- Is there a breakfast item without which you cannot start the day?
Fruit muesli topped with lingonberries.
- Your newest book, Finding Sisu: In Search of Courage, Strength and Happiness the Finnish Way, has attracted wide publicity around the globe. Why do you think people are so interested in it?
I think that people around the world are really interested in Finland, as it ranks high in so many international quality of life comparisons – recently nabbing top spot in the 2018 World Happiness Report, for example – and because there are so many unique qualities here such as a safe capital city surrounded by the sea and lots of nature. Add to that the country’s much-lauded education system, a rich design and innovation heritage (to mention but a few elements), and there’s a real thirst for information about Finland and the Finnish lifestyle.
- When did you last show some true Finnish sisu yourself?
Good question! Last week I flew to New York for the launch of the American edition of my book and did 16 satellite radio interviews back to back – jet-lagged and on a few hours of sleep.
- What has been the most fascinating topic to write about during your career?
Other people’s stories – I’m endlessly curious about what makes people tick, how they overcome challenges, what makes them happy, and what makes them thrive.
- Who has been your most influential role model?
My eight-year-old son, who inspires me just about every day.
- You have been raised in Canada, with periods in New Zealand and the UK. What role does your Finnish heritage play in your life?
It has instilled in me a Nordic practicality of trying to live simply and sensibly – and with sisu.
- Where do you go to write?
I have a desk in a shared workspace with some other writers and journalists in the Kallio neighbourhood of Helsinki.
- What sole item would take with you to a deserted island?
A good book!
- What makes you lose track of time?
Being in nature at a remote cottage in the Finnish countryside.
- What is next on your to-do list?
The proposal for my next book.
*This article was originally published in August 2018.
Photo: Katja Tähjä