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Review: Living Lagom: A Swedish Guide to a Balanced Life

Book cover for Living Lagom: A Swedish Guide to a Balanced Life Living Lagom: A Swedish Guide to a Balanced Life by Maya Thoresen.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐
Duration: 1 hr 27 mins.

Living Lagom is a comprehensive introductory guide to the Swedish principle of Lagom - the notion of having "just enough" to achieve a balanced, peaceful, fulfilling life.

I enjoyed learning about the idea of 'Living Lagom' as it was a philosophy with which I was previously unfamiliar. It was interesting to hear how it relates to - and differs from - other practices such as Zen and the currently-popular Danish pursuit of Hygge. "Hygge is an activity or state of being, and Lagom is a view on life and a way of living." Both derive from a desire for balance, moderation, and satisfaction.

I found this audiobook to be a well-rounded approach to imbuing one's life with a greater sense of balance. As well as an introduction to the history, etymology, and cultural implementation of Lagom, the book also covers Zen principles, decluttering, mindfulness, yoga, the benefits of being in nature, the importance of alone-time, gardening, and diet as ways to improve health and find contentment and peace of mind.

The audiobook also contains several healthy, filling, recipes for things such as granola, oatmeal porridge, pasta carbonara, and lots of ideas for healthy snacks. The purpose of tgese being to help the listener understand that Lagom is a perspective that can be carried into every area of one's life, as that sense of balance and satisfaction is as important in our physical health as it is in our mental wellbeing or our home environment.

Unfortunately this book suffers from quite a few linguistic problems. The worst of these being that it confuses 'content' with "contempt" which is awkward when the theme of the book is satisfaction/contentment and we are instead told that the Swedish are very contemptuous! I'm surprised that the narrator didn't raise this issue with the author so that it could be corrected in the audiobook recording, as she trips over the word each time and it is quite a significant error given how antithetical contempt is to contentment.

The English is generally a little awkward at times, with lots of tense changes and clumsy phrases and I think this contributes to the narrator's occasional hesitancy. The narrator, Sarah DaMetz, has a pleasant voice but a stilted delivery and can often be heard taking a deep breath when reading, which is more commonly found in narrators with far fewer recordings to their name. I have listened to an audiobook DaMetz narrated before and do not recall the issues being quite as pronounced.

I love the cover art for this audiobook, and how nicely it ties in to other books in the series.

I think this is a useful audiobook for anyone who is looking for an introduction to the principle of Lagom, with practical tips on how to incorporate the perspective into their own lives. The 21 challenges at the end of the book are a particularly helpful guide for those who want to make their lives more Lagom.

*I received this audiobook free of charge in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.

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