The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia
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Picador 2015
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Street Date
01/27/2015
Language
English
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9781250061973
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APA Citation (style guide)

Booth, M. (2015). The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia. Picador.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Booth, Michael. 2015. The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia. Picador.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Booth, Michael, The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia. Picador, 2015.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Booth, Michael. The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia. Picador, 2015. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Grouped Work ID330694ca-299d-cd0d-c50a-d7eb47c4df8b
Full titlealmost nearly perfect people behind the myth of the scandinavian utopia
Authorbooth michael
Grouping Categorybook
Last Update2020-04-01 15:11:20PM
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      • bioText: Michael Booth is the author of multiple works of non-fiction, including The Almost Nearly Perfect People and Super Sushi Ramen Express. His writing appears regularly in The Guardian, The Independent, The Times, The Telegraph, and Condé Nast Traveler magazine, among many other publications globally. He is the Copenhagen correspondent for Monocle magazine and Monocle 24 radio, and travels regularly to give talks and lectures on the Nordic lands and their peculiar, nearly perfect people. He lives in Denmark with his wife and two sons.
      • name: Michael Booth
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shortDescription

NAMED THE #1 BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR BY THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, A WITTY, INFORMATIVE, AND POPULAR TRAVELOGUE ABOUT THE SCANDINAVIAN COUNTRIES AND HOW THEY MAY NOT BE AS HAPPY OR AS PERFECT AS WE ASSUME

Journalist Michael Booth has lived among the Scandinavians for more than ten years, and he has grown increasingly frustrated with the rose-tinted view of this part of the world offered up by the Western media. In this timely book he leaves his adopted home of Denmark and embarks on a journey through all five of the Nordic countries to discover who these curious tribes are, the secrets of their success, and, most intriguing of all, what they think of one another.
Why are the Danes so happy, despite having the highest taxes? Do the Finns really have the best education system? Are the Icelanders as feral as they sometimes appear? How are the Norwegians spending their fantastic oil wealth? And why do all of them hate the Swedes? In The Almost...

isOwnedByCollections
True
title
The Almost Nearly Perfect People
fullDescription

NAMED THE #1 BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR BY THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, A WITTY, INFORMATIVE, AND POPULAR TRAVELOGUE ABOUT THE SCANDINAVIAN COUNTRIES AND HOW THEY MAY NOT BE AS HAPPY OR AS PERFECT AS WE ASSUME

Journalist Michael Booth has lived among the Scandinavians for more than ten years, and he has grown increasingly frustrated with the rose-tinted view of this part of the world offered up by the Western media. In this timely book he leaves his adopted home of Denmark and embarks on a journey through all five of the Nordic countries to discover who these curious tribes are, the secrets of their success, and, most intriguing of all, what they think of one another.
Why are the Danes so happy, despite having the highest taxes? Do the Finns really have the best education system? Are the Icelanders as feral as they sometimes appear? How are the Norwegians spending their fantastic oil wealth? And why do all of them hate the Swedes? In The Almost Nearly Perfect People Michael Booth explains who the Scandinavians are, how they differ and why, and what their quirks and foibles are, and he explores why these societies have become so successful and models for the world. Along the way a more nuanced, often darker picture emerges of a region plagued by taboos, characterized by suffocating parochialism, and populated by extremists of various shades. They may very well be almost nearly perfect, but it isn't easy being Scandinavian.

sortTitle
Almost Nearly Perfect People Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia
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reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: The New Yorker
      • content:

        "Booth's project is essentially observational; it aspires to a comic genre that might be called Euro-exotica. The form was well established by the time Twain published The Innocents Abroad in 1869, and it has been carried through the twentieth century by writers as varied as S. J. Perelman and Peter Mayle....In this sense, Booth's book is as much about Anglo-American power as it is about the Nordic way."
      • premium: False
      • source: Entertainment Weekly
      • content: "Part travelogue, part cultural history, Michael Booth's book about Nordic countries is crammed with some truly bizarre facts."
      • premium: False
      • source: The Daily Beast (Hot Reads)
      • content: "The result of Booth's ethnographic snooping is this insightful, entertaining and very funny book. Booth also happens to be a terrific ambassador to the often insular and sometimes baffling behavior of the Nordic peoples....Anthropological research has never been this much fun."-- Chicago Tribune

        "A lively exploration that's part ethnography and part travel guide...at its core, The Almost Nearly Perfect People is driven by genuine curiosity and appreciation for a singular part of the world most Americans know very little about--and could stand to learn a thing or two from."
      • premium: False
      • source: The Huffington Post
      • content: "It is said that most people can't tell one Nordic country from another. Maybe so, but what they do know is that these nations are exceptional. This collective exceptionalism is worth studying up close and Michael Booth's book is a good place to begin. He writes with irony and charm and in the end, much affection for his adopted home in Denmark."
      • premium: False
      • source: Publishers Weekly
      • content: "[Booth's] dry wit permeates the book...He has written an immersive, insightful, and often humorous examination of a most curious culture."
      • premium: False
      • source: Kirkus Reviews
      • content: "Booth offers an affectionate, observant, engaging look at Scandinavia, where trust, modesty and equality proudly prevail."
      • premium: False
      • source: The Telegraph (London)
      • content: "An enjoyable, funny romp through the region."
      • premium: False
      • source: The Observer (UK)
      • content: "I laughed out loud . . . A lively and endearing portrait of our friends in the north, venerated globally for their perfectly balanced societies but, it turns out, as flawed as the rest of us--or at least only almost perfect."
      • premium: False
      • source: The New York Post
      • content: "Sorry, liberals, Scandinavian countries aren't utopias."
      • premium: False
      • source: Financial Times
      • content: "A rollicking travelogue . . . [and] a welcome rejoinder to those who cling to the idea of the Nordic region as a promised land."
      • premium: False
      • source: The Independent (UK)
      • content: "Entertaining stuff and very readable."
      • premium: False
      • source: The Times (London)
      • content: "Booth is an assiduous excavator of entertaining facts."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        November 24, 2014
        In his latest cultural exploration, British journalist and travel writer Booth (Eat Pray Eat) covers the countries that invariably dominate the top ten lists of best/healthiest/most egalitarian places to live: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. Beginning with his adopted home of Denmark, Booth sets out to address whether the quality of life in Nordic countries is really so high, and if so, why. He describes the Danes’ relaxed attitude toward work and their almost aggressive egalitarianism. The latter is a trait shared by many of their Nordic neighbors and epitomized by the Jante Law (a Danish ten commandments of sorts), which states that one shouldn’t think he’s better than anyone else and that no one should be made fun of. That’s tough for Booth, whose dry wit permeates the book, but he skillfully avoids mockery (he treats Icelanders’ persistent belief in elves with restraint). Norway’s “decentralized population of small, isolated communities speaking hundreds of regional dialects, coupled with a heightened respect for their natural surroundings, are two of the keys to understanding the Norwegians,” Booth writes. But he also discovers some chinks in the utopian armor: isolationism, persistent racism, a distrust of foreigners, and growing fissures in a classless society (as more and more Danish parents steer their children toward private schools, for example). Booth has written an immersive, insightful, and often humorous examination of a most curious culture.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        December 1, 2014
        A shrewd look at Nordic life.From Denmark, where he has been living for the past 10 years, British journalist Booth (Eat, Pray, Eat, 2011, etc.) set out on a jaunt through Scandinavia to investigate questions that mystified him: Why are the Danes, Finns, Swedes, Icelanders and Norwegians considered to be so "brilliant and progressive?" What accounts for the alleged Scandinavian miracle of economic and social equality? Are Danes really the happiest people in the world? In this bright, witty cultural critique, Booth concludes that Scandinavia's success is no myth. Despite "historical skeletons" in some countries' closets, irresponsible financial decisions that led to Iceland's bankruptcy, virulent right-wing constituencies, and homogeneity that results in societies "a little too safe and dull, and insular," Scandinavia, the author believes, truly is an "enviably rich, peaceful, harmonious, and progressive place." In Denmark, paying the highest taxes in the world (72 percent in total) is seen as a contribution to the social good. Oil has made Norway the richest country-outpacing even Saudi Arabia-and sound fiscal stewardship funds generous social programs. In Finland, high status for teachers results in the best students competing for places in education programs and, consequently, excellent schools nationwide. Booth sees high-quality, free education as "the bedrock of Nordic exceptionalism." Though he celebrates the region's achievements, Booth is clear about the challenges ahead: in Denmark, fostering initiative in a society that extols thrift, caution and "sacred, ordinary mediocrity"; in Norway, maintaining "incentive to work, study, and innovate" in a society where one-third of working-age Norwegians "do nothing at all...proportionally the largest number in Europe." Blithely reporting on the many quirks in dress (Norwegian dirndls), food (an odiferous Icelandic fish specialty) and excessive drinking (everywhere) that he encountered on his journeys, Booth offers an affectionate, observant, engaging look at Scandinavia, where trust, modesty and equality proudly prevail.

        COPYRIGHT(2014) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        August 1, 2014
        Why are the highly taxed Danes so happy? Is the Finnish school system really so hot? These are some of the questions journalist Booth asked himself as he traveled through the five Nordic countries, puzzled after living more than a decade in Denmark by the uniformly glowing press that Scandinavia now gets. "Strenuously humorous" (the "Guardian").

        Copyright 2014 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

subtitle
Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia
popularity
577
publisher
Picador
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