Happy as a Dane: 10 Secrets of the Happiest People in the World

Happy as a Dane: 10 Secrets of the Happiest People in the World

Malene Rydahl / Aug 11, 2020

Happy as a Dane Secrets of the Happiest People in the World For decades Denmark has ranked at the top of the world s happiness surveys How is it that these million Danes are so content when they live in a country that is dark and cold nine months of the ye

  • Title: Happy as a Dane: 10 Secrets of the Happiest People in the World
  • Author: Malene Rydahl
  • ISBN: 9780393608922
  • Page: 482
  • Format: Paperback
  • For decades Denmark has ranked at the top of the world s happiness surveys How is it that these 5.6 million Danes are so content when they live in a country that is dark and cold nine months of the year and where income taxes are at almost 60 percent At a time when talk across the Western world is focused on unemployment woes, government overreach, and anti taxation lobbFor decades Denmark has ranked at the top of the world s happiness surveys How is it that these 5.6 million Danes are so content when they live in a country that is dark and cold nine months of the year and where income taxes are at almost 60 percent At a time when talk across the Western world is focused on unemployment woes, government overreach, and anti taxation lobbies, our Danish counterparts seem to breathe a healthier and fresher air Interweaving anecdotes and research, Malene Rydahl explores how the values of trust, education, and a healthy work life balance with purpose to name just a few contribute to a happy population From eye opening stories about open air vegetable stands to babies safely left unattended while parents have coffee, to very generous paternity leave policies, Rydahl provides tips that we can all apply to our daily lives regardless of where we live.

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      Published :2020-05-12T18:25:09+00:00

    About "Malene Rydahl"

      • Malene Rydahl

        Malene Rydahl is born and raised in Denmark and has been based in Paris for the past nineteen years.She is the author of the book heureux comme un danois as happy as a Dane published by Grasset in April 2014 For decades Denmark has ranked at the top the world s happiness index Interweaving personal anecdotes and careful research, her book steers clear of any preaching and tackles the ostensible paradox of the Danish model and offers ten easy, entertaining, and thoughtful ways to be happy or at least as happy as a Dane The book won the prize of the most optimistic book in 2014 in FranceShe is currently the Director of Corporate Communications for Hyatt Hotels resorts in Europe Africa and Middle East.She is also part of the advisory committee for the positive and responsible Economy Forum entitled LH Forum , an initiative lead by Jacques Attali under the sponsorship of the President of the French Republic.Mrs Rydahl is also a financial partner in a start up company called 42 Raw, a new healthy fast food concept with 3 current restaurants in Copenhagen The company is about to further expand with future openings in London and Paris and other larger cities in the US and in Europe.


    1. 3.5 I love reading about the way people live in other countries, how they think, what they believe. This was a relatively short book, but packed full of information. Why are they so happy? So much so that this country is rated first in the world.After reading, and I enjoyed the layout of this book, I think I live in the wrong country. The Danes seem to exemplify all of the characteristics I try to follow, that I believe. Integrity, honesty, togetherness, importance of family time and more. Remin [...]

    2. Although this book is about Danish societal values, the 10 “secret” principles can also be applied to one’s personal life to become more content. Author Rydahl grew up in Denmark and moved to Paris at age 18 to pursue her dream career. Raised to be self-reliant, practical, and to appreciate others, she tried several jobs before finding her ideal career and lifestyle. Her parents, in typical Danish fashion, did not interfere with her decisions and encouraged her to become the person that sh [...]

    3. The 3rd one I have read on this topic (what can I say? It is interesting usually), this rates the lowest. Her list of reasons Danes rate as happy rings true (though I don't see that they were in any way "secrets"). So there is that. And she tries to be evenhanded (though this sometimes detracts from the points she is trying to make).However, I had a hard time relegating the fact that the author left as soon as she could and chooses to live somewhere else - yes, she has legitimate reasons, but it [...]

    4. All her points make sense. But many of them are easier said than done. For instance, in the conclusion, 'know yourself.' I'm 72 years old but still haven't quite figured that one out. Have to wonder if I'd be happier having been born and raised in Denmark. But as the author herself admits, not every Dane is necessarily happy.

    5. A lot of my thought process at the end of 2017 was, “how can I live a happier life in 2018?” I have already been taking steps toward living a more minimalist lifestyle and taking more time for myself, so when I stumbled across Happy as a Dane by Malene Rydahl, I was definitely intrigued. I needed to know what makes the people of Denmark so happy!Rydahl’s book, while relatively short, is packed with both detailed research and real- life examples. The book is broken down into ten chapters (o [...]

    6. I am interested in this topic, but this book, despite being only around 130 pages, was slow-going. The writing was dry, the material was not particularly interesting, and it offered no new insights into the topic. Also, although Danish, the author left the country decades ago and has chosen to live in France, which sort of undermines the message. Try The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell instead. It covers the same ground, but with some personality.

    7. Denmark has been called the happiest place in the world. Malene Rydahl discusses why Danish people are so happy. She discusses the issues of trust, work-life balance, taxes and education and provides insight into the Danish mind-set. She also provides tips to make your life happier. It was very enjoyable and a quick read.

    8. I found this a tedious read, and didn't feel I learnt anything from the book. It was based on anecdotes from the author, who left Denmark as a teenager.I received the book as a giveaway.

    9. Эта книга вызывает довольно странные ощущения. После прочтения остается ощущение, что автор описывает прямо таки рай земной. Страна, в которой благо человека соседствует с государственным контролем. Ну, в том плане, что население доверяет государству, государство доверяе [...]

    10. Очень компактная и позитивная книга. Вроде как про датчан :) , но на самом деле заставляет задуматься жителя любой страны о том, что такое счастье - личное, но в контексте общественного и общегосударственного. В советские годы подобную книгу назвали бы "буржуазной пропагандо [...]

    11. I am not sure what to make of this book because the contradictions ( though the author does her best to explain them away ) are so striking.She gives 10 reasons why the Danes are the happiest people on earth, yet there are so many things that they do on a regular basis that perhaps they pass off as being 'happy' but are certainly not 'healthy' and nothing to be happy or brag about.Her country's citizens have the highest rates of suicide, anti-depressant taking, one nite stands, teen alcoholics ( [...]

    12. I liked the idea of this book, but didn't like the book at all. I didn't like the author's pompous and uninteresting writing style, or some of the conclusions she tries to draw. For example, she boasts about the Danish being so happy, but yet her parents divorced (a sign of unhappiness) and she couldn't wait to leave Denmark. Further, I wanted to puke at her words about the American Dream. She obviously doesn't understand what the American Dream means. People from around the world move to Americ [...]

    13. The book has well illustrated the fact that whether one feels happy depends a lot on the positive attributes a person has and the collective mindset of a nation. Denmark tops the list of many happiness surveys and the author attempts to list the reasons in an objective way.The ten secrets according to the author are:1. trust 2. education that nurtures everyone, not just to churn out elites3. freedom and independence4. equal opportunities5. realistic expectations6. respect for others and unity7. [...]

    14. Lu dans le cadre du challenge Popsugar 2017 pour la catégorie A book from a genre you don't normally readJe lis jamais d'essais parce que ça me parait barbant mais une collègue m'avait conseillé celui-là en insistant un peu. Et j'étais agréablement surprise. L'auteur, une Danoise qui vit en France, nous explique pourquoi selon elle, les Danois sont les gens les plus heureux du monde d'après de nombreuses études. Elle nous présente des anecdotes personnelles et des choses plus général [...]

    15. Хочешь быть счастливым?! Будь им!❤️ доверяй окружающему миру (в Дании самый высокий уровень доверия в мире, на секундочку)❤️ у каждого есть своё место в обществе (образование не только бесплатное, оно дополнительно субсидируется государством)❤️ свобода и самостоятельно [...]

    16. Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review (and this is why it will be much longer than usual!).After living in Denmark and having fallen in love with the country, this is just one of the books I read on Danish happiness, hygge and similar topics. However, this is not the one I will suggest to friends, despite being one of the better documented. In fact, while the strength of the book lies in its solid foundation, the author often just throws figures at the reade [...]

    17. I am fascinated by Scandinavian countries and how "happy" they are. I picked this book up because I wanted to know more about hygge. While hygge is just barely touched on here, it is part of what makes Danish people so happy and content. The author breaks down what makes Danes happy as a culture into 10 points: trust, education, freedom and independence, equal opportunity, realistic expectations, solidarity and respect for others, work-life balance, relationship to money, modesty, and gender equ [...]

    18. This book was a lot of numbers and statistics and I was going to rate it lower but the 8th chapter started with a story. A story about a man who works just enough so he can spend time with his family and no more. A businessman tries to explain to him how he could work more to be rich, so that he would have lots of money and could retire and spend lots of time with his family. It was a short story about how money is not the correlation to happiness and if this story wasn’t in the book I would h [...]

    19. Ein Buch, das zum Nachdenken anregtTrotz hoher Steuerbelastung und lang andauernder Dunkelheit gehören die Dänen seit Jahrzehnten zu den glücklichsten Menschen auf der Welt. In diesem Buch werden ihre 10 Geheimnisse für ein glückliches Leben ans Licht gebracht.Nach der Lektüre dieses kleinen Büchleins kann ich nur sagen: Ich wünschte, ich wäre in Dänemark geboren worden. So wie die Autorin das Land beschreibt, scheint es genau das zu sein, was mir am meisten entsprechen würde.Die 10 G [...]

    20. Especially given the past few years we’ve had in America, I was interested in seeing how another country manages, what their version of “normal” is, how year after year Denmark is considered to have one of the happiest populations on the planet. The author breaks it down into ten attitudes/mindsets common in Danish culture, often backing them up with statistics and examples. Will my homeland be happier if we adopt all these for ourselves? I doubt it. However, this has given me some great f [...]

    21. While I am in love with getting books electronically from my library, I am reminded that my slow pace with nonfiction is not conducive to the poof it disappears after two weeks condition. I read most of it and am fascinated by thinking about how culture translates into how you interact with the world and ultimately your happiness. It is disconcerting how many of the tenets of Danish society are radically different from the US. However, it illuminates some elements to consider when evaluating per [...]

    22. Learned some interesting things about the Danish school system, but they're so utterly Danish there's almost no possibility of transfer to the US or anywhere else (which was the case for most of the items on this listicle that somehow is but isn't really a book). The various statistics shared are sometimes valuable, but would be infinitely more accessible in chart form, and the random personal stories are more often distracting than illuminating. I did very much like the font and the way the num [...]

    23. Cartea reprezintă o introducere succintă în cultura şi mentalitatea danezilor, dar atinge subiecte care îl priveşte pe orice om, indiferent de origine şi de cetăţenie. În general a fost o lectură facilă şi plăcută şi nicidecum superficială. Autoarea scrie pe o notă foarte pozităvă şi foarte hugge, ceea ce face cartea tocmai bună de citit în timpul navetei spre birou.

    24. This was a short book and a quick read, because the main idea is rather concise. The statistics slowed things down, but seemed necessary for filler. Nonetheless, interesting ideas here and some noteworthy anecdotes. Worth the read.

    25. Very academic. Not necessarily what I was expecting, but I found the section about Danes and trust to be very interesting indeed. Admittedly skipped a few sections, but perhaps will return to this book at a later date. Thanks for sharing your perspective, Malene!

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