Publisher: Penguin, 2019.
Link to online store *
From the publisher’s website:
‘A lovely book to have in your home and your lives.’ Chris Evans, Breakfast Show
Nunchi (noon-chee): eye measure. The subtle art of gauging other people’s thoughts, and feelings in order to build trust, harmony and connection.
Why did she get promoted? Why does the party only start when he walks in? And why do they always catch the bartender’s eye? It sounds like they’re all experts in the art of nunchi, even if they don’t know it.
Nunchi is the guiding principle of Korean life, but anyone can use it: it’s the art of reading a room, your way of understanding what other people are thinking and feeling, and using that to get ahead.
Korean parents believe that teaching their children nunchi is as important as teaching them to cross the road safely. With great nunchi, it feels like the world is on your side. Without it, you might get hit by something you never saw coming.
If you’re thinking ‘not another Eastern fad, Marie Kondo already made me throw half my clothes away’, don’t worry: it’s not a fad. Koreans have been using nunchi to overcome slings and arrows for over 5000 years.
The great news is that anyone can hone their nunchi, immediately: all you need are your eyes and ears. In everything, from finding love to excelling at work, improving your nunchi will help you to open doors you never knew existed.
I have a feeling that Korean Nunchi will have less staying power than Danish Hygge, but Hong’s book is reasonably fun while it lasts. It’s a quick read, and you can get the gist of it by reading her New York Times article on the topic. But the book at times feels as if it has been written by an SEO consultant: the relevant keyword appears that many times on the page, rather labouring the point. An unscientific straw poll of Koreans in London confirms that nunchi is indeed a Thing in Korea, but that probably it’s an even bigger Thing in Japan. Nevertheless, we can all learn from the sensible advice that you should assess the mood of the room before jumping into a situation with your size twelves.
Entry on Goodreads.com here.
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