)

Nancy Phyllis wrote: "Really good suggestions! I'm searching for tools to share with others to alter their negative thinking habits and focus on the bad to the exclusion of the good in life. I especially look forward to..."
- Try being alert for the negative emotion, then.. stop! let it be, unmolested by our rejection, analysis, evasion, justification, etc., etc.,etc... let it BE in silent watchfulness...not mentally engaging it in any way... then see what happens ;) (Wash, rinse, repeat... be the patient cat at the mousehole, waiting for the 'mouse' ;)


message 12: by Sue F Ferguson (new)

Sue F Ferguson I would definitely add The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. It changed my life for the better. It really teaches you how to let go of negative thoughts and be happy in the present moment.


message 13: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth I just watched multiple people in Denmark being interviewed about Hygge. Some pronounced it "hoo-ga" and some pronounced it "hue-ga" so the pronunciation above would appear to be acceptable to many Danes.

To Gitte: Readers would be more open to your knowledge and experience if you would phrase your comments in a more positive way such as "I'm Danish and I've most often heard the word hygge pronounced as "however you pronounce it."


message 14: by David (new)

David Stephen having seen the film when it first came out, I was very interested to find out the authors name and purchase a copy of the book to read more detail into the character of Forrest. My luck came when as a Proofreader with the Scottish Braille Press at the time, myself and my colleague were given the Braille proofs of the book as a job of work. Basically, my colleague and I were paid a wage to dissolve into tears of laughter, at least 2 or 3 times a day for the length of time it took to complete the job correctly and professionally. And although I say it myself I believe we did do it justice, and had the most fun doing a job I've ever experienced in my life.


message 15: by Jane (new)

Jane De Great list for 2017 - would add my favourite cheerer-upper - Three Men in a Boat, Jerome K. Jerome


message 16: by Linda (new)

Linda I would also add The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World, by Eric Weiner, because it was an interesting study of happiness in different cultures. It was quite funny and brought up many interesting points to ponder.


message 17: by Rejean (new)

Rejean Levesque "Hygge" is pronounced "h" like in "ham", "y" like the "u" in the French "une", "gg" is a hard "g" like in "god", and the "e" like the "ae" in "Michael". No stressed syllable.


message 18: by Cheri (new)

Cheri Collins Gitte wrote: "Hygge is NOT pronounced as Hoo-ga!! I should know I am Danish!!"

How is it pronounced?


message 19: by Mark (new)

Mark Smith I'll add my two cents... Contentment is a more realistic goal... More sustainable... Than happiness. In my experience what makes happiness so special is that it's rare. If it were commonplace it wouldn't be happiness any more... It'd be life. Happiness... When it happens... Finds you, not the other way around.


South_River_Reader Happiness and Contemplation by Josef Pieper


message 21: by Rita (new)

Rita Oliveira Katerine wrote: "My thanks goes to DR OGBOGBO who mightily save my marriage by curing me and my husband of a deadly disease that is killing the word right now, his spell is so powerful that under 3days we came back..."
lol


Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* Rejean wrote: ""Hygge" is pronounced "h" like in "ham", "y" like the "u" in the French "une", "gg" is a hard "g" like in "god", and the "e" like the "ae" in "Michael". No stressed syllable."

so it's kind of like,

H-u-Geh?


message 23: by Bay (last edited Apr 10, 2018 09:54AM) (new)

Bay Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder* wrote: "Rejean wrote: ""Hygge" is pronounced "h" like in "ham", "y" like the "u" in the French "une", "gg" is a hard "g" like in "god", and the "e" like the "ae" in "Michael". No stressed syllable."

so it's kind of like,

H-u-Geh?"


As a Dane I would say yes, Erin. It is definitely closer than hoo-ga


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