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In a previous post, we looked at various approaches to happiness from around the world, including hygge, niksen, and kalsarikänni. But, we’re not done yet! Today, we’ll be exploring even more happiness hints from around the world!

Ubuntu is a Xhosa word which is a belief in a universal human bond and a strong sense of the interconnectedness of people. Everyday Ubuntu helps readers to dive into the concept of ubuntu and to learn how to be happier, better people by seeing the full humanity of those around us. Focusing on compassion, forgiveness, and being a listening ear allows us to better embrace and understand those around us. And if we’re all focused on understanding, loving, and supporting others, and they are doing the same for us, everyone’s needs are met and everyone feels seen. Change comes by starting with ourselves, and if you’re looking for a way to bring joy to the world around you, perhaps ubuntu is the perfect starting point. Additionally, the book includes practical exercises and examples of how you can best live out this philosophy in the world. Finding happiness through ubuntu has never been easier!

Lagom is the Swedish art of balance–not standing on a ball or walking a tightrope, but finding just the right amount of everything in your life–not too little and not too much–sort of like Goldilocks, looking for those things that were “just right”. If you’re curious about finding happiness through balance, then perhaps lagom will be the perfect approach for you. This sweet little book introduces readers to this way of life, as well as providing solutions and methods of how it can be used to balance priorities, reduce stress, and find opportunities for downtime. By removing clutter, focusing on going green, and adopting the other tenants of lagom, you can create a lifestyle for yourself that will not only make you happier, but improve the world around you. And if you just can’t get enough of lagom, we have another book on the topic, here.

An essential part of lagom is Fika: The Uplifting Art of the Swedish Coffee Break. And as a librarian who consumes copious amounts of coffee every single day, I can assure you that this sounds like a wonderful concept! But, of course, there’s more to it than chugging three cups a day. Rather, fika is all about taking a break. Stop in the middle of your day, enjoy a relaxing beverage of your choice, and spend a little time with a good friend. In our busy, stressful world, who wouldn’t love the opportunity to stop for a few minutes and spend time with someone they care about? This title will help you to supplement your daily coffee breaks with interesting facts, quotes, tips, and even some delicious recipes! So, sit back, relax, and enjoy a warm beverage and a sweet treat as you establish your own fika routine in the midst of your busy day-to-day.

Ikigai is a Japanese concept that says that everyone has a reason for getting up in the morning–a reason for living. Once you discover your own personal ikigai, you’ll be able to live a longer, happier life. Passion, mission, vocation, and profession intersect in the midst of ikigai, infusing each day with meaning. In fact, the Japanese are so focused on being productive, that they don’t necessarily retire–at least, not in the way that we think of retiring. Instead, it just means moving on to some new task, some new purpose or focus to keep them energized and motivated. If you find happiness in always being busy, then perhaps this is the book for you. Learn about the Japanese villages in some of the worlds Blue Zones–areas with the highest percentage of 100-year-olds–and how they remain happy and healthy over the course of their long lives. In addition, this book provides some practical tips for helping readers to discover their own ikigai. Discover your purpose and embrace happiness!

Optimists rejoice! This book is perfect for those of you who are always trying to see the best in the world around them. The Little Book of Lykke suggests that happiness can be found by looking for the best in things. If you want to learn about why the Danish are so happy (and if you enjoyed reading Wiking’s other book, The Little Book of Hygge), then this is the perfect next step! By focusing on six factors that affect our happiness: togetherness, money, health, freedom, trust, and kindness, Wiking explains ways that we can harness those factors in order to make ourselves happier in the long term. By making simple adjustments to your behavior (and taking a cue from our friends all over the world) you too can make simple but effective choices that will lead to long-term happiness. Unlike other books on this list, which focus on happiness in just one country, The Little book of Lykke, while it predominantly focuses on the Danish, takes a look at a world of happiness hints, making for an international adventure in good vibes!


I'm the Reader's Advisory Librarian at WPPL. My interests include old horror films, classic novels, manga and anime, paper-crafting, and plants. If you like my suggestions, you can request personalized recommendations from me on My Librarian page.