Monthly Archives: August 2017

Book Review – The Little Book of Hygge

The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living
by Meik Wiking, 2016

Review by Maria:

How do people who spend more than half the year in dark, cold, wet weather consistently rank among the top countries for “happiest citizens”? The Little Book of Hygge took us through steps the Danes take to keep their sanity all year around: spend lots of quality time with close friends and family, treat yourself frequently (whether with a chocolate, bath, picnic, barbeque – anything works), and create cozy, warm, safe spaces into which to retreat (think candles, blankets, soft lighting, and nooks to curl up in). The author, a researcher for the Happiness Research Institute (headquartered in Denmark, of course), boils it down to creating “everyday happiness”. We listened to this on audiobook on the last part of our drive home from New Mexico (the author, who narrates it, has a very hygge-ly voice); when we got home I immediately lit candles and we lowered the lights. It’s a short, quick read and worth picking up, especially for anyone who endures winter.

Book Review – The Switch

The Switch: How solar, storage and new tech means cheap power for all
by Chris Goodall, 2016

Good up-to-date description of solar prices, technology, and potential. Covers the potential to get almost all of our power from the sun. Discusses the drawbacks and barriers, including what happens when the sun doesn’t shine. Batteries for short-term storage. An interesting idea that I hadn’t known about is power to gas for long term storage. Basically, use hydrolysis to generate hydrogen from water, and combine that with carbon-based molecules (either drawn from the air, see Climeworks, or captured from existing industry/power generation) to form energy-rich gases like methane. The gas can then be stored in existing infrastructure to be burned over dark winters in the northern parts of Europe and Canada where they don’t get enough sunlight to run entirely on solar power. Good read, with highlights of some early-stage companies trying to bring about a solar-powered future.