The Almost Nearly Perfect People Book Summary - The Almost Nearly Perfect People Book explained in key points
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The Almost Nearly Perfect People summary

Michael Booth

Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia

4.4 (34 ratings)
22 mins

Brief summary

The Almost Nearly Perfect People by Michael Booth is a witty and insightful account of the Nordic countries, exploring their cultures, strengths, flaws, and contradictions.

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    The Almost Nearly Perfect People
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    The Nordic countries have some of the best wealth and gender equality in the world.

    Did you know that the first-ever parliament was founded in Iceland? Or that Finnish has no gender, and Denmark is basically one big middle class? Could it be that the Scandinavian region is one of the most equal places in the world?

    Well, according to the Gini coefficient, it is!

    The Gini coefficient, developed in 1921 by Italian statistician Corrado Gini, is a statistical method that measures the wealth distribution of a nation. It records the range of income differences from the richest to the poorest, with the smallest divergences indicating higher equality. And although the rankings change every year, the five Nordic countries, along with Japan, almost always place in the top six. In other words, the income differences in these countries are some of the smallest in the world.

    The author believes that this even economic playing field might be an inheritance from Scandinavians’ Viking ancestors, who, when they weren’t butchering and pillaging, were supposedly some of the most egalitarian people in history.

    But Scandinavians aren’t only remarkable for their wealth distribution; they also have some of the greatest gender equality in the world.

    Back in 2010, Norway, Sweden, Iceland and Denmark were all ranked by the nonprofit organization Save the Children in the top five “best places to be a mother.” In addition, in 2011, Newsweek also ranked Iceland and Sweden as the top two places to be a woman in the world.

    In fact, Swedish men are supposedly the least chauvinistic in the world, to the point that one former Miss Sweden controversially said that they were all “nappy-changing sissies.”

    Meanwhile, Finnish women won the right to vote in 1906, making them the first women in Europe to be granted suffrage. Today, it is quite normal for half of their parliament to be female, and women have served as both prime minister and president of Finland.

    So it seems that Scandinavians enjoy almost unparalleled equality. But is there more than meets the eye?

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    What is The Almost Nearly Perfect People about?

    In The Almost Nearly Perfect People (2014), Danish resident Michael Booth takes us on a journey through the continent (and beyond) in an attempt to deconstruct and understand the popular belief that Scandinavia is some sort of cultural utopia – albeit a very cold one. Since the turn of the century, the influence and popularity of Scandinavian culture has cropped up almost everywhere, from books and TV to IKEA and Spotify.

    The Almost Nearly Perfect People Review

    The Almost Nearly Perfect People (2014) takes readers on a journey through the lands of our neighbors in Northern Europe, uncovering their cultures, traditions, and idiosyncrasies. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Featuring in-depth research and interviews, it provides a comprehensive and insightful look into the lives of the people in these countries.
    • The book explores the contradictions and quirks of each nation, offering a fresh and nuanced perspective on their societies.
    • With humor and wit, Michael Booth recounts his personal experiences and observations, ensuring the book is anything but boring.

    Best quote from The Almost Nearly Perfect People

    But we are all kings here. excerpt from an old Viking story

    —Michael Booth
    example alt text

    Who should read The Almost Nearly Perfect People?

    • Those with an anthropological interest in Scandinavia
    • History buffs interested in the lesser-known stories of Scandinavian history
    • Anyone who has been bitten by the Nordic bug

    About the Author

    Michael Booth, an award-winning English journalist and author, contributes to many British and foreign magazines and newspapers and has written several books. He has lived on and off in Scandinavia for the last few decades and now lives in Denmark with his wife and children.

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    The Almost Nearly Perfect People FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Almost Nearly Perfect People?

    The main message of The Almost Nearly Perfect People is a critical examination of Scandinavian societies, debunking their supposed utopian perfection.

    How long does it take to read The Almost Nearly Perfect People?

    The reading time for The Almost Nearly Perfect People varies but can take several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The Almost Nearly Perfect People a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Almost Nearly Perfect People is worth reading for its insightful exploration of Scandinavian societies and their realities, dispelling common myths.

    Who is the author of The Almost Nearly Perfect People?

    The author of The Almost Nearly Perfect People is Michael Booth.

    What to read after The Almost Nearly Perfect People?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Almost Nearly Perfect People, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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