THE ALMOST NEARLY PERFECT PEOPLE

Behind The Myth of The Scandinavian Utopia

Michael Booth

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

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,

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

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.

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  • Picador USA
  • Paperback
  • February 2016
  • 400 Pages
  • 9781250081568

Buy the Book

$17.00

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About Michael Booth

Michael Booth is the author of five works of nonfiction, including The Almost Nearly Perfect People. His writing appears regularly in The Guardian, The Independent, The Times, The Telegraph, and Conde 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.

Author Website

Praise

“Booth’s extremely funny character analysis of Scandinavia (which includes the adjacent Arctic-Circle floaters, Iceland and Finland) gives an incisive yet comprehensive overview of each of these reputedly lucky lands…His chapters betray a clear affection for the icy region he calls home, and gradually allow a clearer identity for each country to emerge.”The New York Times Book Review

“Outrageously entertaining…Like members of a family, each of these five nations, despite a strong shared resemblance, has its own character, and Booth really is the guy you want to explain the differences to you. The Almost Nearly Perfect People offers up the ideal mixture of intriguing and revealing facts.”Laura Miller, Salon

“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.”The New Yorker