A Man Called Ove


A grumpy old man with rock-solid convictions about how one should live their life has his beliefs challenged when his wife dies and he faces his own mortality. While he tries to kill himself and join his wife in the heavens, his plans are interrupted by his new neighbors. Through series of funny life events they manage to soften his character and adopt him as a grandpa for their daughters. Eventually a short-tempered neighborhood sod turns into a helpful grandpa-like character giving out wisdoms and a helpful hand to all his neighbors.

My Main Takeaways

  • Give grumpy people their fair chance. Maybe they just need some time and attention.
  • Always keep a little bit of open mind or your hardcore convictions will make you miss out on the wonders of life.
  • Learn the basic handyman skills, they will make your adult life easier.
  • Don’t rely on there being more time for you to spend with your loved ones.
  • Routine is the default state keeping one sane, but short bursts of chaos is what makes life worth living.


The book puts in great perspective the value of living by hard rules and strong beliefs with the life governed by the spontaneity of the moment. Although the former one makes strong, independent individuals, the latter one makes profound interpersonal connections and builds one’s social skills. It also makes one more adaptable which is an important quality for an enjoyable life.

Moreover, the story points out how strangers can impact your life out of nowhere (both in good and bad ways). As well as how quickly a seeming stranger can become an integral part of your life - whether you want it, or not. I think that’s a nice feature of life that isn’t actively appreciated much because the boundry between being a stranger and being (at least a temporary) friend is so easy to cross.