Book Review: The Cozy Life — Why Rich Puts Cinnamon in His Coffee

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Dear Penny,

I drink a lot of coffee. When I say a lot, I mean 2.5 cups minimum before 8am. That’s just a warm up for the day. Blame it on kids, work, habit, or addiction. I’m ok with it, because I love every sip. And I love my Le Creuset french press in Marseille blue.

So, I’m not exaggerating when I say that the book The Cozy Life has instantly and dramatically improved my existence. You see, I now add a pinch of cinnamon to my morning cup o’ joe. YES, CINNAMON!

The fragrance of cinnamon, especially in winter, epitomizes this Danish idea of hygge (pronounced hoo-gah) for me, evoking comfort, warmth, and and a touch of nostalgia. Think Christmas morning in comfy pajamas and pancakes on the stove. Think cookies and wine in front of the fireplace. Am I exaggerating? No. Cinnamon in my coffee does all this.

Despite growing up in the Midwest among Scandinavians, hygge living doesn’t come naturally to me. I’m a modern man. I work, I chase the kids, I take the smartphone to the bathroom. I don’t live in a close-knit community. I don’t carve wood for fun.

But after reading this simple, short book, I get my hygge going almost daily. I take a breath, slow down, hug the kids, and enjoy simple pleasures.

I found the connection between hygge and minimalism interesting — the book said hygge is about “being, not having.” Would you consider yourself a minimalist? The book even mentioned frugality and thriftiness, so that sounds like you.

That said, I think the spirit of hygge transcends frugality. Example: My family went to Greece over the holidays, and we stayed in a nice hotel called the Aristi Mountain Resort, which was close to rustic Greek villages and beautiful scenery. The picture of the stone bridge on our website was taken (by me) in the area. 

We “bought” that experience, you could say, but we certainly felt some family hygge there. Our hotel suite had 2 fireplaces, restocked daily with fresh kindling. It was cozy. Can’t that be hygge too? If hygge is about being, why does it matter if it’s on the cheap?

Luxury Greek Hygge

I think the definition of “community” is changing in our modern world. I’m more of a nomad, but I become part of a community wherever I am. We had a very cozy Thanksgiving this year with expat friends. Hygge or not hygge? Would you say you feel community hygge where you are, or just immediate family hygge?

Finally, what’s your take on the seasons? Do you feel different in winter than you do in summer? I wonder if hygge is mostly a winter phenomenon. I probably won’t want that cinnamon in my coffee in July, and in the fall I crave pumpkin spice like nobody’s business.

I’ve gotten off track and I don’t mean to nitpick, because I loved the book. I appreciate when a book makes me ponder various assumptions about life, and for the most part The Cozy Life has convinced me to get my hygge on as much as possible. I’d recommend it to anyone.



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