Having been married to a Danish national for well over a decade now, and having made many annual (and sometimes more often) trips back to her homeland, it was with equal parts curiosity and incredulity that I found myself buying this book. Curiosity because, while I've been to Denmark more often than most, especially in winter, I wanted to see what an actual Dane would write about the subject. I was also curious because said Dane works for an actual happiness think-tank, so there was undoubtedly some amount of legitimate study behind this book. On the other hand, I was incredulous to some degree, because as anyone will find with a simple search on "hygge", there is a literal plethora of tomes on the subject, even (astoundingly) a 3-volume collection! I figured if I was going to bother reading a book about a subject I already implicitly understood a lot about, it might as well be the "little book of" rather than an encyclopedia.
Before going any further, I do want to say that I think some people have vastly missed the point of such a book. I know it may sound elementary, but often times, actually reading the title of the book should be your first assessment of the content. In this case, we have "The little book of Hygge", so I find it both astonishing and at the same time unsurprising that a few folks have bemoaned its brevity and introductory nature. Forgive me for saying it, but if the title itself is more or less telling you that this is the quick and dirty run down on something, it seems particularly asinine to lament that it turns out not to be a dissertation on the subject. It never claimed to be, and if you thought it was, that's more an indictment of your own reading comprehension than the author's writing ability.
With that out of the way, and I'm sure a few readers' panties in a wad, the first thing I want to note is that this is definitely a quick read. I am quite certain that with a couple hours to kill, you could make it from cover to cover. The writing style is brisk, down to earth and genuinely lays out the concept of hygge in the way you might try to explain it when among friends. As I said, this is not a dissertation nor is it a chapter in an encyclopedia, but instead (and others have correctly pointed out) pretty much an extended magazine article of sorts. Is that a bad thing? Maybe if the context were different, sure, but this purports to be a quick guide and that's exactly what you get. The authenticity is there, and you can tell when you read about things like unscented candles being the status quo, and how the most popular manufacturers don't even offer scented products. If only that were true on this side of the pond, but alas, most Americans tend to be obsessed with stinky candles. Likewise, the references the ubiquitous mid-century light fixtures, advent candles and, most importantly, the predominance of wood furniture over composites or synthetics, all rings true to anyone that has spent any time in Denmark. Additionally, while many casual tourists likely skate right past, I think the regulars will appreciate the discussion of hygge in the Danish workplace as well. Spend enough time there, and you will realize that much of what is mentioned in the book is spot on. Another bit that made rang true was discussion of the Danish weather, in particular the fact that some Danes will tell you there are only the gray and green winters. If you've never heard that phrase from Danes discussing the weather with foreigners, you would be the first. All these examples speak to the authenticity of the author and the frankness with which he dispenses his brief but complete introduction to the concept of hygge.
Now, you might ask, what does my Danish wife, born and raised, have to say about this book? Believe it or not, here only real gripe was the recipes. I actually agree on this point, because while it may be a regional thing (I spend most of my time on Fyn (Funen) when in Denmark), nobody and I mean nobody I've ever met would make, much less eat, any of this stuff in order to get their hygge fix. The fact that I've never been offered any of the food or drink included in this book, after more than a decade of visiting on an at least annual basis and visiting both in the countryside and city (Odense) with the in-laws, should tell you something. Again, it may boil down to a regional bias, as I steer far clear of Copenhagen and Zealand in general, as well as Jutland (unless popping over into Germany to shop!), but if I had any axe to grind with this book, that would probably be the one and only thing.
All told, I actually think the book lives up to what it purports to be, and that's a simple, quick introduction to the subject of hygge. If that's what you're looking for, then you certainly won't be disappointed. On the other hand, if you're after some deep, PhD dissertation style treatise on the subject of hygge, from the foundations all the way to modern practices and with every aspect beaten to death for 750 pages, then no, this is not the one for you. But then again, if you expected that from something called "the little book of", you almost certainly have larger problems, reading comprehension being chief among them.