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The Year of Living Danishly : Uncovering the Secrets of the World's Happiest Country - Helen Russell

The Year of Living Danishly

Uncovering the Secrets of the World's Happiest Country

Paperback Published: 27th January 2016
ISBN: 9781785780233
Number Of Pages: 368

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Denmark is officially the happiest nation on Earth, so when journalist Helen Russell finds herself spending a year in rural Jutland, she decides she'll do all she can to uncover the secrets of the Danes' happiness. But will the long, dark winters and pickled herring take their toll?

When she was suddenly given the opportunity of a new life in rural Jutland, journalist and archetypal Londoner Helen Russell discovered a startling statistic: the happiest place on earth isn't Disneyland, but Denmark, a land often thought of by foreigners as consisting entirely of long dark winters, cured herring, Lego and pastries.What is the secret to their success? Are happy Danes born, or made? Helen decides there is only one way to find out: she will give herself a year, trying to uncover the formula for Danish happiness.

From childcare, education, food and interior design to SAD, taxes, sexism and an unfortunate predilection for burning witches, The Year of Living Danishly is a funny, poignant record of a journey that shows us where the Danes get it right, where they get it wrong, and how we might just benefit from living a little more Danishly ourselves.

About the Author

Helen Russell is a journalist and former editor of MarieClaire.co.uk. She now lives in rural Jutland and works as a Scandinavia correspondent for the Guardian, as well as writing a column on Denmark for the Telegraph.

Industry Reviews

'A lovely mix of English sensibility and Danish pragmatism. Helen seems to have understood more about the Danish character than I have! My only worry is that it will make everyone want to have a go and my holiday home area will get overcrowded.' -- Sandi Toksvig
'Russell is possessed of a razor-sharp wit and a winning self-deprecation - two of the things that make this book such a delight.' * The Independent *
'A hugely enjoyable romp through the pleasures and pitfalls of setting up home in a foreign land' -- PD Smith * Guardian *
'A wryly amusing account of a new life in a strange land.' * Choice Magazine *
'if you can't up sticks and move to Denmark... don't despair: here are a few tips and tricks I've picked up for getting a slice of the Danish work-life balance wherever you are.'
'Russell's husband takes a contract with Lego and they are catapulted into rural Jutland, in Denmark. Russell, who is a fast living journalist in London, is at first overwhelmed with the silence, the people, the sheer differences of living in a very foreign country. She then discovers that Danish people have the highest-rated happiness scores in the world... what's their secret? Why are they so damn happy? I'll let you know, it's a lot to do with something called "Hygge".'
'Giving up isn't always a bad thing; being a dropout can even change your life for the better. Helen Russell was a high-flying glossy magazine editor before moving to rural Jutland in Denmark which, despite its long dark winters, is also statistically the happiest nation on earth. While there, Helen soon discovered there's more to Danish life than cured herring and Nordic knits, as she described in her book, "The Year of Living Danishly".'
'Ever bought a book for a friend and ended up reading it yourself? I dipped into this and ended up buying my own copy so I could finish it'
'A hugely enjoyable autobiographical account of upping sticks... to the sticks.'

Totally like it!


Good to read a well researched book on wellbeing!!! :)

Russell Island QLD


Great gift for a traveller


I bought this book for a Uni student who plans to work in a corporate and travel globally. He absolutely loved it.



Culture shock in the 21st century.


Life in a culture where the population are prepared to pay high taxes for an equitable, rewarding and basically enjoyable existence. An antidote to those who screech for a higher population and lower taxes. Why are the Scandinavian success stories ignored in early childhood and subsequent education and training, exemplary international human rights records and generally pleasant lifestyles while Australia apparently wishes to follow the U.S. and U.K. down the gurgler?

Northern N.S.W.


A fun read and an ideal gift


I loved this book. The author, a journalist whose husband accepts a job in Denmark, writes about a different aspect of Danish life for each month of a year in an effort to explain why the Danes are the happiest people on Earth. It's a fun read and very informative.

Sydney, Australia


The Year of Living Danishly

4.3 4


ISBN: 9781785780233
ISBN-10: 1785780239
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 368
Published: 27th January 2016
Publisher: Icon Books Ltd
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 19.8 x 12.9  x 2.54
Weight (kg): 0.31

Earn 37 Qantas Points
on this Book