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About the book
  • Published: 1 April 2015
  • ISBN: 9780099546078
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 416
  • RRP: $19.99

The Almost Nearly Perfect People

Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia




'The next Bill Bryson.’ New York Times



Winner of the Best Narrative Travel Book Award from the British Guild of Travel Writers

The Danes are the happiest people in the world, and pay the highest taxes.

'Neutral' Sweden is one of the biggest arms manufacturers in the world.

Finns have the largest per capita gun ownership after the US and Yemen.

54 per cent of Icelanders believe in elves.

Norway is the richest country on earth.

5 per cent of Danish men have had sex with an animal.

Michael Booth has lived among the Scandinavians, on and off, for over ten years, perplexed by their many strange paradoxes and character traits and equally bemused by the unquestioning enthusiasm for all things Nordic and hygge that has engulfed the rest of the world.

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 each other. Along the way a more nuanced, often darker picture emerges of a region plagued by taboos, characterised by suffocating parochialism and populated by extremists of various shades.

'The next Bill Bryson.’ New York Times

Winner of the Best Narrative Travel Book Award from the British Guild of Travel Writers

  • Pub date: 1 April 2015
  • ISBN: 9780099546078
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 416
  • RRP: $19.99

About the Author

Michael Booth

Michael Booth is the author of five books, including the international bestseller, The Almost Nearly Perfect People, winner of the British Guild of Travel Writers award for Book of the Year, and Sushi and Beyond, which won the Guild of Food Writers award

Also by Michael Booth

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Praise for The Almost Nearly Perfect People

“Comprehensive and occasionally downright hilarious... I was laughing out loud”

Mariella Frostrup, Observer

“An affectionate and informative study of a region.”

Ian Critchley, Sunday Times

“[An] entertaining, warts-and-all, English expat look at the Nordic miracle.”

Daily Telegraph

“A thoroughly entertaining read, written brilliantly”

Bernard Porter, Literary Review

“A welcome rejoinder to those who cling to the idea of the Nordic region as a promised land...the substance, more often than not, is spot on.”

Financial Times

“Every page contains at least one extraordinary fact about one or other of the Nordic countries.”

Craig Brown, Mail on Sunday

“Booth is an assiduous excavator of entertaining facts.”

Damian Whitworth, The Times

“An enjoyable, funny romp through the region...[Booth’s] enthusiasm is contagious.”

Telegraph

“Booth does what the British do well. He writes irresistibly, ranging freely from serious, documented reportage to surprising conclusions... Simply a pleasure to read - 5 stars”

Berlingske

“His personal insights are what gives this book its charm and it is a well-researched, up-to-date and relevant survey of an extremely appealing topic.”

Rosanna Hawkins, We Love This Book

“The closest of this year’s books to manna from heaven - 5 stars”

Weekendavisen

“The real joy of the book is the accumulation of trivia: the fact that there are more saunas than cars in Finland, that in 1971 the Swedish army ordered 50,000 hairnets so its soldiers could indulge the fashion for men to have long hair.”

Alwyn Turner, Daily Telegraph

“The real joy of the book is the accumulation of trivia: the fact that there are more saunas than cars in Finland, that in 1971 the Swedish army ordered 50,000 hairnets so its soldiers could indulge the fashion for men to have long hair.”

Alwyn Turner, Daily Telegraph

“A gently humorous and fact-rich piece of reportage.”

New Statesman

“Humorous and very readable... If all those references to the wonders of the Nordic world ever become too irritating, this is the book to turn to.”

Douglas Osler, Scotsman

“Entertaining stuff and very readable.”

Susie Mesure, Independent on Sunday

“The book was funny, well written and to the point.”

Finnair Blue Wings Magazine

“Illuminating.”

Financial Times

“Highly entertaining… If your Nordic knowledge is limited to ABBA, snow and Vikings, read this book… The Almost Nearly Perfect People will give you new perspectives and questions to mull over the next time you hear of another lifestyle ranking topped by the Nordic nations.”

Anna Vesterinen, Rationalist

“If you want travel writing amply packed with laughs, look no farther than Michael Booth’s The Almost Nearly Perfect People…, which does for the Scandinavian countries what James Bond has done for fast cars – made them impossible to resist. It’s a ride not to miss.”

Tom Adair, Scotsman

“Filled with facts, and some very funny escapades, it’s a great guide to understanding the utopian myth of these seemingly “perfect” countries.”

Bill Bailey, Week

“If your Nordic knowledge is limited to ABBA, snow and Vikings, read this book. Even if you are a seasoned traveller, or one of the "humbly proud" inhabitants, The Almost Nearly Perfect People will give you new perspectives and questions to mull over.”

Anna Vesterinen, New Humanist


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