The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia

Michael Booth


The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia

The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia

  • Title: The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia
  • Author: Michael Booth
  • ISBN: 9780224089623
  • Page: 206
  • Format: Paperback



Journalist Michael Booth has lived among the Scandinavians for than ten years and 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, thJournalist Michael Booth has lived among the Scandinavians for than ten years and 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, 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 nuanced, often darker picture emerges of a region plagued by taboos, characterized by suffocating parochialism, and populated by extremists of various shades.


Recent Comments "The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia"

This is a book about Scandinavia - judged time and time again by various polls to be the happiest and most satisfying place to live in the world.Yet we British ignore it. I came to this book with high levels of ignorance. It made me realise how much we look south - towards France, Italy, Spain and Greece. We want sunshine and olives, and Mediterranean waves lapping at our feet. We don't give a hoot about the northern lands, and their strange cold habits.Well, more fool us. This book is fascinati [...]

This is my new favorite book, and I'm excited to start pestering others to read it.The Almost Nearly Perfect People is my idea of a perfect read, with its elements of travelogue, history, anthropological and sociological observations, all peppered with British humor. A blurb quote on my copy described it as "Bill Bryson goes to Scandinavia," which is a good description.Michael Booth is a British journalist who lives in Denmark. One day he saw a story in the newspaper about the Danes being ranked [...]

I listened to the audio of The Almost Nearly Perfect People. It was entertaining, interesting and thought provoking. Michael Booth is a Brit who has moved to Denmark, as his wife wanted to return to her home country. From this vantage point, Booth sets out to write a book about the people of Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Norway and Sweden, and to explore what makes their lives different, better, worse and odd, compared to each other and especially compared to the rest of the world. His starting poi [...]

I am a Scandinavian who was based in Norway for more than sixty years, this book shows that I'm not even close to perfect.But this book is: It is good written, it is funny and it even gave a Norwegian new insight(!).It is both a critique and hymn to the supposedly the happiest, most trusting and successfull people on this planet.I always loved Denmark, I even planned to move to Copenhagen once upon a time. After having read this book I'm glad I didn't. I learned that the Norwegians are even more [...]

I really wanted this book to be good.And I am SO mad that it was terrible!Ugh.This is exactly the topic that I want to read about--why do we have this pervasive envy of all things Scandinavian? Is it deserved? What are the Scandinavian countries really like, are they really paradise on earth? What aren't we seeing through our worship of them?This book looks like it will answer these questions, but it answers none. It is a poorly written blog post of a book. "Here is a personal anecdote about the [...]

I am still laughing out loud here, having just finished this book.As a typical Finn, i enjoyed reading about how a foreigner sees my fellow countrymen, as well as having a good laugh about it, but this book was in fact much more. It is an insight into the Nordics (country by country) by an Englishman who has lived 10+ years in Denmark and set on a mission across the Nordics to understand these societiesThe book is hilarious, and drills into the national stereotypes, jokes about them and tries to [...]

"I'm from Norway/Sweden/Denmark/Iceland/Finland, don't you know WHERE THAT IS?" *Cue offended eye rolling*Yes, we're all been there. At some point in our lives we all learned a valuable lesson, even some Europeans don't know where our countries are situated. If you're from any of the Nordic countries, you'll most likely have been asked one or more of the following questions more than once:1. Norway? Isn't that the capital of Sweden?2. All Swedes are blond, so why is your hair brown?3. Denmark? O [...]

A set of observations on each of the Scandinavian countries, including Iceland by a journalist married to Danish woman. An interesting as a personal view or set of observations but without much background in history or sociology. A bit pedestrian, especially that some of the views are strictly personal without too much support in facts or wider analysis. Still managed to get through 80% of the text but run out of patience when reading about Sweden - the last country discussed. Apart from Malmo a [...]

This is an absolutely engrossing look at the people and societies that make up the Nordic countries. I should probably come clean and admit that I have a deep fondness for this part of the world, a fondness that in the case of Finland probably extends into pure adulation. I have spent happy times in the various countries, love the films, avidly read the books and cheer on the sportsmen. If the whole place wasn't so very expensive to visit, and if speaking/hearing the languages didn't so often gi [...]

An interesting tour through the five Nordic countries of Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Finland, and Sweden. Only Denmark, Norway, and Sweden are technically "Scandinavian" and they're thick as thieves if you consider their history (which none of us has, truth be told).Michael Booth goes with the winsome tone of a happy-go-lucky, sometimes wise-guy traveler. His topics are odd ones at times. For instance, in Denmark there's a chapter called "Hot Tub Sandwiches," in Iceland, one called "Elves" (yes, m [...]

My one sentence review: A churlish Bill Bryson emulator comments on Scandinavia .Okay, I'll add more. :-) Even though I have never travelled there (yet) I must admit a fascination with Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Finland and Sweden, especially their cultures and political structures. Maybe the interest is partially genetic or perhaps the ideas associated with "egalitarianism" and a "welfare state" having a positive connotation is intriguing to me (versus how those concepts are viewed in the US).Ba [...]

The narrator is by turns startled, amazed and britishly shocked as he recounts his Mr. Bean-like antics in the Nordic countries. If culture be expressed and passed on through stories, as a journalist, Michael Booth strikes a good balance between analysis and anecdotes. The narrator offers a general, simple (perhaps simplistic) bird's-eye view of Nordic cultures, as well as an accessible take on thorny issues from many perspectives.Alas, this is how I imagine people felt when they learned there w [...]

Michael Booth is a British journalist living in Denmark and he's determined to figure out what makes the Scandinavians so special. What is a myth and what is truth? Is anything true? Is anything a myth? Moore takes it upon himself to solve the mysteries of the North; heading out to an adventure that takes him from offices of politicians to Santa Claus' home in the middle of summer.As someone who is Scandinavian, this book definitely appealed to me because well, it's always nice to see how folks [...]

“Where to Invade Next” becomes almost giddily optimistic once Mr. Moore visits Norway to investigate that country’s prisons; the maximum sentence is 21 years. Even convicted murderers are housed in the equivalent of small Manhattan studio apartments equipped with televisions and cookware, even sharp utensils. No one is locked in solitary confinement, prisoners have a lot of mobility and the principal punishment is separation from the rest of society."in:nytimes/2015/12/23/movBUTNorwegian M [...]

I abandoned this book because it seems the author's point of view was negatively established prior to writing it. Dude doesn't dig the Scandinavian way of life, and that seemed like the thesis statement for the book. If I wanted to read someone's complaints and twisted judgements, I'd find some right wing blog.

Interesting premise, but too long and repetitive in nature to hold my interest until the end.

The World currently finds itself besotted with all things Nordic - our prime time TV features Danish detectives, we are in awe of Swedish minimalist design, Scandinavian cuisine is all the rage in New York and Educationalists from around the Globe traipse around the Finnish school system on a weekly basis to marvel at and pay homage to what is touted as the World's best. Seemingly we can't get enough of what this previously ignored frigid corner of Northern Europe has to offer.Michael Booth, a l [...]

(Full disclosure: book abandoned on page 76 [out of 416 pages].) Dry. I was expecting an engaging book in the vein of Bill Bryson's work, but Michael Booth is--at least in the first 76 pages--preoccupied with tax issues and finely detailed history of Denmark (the book's first chapter). It reads like a textbook.

I was under no delusion that the Nordic countries were utopias. There's some endemic racism, for example. But it surely can't hurt for us (Americans) to strive to be more like Norway or Finland! The author of this book, a Brit living in Denmark, sets out to dispel those impressions of Scandinavian utopias, but Booth happens to truly and unabashedly love these countries too. So he mixes the myth-busting with fascinatingly detailed discussions of Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Finland, and Sweden - and [...]

I should state off the bat that this won't be an objective review. I know the author and I have done plenty of writing myself about the foibles and fortes of the Danes, my hosts and neighbors for the past four years. But in The Almost Nearly Perfect People, Michael Booth has written something more comprehensively informative and hilariously opinionated than I could possibly hope to do about my adopted country. If that weren't enough, he did the same for Denmark's four Nordic neighbors: Sweden, N [...]

(view spoiler)[ Bettie's Books (hide spoiler)]NB On sites that allow 1/2 stars this is showing at half a star.

Several revellers have climbed on to the tables and are dancing gingerly, but with enthusiasm, arms in the air, silly hats akimbo, their shirts still tucked firmly into their shorts. It is time for me to crawl off to a darkened room.This is Sweden.This is so not Sweden.Let's be honest, this isn't going to be a review. It'll be a long list of my favorites quotes (and, because there needs to be some constructive criticism, I've put that in the end for anyone who's interested). Also, most of the qu [...]

Booth's look at the politics and culture of Scandinavia is highly funny and readable. What I found most interesting is how much of what we take for granted as a fact of life is really dependent a nation's culture. In Denmark and Sweden, for example, doing or saying anything that might suggest you are better than someone else in any way is considered incredibly rude. People do not talk about winning awards or how well their kids are doing in school. Booth spends a lot of time talking about this a [...]

The question of everyone's mind these days seems to be: What's so great about Scandinavia? Michael Booth, an Englishman living in Denmark, decides to explore this question and ventures out to Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, and Denmark and tries to put his finger on what makes the people of these countries so happy. Booth manages to take a close look at the social nets in place, the comprehensive health care systems, the amazing educational systems, and the Scandinavians' perceived happiness a [...]

Booth is a Brit married to a Dane and resides in his wife's homeland. Here he decides to explore the myth that Scandinavia and the people who live there are perfect, affluent and happier than the rest of the world. I found this really interesting and I feel like I learned a lot of things too. Would recommend this to anyone interested in the Nordic lands.

Could not finish this. I was really disappointed with how the author conflated "happiness" and "well being" with outward, public displays of joy. The author conflates these two different things for the effect of entertainment rather than providing an honest representation.

funny at times, definitely enlightening and gets all the stereotypes covered!

Un saggio informativo, divertente, lucido e pieno di tante curiosità, che possono soddisfare chiunque abbia anche un solo vago interesse sull'argomento trattato, dunque il cosiddetto miracolo scandinavo, ciò che rende i paesi nordici apparentemente un'oasi di perfezione, felicità e soddisfazione.L'impostazione della narrazione è di facilissimo approccio, in quanto le varie sezioni, ognuna dedicata ad uno dei paesi nordici (per la cronaca, sono presi in considerazione Danimarca, Norvegia, Sve [...]

Americans tend to think of the five Nordic countries as one bland, blond bloc of pop songs, crime novels, and cheap modern furniture. But Michael Booth peels back the pickled onion to carefully study the surprisingly varied facets of Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and Finland - from their oil riches, uber-high tax rate, societal pressure to blend in and not offend, love-hate relationship with alcohol, problems with immigration and right-wing nationalism, and fixation with how the other countr [...]

I do not know when the sea change occurred in non-fiction that gave rise to the strong narrative voice;when I’d pondered this issue before I had given credit to the popularity of Game Change and Too Big To Fail. We could start a whole chicken-and-egg thing, though; if those are even the first two (which is unlikely), why did they get the greenlight? Whatever the cause—and, publishers, I would certainly read a first-hand account of the rise of strong narrator presence in non-fiction—I am th [...]


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    Published :2018-08-02T17:46:22+00:00