The Almost Nearly Perfect People

  • by Michael Booth
  • Narrated by Ralph Lister
  • 13 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Journalist Michael Booth has lived among the Scandinavians for more than 10 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 audiobook, 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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What the Critics Say

"[A] quick and enjoyable read that is perfect for readers interested in deeper understanding of the cultures behind the headlines." (Library Journal)
"Narrator Ralph Lister does a splendid job covering this informative and often humorous look at Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, and Iceland.... Lister's sterling pronunciation of personal and place names as well as regional terms adds to the feeling of being in each distinct country." (AudioFile)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Interesting topic but very opinionated author

Scandinavia and the Nordic countries are fascinating. The author unfortunately is rather opinionated and very biased. There is a lot of British bias which makes it seem as if he is eager to criticize or find fault. It is strongly biased enough that it sometimes makes it frustrating to listen to, even though it is often also enjoyable. In particular the chapters about Iceland are judgmental and biased to the point of being unfair. Hi travel very frequently in the Nordic world and was excited to see a book about the politics and culture of this area. It was just too pedantic and judgmental. Enjoyable only because of the topic but frustrating at times because of the authors delight in fault finding even if it means purposely ignoring evidence and facts.
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- Arsenio Paez

Amazing! Anthropological, historical, entertaining

This is a deep dive into the Nordic/Scandinavian societies of Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Iceland. It goes through each country, compares, contrasts, and is all written by a cynical Brit who is surprised to hear that these countries are consistently ranked among the happiest in the world.

It weaves in enough data and information to be meaningful, but keeps it in the form of a story enough that you're entertained.
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- Jay Friedman

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-22-2015
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio