It is just so hard to pick a lifestyle philosophy these days. You tried feng shui but it messed up your chi, and you gave hygge a go but ended up singeing your woolly jumper on all the candles.
Now bookshops are about to be inundated by guides to a new craze, the Swedish concept of “lagom”, a philosophy with a Goldilocks-style message of moderation and balance and everything in “just the right amount”. The lists of titles due this year show publishers aiming to cash in on lagom as the latest lifestyle fad promising a decluttered and tranquil life.
Lagom is more minimalist and austere than the Danish philosophy of hygge. While hygge centres on cosiness and pleasure, evoking images of a snug night in with a hot cocoa and a roaring fire, lagom focuses on drinking less, boosting your efficiency, being green and living within your means.
Publishers have announced lists of titles to cash in on the Lagom trend
Lagom: The Swedish Art of Balanced Living, by Linnea Dunne, is due out in September. The blurb explains: “It is widely believed the word comes from the Viking term ‘laget om’, for when a mug of mead was passed around a circle and there was just enough for everyone to get a sip. But while the anecdote may hit the nail on the head, the true etymology points to an old form of the word ‘lag’, which means ‘law’.”
The Lagom Life: A Swedish Way of Living, by Elizabeth Carlsson, due in October, will include tips on topics “from our separation of work and home, to how we eat, [and] never depriving ourselves but not overindulging”. It will tell readers how to make a home more lagom in style and function and help them realise that “what’s good for the world can also be good for us, too”.
Cindy Richard, a publisher at CICO Books, told The Bookseller magazine: “Hygge became a very winter-orientated trend that was hijacked by candles and blankets. Lagom has an all encompassing philosophy for living — the art of balance — at a time when many of us are seeking balance in all aspects of our life.”
There will also be a lagom cookbook from Quadrille called Lagom: The Swedish Art of Eating Harmoniously, by Steffi Knowles-Dellner, creating food to “appeal to both heart and soul”.
The Little Book of Hygge, by Meik Wiking, has sold almost 200,000 copies in the six months since it was released, and publishers at Summersdale must be hoping The Little Book of Lagom by Jonny Jackson and Elias Larsen, due in August, will see similar success.
Twitter users appear unsure. Kate Forsythe wrote: “So lagom is the new hygge is it? Just goes to show that people will buy anything!”
THE GOLDILOCKS PHILOSOPHY
- Lagom is all about moderation, thriftiness and efficiency, avoiding extravagance in favour of having “just the right amount” of everything.
- Be environmentally conscious and produce as little waste as possible, including energy, food and water.
- Consume alcohol (and everything else) in moderation. Eat healthy, natural food. Do not leave yourself feeling deprived, but do not do anything to excess.
- Declutter your home, fit low-energy bulbs, buy sustainable goods. You might love lagom but make sure you don’t love it too much.