European Book Days Vietnam: Swedish ‘lagom’ book promoted

The Swedish book ‘Lagom: The Swedish Secret of Living Well’ by Lola A. Åkerström was handpicked among works from ten European countries (including also Denmark and Finland) for the European Book Days 2018 in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

The vivid book festival was full of activities for book lovers including book presentations, readings, workshops, exhibition, films, quiz game, prizes and big discounts on European books at the shops on Book street HCMC!

During the festival, in Hanoi organized since 201, and in Ho Chi Minh City since 2017, the Swedish Ambassador to Vietnam Pereric Högberg signed the book, for which he had written the foreword.

“As a book reader myself, it is my great pleasure to provide a foreword for this Swedish book titled Lagom, published by Tri Viet Book for Vietnamese book lovers on the occasion of 2018 European Literature Days taking place in Vietnam,” stated the Ambassador.

Sweden is often being found in the top of the world’s indexes on innovation, equality, competitiveness and sustainability. Aside this it also has something unique that other countries do not have – the concept of’ lagom’.

“Lagom doesn’t have a direct translation in English but it means not too little and not too much, kind of ‘adequate’ or ‘sufficient’, ‘just the right amount’.

“The word lagom would find its origins in the time of the Vikings. The Vikings drank from the same cup, ate from the same dish so they had to make sure there was enough for everyone. It was expected that they would drink exactly the right amount for them and leave the right amount for everyone else. Lagom is two words together; lag (team) and om (around).

“Lagom differs from person to person, because what makes me feel good might be different for you. However, the broad understanding is that when something is “just right”, it is lagom. Everything can be lagom – you can have a lagom amount of meatballs, live in a lagom house, drive a lagom car and have your heating set to a lagom temperature. In other words, it is the art of being satisfied with the right amount – just good enough to enjoy life but not over-the-top.

“For many Swedes, it captures something essential about Swedish culture as well. The Swedish coffee break – Fika – is a nice example of lagom: Swedes won’t work more or longer than strictly necessary and they take a break to have a cup of coffee and chat with friends and colleagues. We realize that balance – not too much, not too little – is an important factor to efficiency, creativity and happiness.

“I believe lagom and sustainability go hand in hand. You can be lagom by keeping track of your spending, or upcycling furniture, or consciously reducing your environmental impact on the world; reuse, reduce and recycle rather than engage in a throwaway culture. Do you really need 50 pairs of shoes? (Well, not really…) Rather than burning yourself out with a 60-hour working week and then getting sick, lagom encourages balance and living somewhere in the middle. What’s lagom for CO2? Our understanding is that only as much as the ecological system on earth can absorb and no more. Lagom allow for more than enough but also set the limit,” stated the Swedish ambassador.

Lagom also encourages a healthy life balance, he said.” This system of self-restraint has allowed Sweden to become a democratic, open and equal society, a place where unions work harmoniously with industrialists, where people take their work seriously, work hard but not overdo it. It is also the Swedish modern welfare society known all over the world, which is built on sharing resources so everyone gets a ‘lagom’ amount.”

“If you look into the business sector, it is the balance between maximizing your own internal strengths and learning from outside. In a export-dependent nation like Sweden, companies need to expose themselves to the wider world to understand the needs of others and to draw conclusions from others’ successes and failures. Many have also been quick to return and apply those lessons in practice. That takes courage and shows Swedes are entrepreneurial and creative.

“I do hope you will find inspiration and tips by reading this book. It may be about moderation and balance: Finding a balance within your everyday life so that you can find better enjoyment to benefit personally, emotionally, physically but also our communities and our environment can balance more from us of how we live. It is definitely a value as we live in the world of a bigger, faster and more expensive life, continued Pereric Högberg.

Sources: Pereric Högberg, Embassy of Sweden in Hanoi

About Joakim Persson

Freelance business and lifestyle photojournalist

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