Book Reviews / Books

Review: Lagom – Niki Brantmark

02.25.18

Lagom

This review is something of a first for me. It is not, by any means, the first time I’ve reviewed a book – I have reviewed many hundreds since starting this blog. It is, however, the first time I’ve reviewed a book that I have listened to, rather than read.

Lagom by Niki Bratmark is the first book I chose to listen to as a newly subscribed member of BookBeat. I’m sorry to admit that even while choosing which audiobook to listen to (and thus is being dowloaded to my phone rather than in my hands), I remained a sucker for a good cover, and Lagom was among the most eye-catching.

And while listening to an audiobook is a physically different experience to turning the pages of a book, it amounts, essentially, to the very same thing; the digestion of new information of knowledge; the escapism we need from reality, and of course the falling in love, whether with people, places or plots.

And while Lagom contained neither characters nor a plot, a place it did, and by the end of the book it’s safe to say I was very much in awe of Sweden and the Lagom way of life Bratmark speaks so beautifully of in her book.

Bratmark moved to Sweden thirteen years ago, a move which inspired her to start her award winning blog My Scandinavian Home, a feat which later led her to author two books besides Lagom; Modern Pastoral and, unsurprisingly The Scandinavian Home.

Lagom

Lagom itself is a book to be savoured, and so as much as wanted to race through it, I found myself instead making time for it only when I was fully able to; a lazy morning in bed with a cup of tea and a lit candle; an early night under fresh sheets after a sun-drenched day on the beach. Doing so made the experience itself an indulgent one, which felt appropriate given one of Lagom’s wider translations is simple-perfect; as perfectly simply it really was.

The book itself is both insightful and inspiring, and we learn about the Swedish way of life and traditions that make the nation one of the happiest and most content in the word. From tips on decluttering your home, to styling a messy-chic bun the Swedes are so famous for, to mindful buying and everything in between, it’s part manual, part memoir on how to live a richer, yet more simple existence.

A wonderful read (or listen, depending on your preference), Lagom is the perfect book to turn to if you want to make small changes that will ultimately make your life a balanced and happier one. I defy anyone to get to the end of Bratmark’s book without wanting to up sticks and move to the land of rustic chic, stylish interiors and sweetened breads.

About Niki Bratmark

Niki Brantmark is the founder and creator of the award-winning daily interior design blog My Scandinavian Home, which was inspired by her move to Sweden from London thirteen years ago. Her blog receives more than five hundred thousand page views per month from readers all over the world. Brantmark has an MA in psychology from the University of Edinburgh and lives with her family in Malmö, Sweden.

About Lagom: Not Too Little, Not Too Much: The Swedish Art of Living a Balanced, Happy Life

In a fast-paced world, wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could slow down and enjoy a life with less pressure, less stress, and more time for the things you love?

Sweden is ranked in the top three of the world’s happiest places to live, and lagom, which means “not too much and not too little–just right,” is the Swedish philosophy for enjoying balance in every aspect of life–from work and leisure to family and food, and everything in between. Experienced bakers know by touch when the dough they are kneading is lagom–not too moist and not too dry. At the office, professionals who work hard–but not to the detriment of other parts of their lives–are following the lagomideal. Lagom is moderation, balance, and equality.

By using the Swedish lifestyle as an example, Niki Brantmark offers insightful suggestions and bite-sized actions to help you make subtle changes to your life, so you too can make time for the things that matter most and find greater happiness.

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4 comments on “Review: Lagom – Niki Brantmark”

  1. Just like you, I listened to Lagom on BookBeat a while ago – but until now, I hadn’t made the connection between it and My Scandinavian Home! And I do follow the blog, too.

    Lagom was a lovely, relaxing book to listen to, and the idea of not too much, not too little has this instant calming effect. I’m from Finland myself, and recognise a lot of similarities between my culture and the Swedish one; maybe it’s a bit of a Nothern European culture in general that comes through from the book, too.

    I often hear people talk or even complain about how everything is given a fancy name these days to make it sound more trendy and like it’s never done before. Hygge, for one, is a concept that gets some critique in Finland, at least, for being a kind of an “empty word for something we’ve always known”. I disagree – the fact that a language has a specific word for something proves that it has cultural importance. And I think lagom is a concept like that: it’s simple, in the end, but the name is what makes it concrete and typical to the culture.

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by Lotta, and for your lovely comment. I’m so glad you enjoyed Lagom too – it really is a wonderful book. And My Scandinavian Home is such a stunning website. I’d love to know if you have any other book recommendations that you think I might enjoy! xo

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