The Almost Nearly Perfect People

Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia

    • 4.3 • 38 Ratings
    • $12.99
    • $12.99

Publisher Description

The Christian Science Monitor's #1 Best Book of the Year

A witty, informative, and popular travelogue about the Scandinavian countries and how they may not be as happy or as perfect as we assume, “The Almost Nearly Perfect People offers up the ideal mixture of intriguing and revealing facts” (Laura Miller, Salon).

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.

Travel & Adventure
January 27

Customer Reviews

micmol ,

Almost perfect + cold weather

Entertaining, well written, full of anecdotes and useful infos. The author made his point, but I still prefer the North just for a Summer vacation. :)

Fpiano ,

Pleasing to Read, But Some Reservations

I am something of a Scandi fan--contemporary books, great looking landscapes and was intrigued by the author's premise that the Nordic countries (Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Finland, Sweden) are very near to being great places but-----. I definitely agree with his feeling that most of the world has only a vague idea of the differences between these countries. All that info was very interesting and he is a very funny writer. The many surveys, indices and writings he sites to support his feelings about the countries are not directly connected to something that could easily be checked. A mention here, a claim there. Are these really trustworthy? Seems a little doubtful to me. GDP for instance is a controversial method of deciding economic health. I came away feeling a little disappointed. Do I really want to travel in those countries. Are the people a little too mediocre and boring? Are they drunken louts and bigots? Lazy welfare cases???

One Suitcase ,

Informative and hilariously funny at times

Informative and hilariously funny at times, Michael Booth’s, ‘The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia’ is an insightful read for those who have traveled, or ever wanted to travel, in Scandinavia.

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