A Finnish journalist, now a naturalized American citizen, asks Americans to draw on elements of the Nordic way of life to nurture a fairer, happier, more secure, and less stressful society for themselves and their children.
Moving to America in 2008, Finnish journalist Anu Partanen quickly went from confident, successful professional to wary, self-doubting mess. She found that navigating the basics of everyday life - from buying a cell phone and filing taxes to education and childcare - was much more complicated and stressful than anything she encountered in her homeland. At first she attributed her crippling anxiety to the difficulty of adapting to a freewheeling new culture. But as she got to know Americans better, she discovered they shared her deep apprehension. To understand why life is so different in the US and Finland, Partanen began to look closely at both.
In The Nordic Theory of Everything, Partanen compares and contrasts life in the United States with life in the Nordic region, focusing on four key relationships - parents and children, men and women, employees and employers, and government and citizens. She debunks criticism that Nordic countries are socialist "nanny states", revealing instead that it is we Americans who are far more enmeshed in unhealthy dependencies than we realize. As Partanen explains step by step, the Nordic approach allows citizens to enjoy more individual freedom and independence than we do.
Partanen wants to open Americans' eyes to how much better things can be - to show her beloved new country what it can learn from her homeland to reinvigorate and fulfill the promise of the American dream - to provide the opportunity to live a healthy, safe, economically secure, upwardly mobile life for everyone. Offering insights, advice, and solutions, The Nordic Theory of Everything makes a convincing argument that we can rebuild our society, rekindle our optimism, and restore true freedom to our relationships and lives.
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This book is like a bad comedy routine repeated over and over again. "Americans are terrible at this and that. Nordic countries do it so much better." I am sure there are plenty of things that Nordic countries do better than we do, but it's not as black and white as the author makes it out to be. I would have loved to read a nuanced discussion about the differences between our cultures, but instead I get cheap stereotypes. We can do better.
Sadly, no. I really wanted to like this book.
Not her fault. She didn't have the best material to work with.
The author :)
I rarely feel compelled to post negative reviews but something about this book really bothered me. As someone who is doing OK but working hard to make ends meet and has a pregnant wife using our healthcare system, her generalizations about the American way of life didn't ring true to me and that really comprised her credibility.
- Grumpy S. Monkey "I'm a bear that likes honey, climbing trees, stealing picnic baskets and listening to audiobooks."
- Ms Elaine K Targett