At a 2012 conference on social mobility, Ed Miliband said: 'If you want the American dream, go to Finland.' For decades, the country best known for opportunity had been the United States, but that crown has now been taken by our Nordic neighbours. When journalist Anu Partanen moved from her Scandinavian home to the US in 2008, she quickly went from being a confident, successful professional to a wary, self-doubting mess. She found that navigating the basics of everyday life - buying a mobile, filing taxes, education and childcare - were more complicated and stressful than anything she had encountered before. As Partanen got to know Americans better, she discovered that they shared her deep apprehension, and to learn why she looked closely at the differences between life in her Nordic home country and the US. In The Nordic Theory of Everything, Partanen focuses on four key relationships: between parents and children, men and women, employees and employers, and the government and its citizens. She debunks the criticism that the Nordics are socialist nanny states, revealing instead that it is we who are far more enmeshed in unhealthy dependencies than we realise. Her conclusion: the Nordic approach allows citizens to enjoy more individual freedom and independence. Filled with fascinating insights, advice and practical solutions, The Nordic Theory of Everything makes a convincing argument that we can rebuild society, rekindle optimism and restore true freedom to our lives, while pursuing the 'American' dream by following the Nordic way of life.
How the Nordic countries can teach us how to live better
Partanen is a careful, judicious writer * New York Times * A passionate and intelligent argument * Publishers Weekly * An earnest, well-written work worth heeding * Kirkus * An engaging fusion of reportage and memoir * O, the Oprah Magazine * A book you desperately need to add to your to-read pile * Gizmodo * Partanen's sensible book should be required reading * Foreign Affairs * A must-read * New York Post *
Anu Partanen is a Finnish journalist and visiting reporter at Stanford University. She regularly features on the BBC World Service, and her writing has appeared in the New York Times, Fortune and Helsingin Sanomat. She has debated current affairs on the Finnish television show Pressiklubi.